Friday, May 09, 2008

FBI will back off on FISA letters gag orders when challenged in court

A story by Ellen Nakashima in The Washington Post, May 8, 2008, p D01, “FBI backs off from secret order for data after lawsuit”, link here relates the story of a secret administrative request, with gag order, from the FBI of a visitor to the Internet Archive in San Francisco, the “WayBack Machine”. That website stores partial copies of other websites back in time as far as the middle 1990s. There has been some controversy about it (copyright), and the possibility that investigators or even employers could find out what someone had posted years ago and then deleted. The Archive will remove website copies on request and currently does not get indexed into search engines.

Many versions of my old site, going back to 1997, are there.

But the main point of the story is that the FBI seems to back down on the data demands associated with “national security levels” when challenged in court, rather than reveal its sources.

There is also a funny story in the May 8 Post by Peter Carlson, “Eyes Only [redacted]: In its – offices, the National Security Archive houses stockpiles of __ gotten from the government by ___,” link here.

Update: May 15, 2008

The ACLU has a blog entry May 9 "Gag lifted Brwester Speaks" about the lifting of the order against Brewster Kahle, link here.

Picture (unrelated): Mt Vernon slave house.

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