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Tag: gag order

Google Releases Eight FBI Requests for Customer Data After Gag Order Lifted

google1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Google published redacted versions of a secret eight FBI requests for customer data after a gag order was lifted.

“In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security policy wrote in a blog post on Tuesday, Intercept reports.

Major tech companies have receive several hundred thousand subpoenas a year, but rarely do they go public.

The records released by Google show the type of information the FBI is seeking and demonstrate the company’s history of fighting the subpoenas in court.

Intercept wrote:

For a long time, companies weren’t sure whether or not they could even approach an attorney to discuss the letters, let alone challenge them in court, though the FBI explicitly mentions these rights in current letters.

The use of national security letters comes with a long history of controversy and alleged abuse. Government watchdogs, technology executives, and civil libertarians have criticized their use as being overbroad, and impinging on First Amendment protected speech, while limiting people’s rights to seek redress. The Department of Justice inspector general issued several scathing reports over the years, reprimanding the FBI and suggesting reforms.

The FBI is now legally required to review the gag orders on the letters, either three years after the date they were sent, or at the conclusion of the relevant investigation. Still, the public has only seen a small handful of those letters in full.

Border Patrol Agent Disciplined for Speaking with Media about Agency Concerns

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been disciplined for speaking to the media, the National Review reports.

By speaking to the media, Agent Ron Zermeno violated an “cease and desist” order to stop issuing statements that contain “Law Enforcement sensitive” information to the media.

Zermeno, who is the health and safety director of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, spoke out about the cease and desist.
CBP recommended that Zermeno be reprimanded for unauthorized disclosure and failure to follow instructions.

But Zermeno allegedly ignored the order about a month after the gag order.

“You willfully abandoned your responsibilities as a Border Patrol Agent and potentially placed several persons at risk,” the CBP wrote.

Others have defended Zermeno, including a staff member of ranking Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

“We’ve reviewed, and I’ve reviewed his comments, and I don’t think he has released anything that would violate law-enforcement sensitivities,” the staffer says. “I can’t see what he released that would have done any harm, but I’m willing to keep an open mind to that. I just don’t see it. I think he’s a good American who’s done the right thing.”