CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco rejected Google's request to modify or throw out 19 so-called National Security Letters, a warrantless electronic data-gathering technique used by the FBI that does not need a judge's approval. Her ruling came after a pair of top FBI officials, including an assistant director, submitted classified affidavits.
The litigation taking place behind closed doors in Illston's courtroom -- a closed-to-the-public hearing was held on May 10 -- could set new ground rules curbing the FBI's warrantless access to information that Internet and other companies hold on behalf of their users. The FBI issued 192,499 of the demands from 2003 to 2006, and 97 percent of NSLs include a mandatory gag order.
Federal Government Continues Push to Disembowel the Fourth Amendment
The Department of Justice, the FBI and federal judges are continuing their push to disembowel the Fourth Amendment, submitting the United States Constitution to death by a thousand cuts. In secret hearings, federal officials are arguing to federal judges that the Constitution simply does not apply to them, and these judges agree. Of course, the legislature does not object, since the Democratic and Republican parties are strong proponents of the national security police state and surveillance society, and the bulk of the public simply don't care. From CNET: