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Google Asks Federal Judge To Challenge National Security Letters

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the don't-come-'round-here-no-more dept.

Google 57

mk1004 writes "From Bloomberg and the Washington Post come reports that Google is petitioning a federal court to resist compliance with a national security letter from the FBI. This comes two weeks after the U.S. District Judge in San Francisco ruled that NSLs are unconstitutional because they 'violate the First Amendment and separation of powers principles.' Google filed a petition to 'set aside the legal process,' citing a provision that allows judges to modify or deny NSLs that are 'unreasonable, oppressive, or otherwise unlawful.' EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman was quoted as saying, 'the people who are in the best position to challenge the practice are people like Google. So far no one has really stood up for their users.'"

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Points at national security letters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43373415)

Hideki!

Re:Points at national security letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43373745)

Google = awesome
Microsoft = adequate
Apple = shit

Don't be evil (5, Funny)

Niterios (2700835) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373421)

Google living up to its motto?

Re:Don't be evil (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373441)

Hurumph. I guess we have to divert our angst and hate to Apple and Microsoft this week.

Things are just so complicated these days.

Re:Don't be evil (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373735)

don't be silly... we ALWAYS reserve some of our hate for microsoft, and while i personally have nothing much against apple as a company (except they suck) i love poking sticks at the apple fanbois; they're a funny crowd.

Re:Don't be evil (4, Insightful)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373803)

don't be silly... we ALWAYS reserve some of our hate for microsoft, and while i personally have nothing much against apple as a company (except they suck) i love poking sticks at the apple fanbois; they're a funny crowd.

And there is nothing we could do to Microsoft that is as bad as what they did to themselves... Windows 8.
Who would have thought they could top the suck factor of Vista..

Re:Don't be evil (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43374021)

Vista was not as bad as Millenium Edition.

Re:Don't be evil (2)

abirdman (557790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43374665)

Vista was not as bad as Millenium Edition.

And both of those were better than Bob.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43392313)

I thought we agreed never to speak of Bob?

Re:Don't be evil (1)

Black LED (1957016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43376947)

Vista was not bad compared to pretty much any OS. The only people who think it was are people who have never even used it and just swallowed the negative hype of the media and other people who had never used it.

Windows 8 is the best version of Windows to come out. Aside from the start menu (which is debatable), it's much improved over Vista/7.

Re:Don't be evil (3, Interesting)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377853)

Vista was not bad compared to pretty much any OS. The only people who think it was are people who have never even used it and just swallowed the negative hype of the media and other people who had never used it.

I used it. I had it on an OEM machine and that wasn't bad. I tested it at my workplace on a few machines and it burned us. Drivers had issues, upgrades were spotty at best, the addition of IPv6 on by default was an unpleasant surprise that our network didn't much care for, user account control was a constant nuisance for admin machines (less so, but still a relevant problem for users)... Essentially Vista was a warning label for all the things you had to do in order to prep for Windows 7. We did our prep work and Windows 7 wasn't so bad. But the burn on Vista meant that we didn't start our Windows 7 migration until our backs were against the wall on XP end of life.

Windows 8 is the best version of Windows to come out. Aside from the start menu (which is debatable), it's much improved over Vista/7.

Windows 8 is the best under the hood. Unfortunately Microsoft shit all over the interface in an attempt to leverage their market dominance on PC's to take over the phone/tablet market with a "unified interface". So yeah, it's basically a Ferrari with a Pinto chassis. It looks like we'll be running Windows 7 until it goes end of life now, and hope that Windows 9 doesn't look like such an abomination. And if we have to retrain 1000+ users on how to get to their programs so they can do actual work then maybe it'll be time at that point to examine replatforming options.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43375927)

To this day I don't understand all the hate for Vista... Can someone please explain to me what the problems are with it that AREN'T related to hardware manufacturer's refusals to provide new-driver-model-drivers for existing/legacy hardware when Vista was released? or to system vendors who oversold the stated CPU and RAM requirements in order to push out systems that were never intended to run under the rigours of the new O/S?

Microsoft bit the bullet mandating the new more robust/secure driver model primarily as a result of the mountains of shit-awful driver software out there that was blue-screening users, and, ultimately, by eliminating shit-ass-drivers from kernel-space, the new-driver-model has been a boon for the end user.

By the time 7 rolled around (which is essentially the same kernel as Vista with some performance enhancements), most of the peripheral hardware had rolled over and new drivers were widely available. So Windows 7 excelled, and MS ate all the hate for Vista despite the fact that the problems lay largely at the feet of petulant peripheral vendors...

Of course, the same was true of Windows Home, which was a substantially better OS+UI than Windows 98, unless you were one of the poor sods who installed it as an Upgrade. I ran several installations of WinHome and they were all perfectly fine, because they were installed fresh, on cleanly formatted systems.

Every user I ever heard complain about WinHome was running on a Win98 system that had received an "Upgrade Install"...

-AC

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43375939)

Ugh, sorry, apparently I've stayed up too late tonight -- substitute "WinMe" for "WinHome" above... Although, XP Home was DEFINITELY a bane in my professional career, that issue came about from businesses trying to use it in corporate environments...

-AC

Microsoft: Evil is a way of making money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43377805)

Microsoft is misunderstood. It is a company that wants to do evil, but is often poorly managed.

Re:Don't be evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43376299)

What the fuck did you say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I've personally been involved in numerous record sales of Apple products to frustrated virus-ridden Linux users. I am certified in everything Apple and I graduated the top of my class, and can disassemble a Macbook in only 5 hours. You are nothing to me but just another user of a virus-ridden operating system in a crappy plastic shell you call a computer. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision my protoype iPad which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of Apple Experts and Geniuses across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your non-Apple hardware. Your computer is fucking dead, kid. I can be online anywhere, anytime with my iPhone and iPad and I can kill your PC in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with a few taps and swipes. Not only am I extensively trained in selling superior products than you're using, but I have access to the entire arsenal of every Apple store on the planet and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable computer off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over your computer and you will drown in it. Your inferior computer is fucking dead, kiddo.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43376603)

hahaha yeah apple fanbois can be funny. either that or you're taking the piss. either way awesome post for highlighting how shit stupid apple morons are.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43376957)

If you use Apple products then you are a limp-wristed homosexual and you like taking cock in your ass. It's funny watching boys like you fag it up down at the coffee shop because you have nothing better to do, you know, like jobs.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43380383)

In case you missed the reference, It's Internet Tough Guy meme copypasta modified a little bit.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43375423)

I like it

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43376083)

When China requested all sorts of data about dissidents, Google gave nothing and was harassed badly. In fact, it was so bad, the Google left.
Now, Yahoo and MS are buddies with Chinese leaders. Have been from the gitgo. Gates has given China all sorts of things such as access to MS source code (ever wonder why China is busy cracking Windows systems? ). Heck, he is giving all sorts of American technology to them. Even now, rather than work on his reactor here, he took it to China. Insane. If he really wanted to do that here, he could have requested Alaska or in the middle of one of our deserts. Personally, I would have picked Alaska.

Now, Google is fighting SOME of the NSLs here as well. It is not the NSLs from CIA/NSA that they are fighting. It is the NSLs from the FBI. NSL's were NEVER intended to go to the FBI since that is spying on Americans. That is far too much power for ANYBODY. And it is obvious that the FBI is operating corruptly today as much as it was under W. The reason is that the admin has LIMITED control over the employees. They have control over their appointments. But even then, the employees simply ignore whoever gets in their way.
So, why is Google fighting this and Yahoo, MS, and Apple are JUST FINE with this? Basically, all of those companies are as corrupt as they come. If Bill Gates had even a SHRED of decency about him, he would have joined Google. He MIGHT join them now, but the fact that he does not object to the Chinese gov. and what they do to their citizens, tells me that Gates really does not care about America either.

It really is not complicated. Gates is pure slime. So are MS, Yahoo, and Apple.

Re:Don't be evil (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373613)

Good for them. It's more like don't be evil ... and challenge evil when you see it. Now, if we can just get them to not support CISPA....

Re:Don't be evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43373641)

hardly...

call it marketing... fighting for 'users rights' ya.. looks good on the surface..... but

call it a defense of google's never delete policies instead... the more shit on people they accumulate, the more "demand letters" they're gonna get for that data, which means it costs google more money.

and don't call it not being evil.. because google has been evil ever since those words were first used in that context.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year and a half ago | (#43378359)

I'm interested in how your theory can be falsified. In short:

What would it take for you to believe that Google is genuinely a good company? If you take all the positive steps they do and then spin them around in such a way to justify them being "evil", then your hypothesis cannot be falsified. Ergo, invalid.

Re:Don't be evil (3, Interesting)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373677)

Seems like google wants to be Big Brother in all aspects of the term. Snoop, spy and record every facet of you life, while simultaneously protecting you from bullies.

Re:Don't be evil (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43375483)

I wouldn't mind that, actually.

The problem with the government is that they want to snoop, spy and record every facet of your life while simultaneously BEING one of the bullies and not really protecting you from the other ones.

If Google does what you say, well, that's like government but done right. I'm not sure that'd be a bad thing.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43380451)

"If Google does what you say, well, that's like government but done right. I'm not sure that'd be a bad thing."

Say what?

You need to keep in mind: one of Google's founders has stated loudly and publicly that YOU are not the customer. Their customers are the people who pay them for data.

Google isn't standing up for YOU in regard to National Security Letters. It's standing up for its own bottom line. These government data requests are expensive and a hassle.

This is one of those rare instances lately where Google has indeed chosen to not "be evil". But they aren't doing it for your sake, their doing it for their own.

Re:Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43377159)

Well most big brothers think that the only one that should pick on you is your own big brother. It's ok when they do it, but if anyone else trys, it's time for them to get a whoopin'.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

alexo (9335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43394363)

Seems like google wants to be Big Brother in all aspects of the term. Snoop, spy and record every facet of you life, while simultaneously protecting you from other bullies.

FTFY.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

Branciforte (2437662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43398429)

Yawn. Techno-hipster cries wolf.

Re:Don't be evil (-1, Troll)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373749)

more like google wanting the monopoly over user data

on the other hand, if the FBI offered to pay money for that data the flood gates would be thrown wide open

Re:Don't be evil (3, Funny)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373769)

They are buying evil emission offsets.

Re:Don't be evil (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43374337)

We Fight For The Users!!!

Re:Don't be evil (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43379153)

I think they are trying to be the least repressive option in a repressive regime. Kudo's to them. But the solution to "freedom of information" is not through google in the end, it is to create a private citizens network that supersedes government regulation. Perhaps governing itself or being anarchistic, the model has yet to be developed for it.

Why does Google ... (1, Troll)

eyegone (644831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373463)

... hate Amerikuh?

Nobody could have possibly... (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373527)

Predicted that this would happen: http://news.cnet.com/Report-FBIs-snooping-did-not-follow-rules/2100-1028_3-6166015.html [cnet.com] absolutely nobody.

Well, if Google speaks (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373551)

Maybe somebody will listen, because, certainly nobody is listening to any of us poor slobs.

Re:Well, if Google speaks (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373703)

certainly nobody is listening to any of us poor slobs.

Somebody's absolutely listening. Just not the people you want.

It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that Hoover's legacy is still well and alive at the FBI.

Re:Well, if Google speaks (3, Funny)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373711)

Not funny. Insightful, interesting, yes. Funny - no.

Re:Well, if Google speaks (1)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373723)

They may be listening. They just don't care.

Re:Well, if Google speaks (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43374131)

Sadly, it will probably just mean that Google will get very few government contracts as punishment and the price of any lobbying they ever want to do just went up.

Re:Well, if Google speaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43374947)

On the other hand, they retain their users' trust -- and market share, in an increasingly competitive market. Given MS's bumbling transition over to Outlook.com, it's also very good marketing.

Whom do you trust? Certainly not Microsoft. Maybe it's time to switch back to Gmail.

Publicity Stunt (1)

tarellel (863902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373877)

Anyone else think this could be a publicity stunt? As they appear to be holding up in the publics eye, I'm sure they're like the majority of tele-com companies and just pass our info right on to the government with no questions asked.

Re:Publicity Stunt (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year and a half ago | (#43378377)

So anything good that Google does is always an eyewash. In short, you have an idea and will stick to it no matter what because everything always has a hidden agenda.

People like Google (1)

aquabat (724032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43373999)

'the people who are in the best position to challenge the practice are people like Google.

Google isn't a person.

Re:People like Google (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43374145)

"Corporations are people, my friend." -- Mitt Romney, August 2011.

Re:People like Google (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about a year and a half ago | (#43375967)

"Corporations are people, my friend." -- Mitt Romney, August 2011.

"Soylent Green is people!" Detective Thorn, 2022 (Portayed by Charlton Heston, 1973)

Re:People like Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43374797)

Well, at least this is something to feel good about. Maybe this is the work of the Google left hand?

The right hand certainly doesn't know what the left is doing, the other day they changed the Gmail compose box so text doesn't scroll properly with cursor movement--have to scroll up and down with the mouse or the cursor will disappear off the end. Today I found out that the new compose box is also rigged so that deleting the trail of a long thread doesn't work when replying -- highlight, delete and it all comes back when sending. Have even tried deleting the same old part of the thread several times in the compose window and it won't go away. They also hid the controls for changing the To, Cc and Bcc addresses, now takes extra steps to find and modify.

The old Gmail compose was fine, didn't need changing at all, what's wrong with leaving well enough alone?

Anyone listening? Hallooo???

gsdfgsdf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43375441)

zsfgvdszf

Good for Google (4, Interesting)

Maow (620678) | about a year and a half ago | (#43375567)

Google gets a lot of hate and are often put into the same category as other big corporations, but they do a lot of work on keeping the web free and "open", and this:

EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman was quoted as saying, 'the people who are in the best position to challenge the practice are people like Google. So far no one has really stood up for their users.'

puts them in a league apart from the others, even though they aren't perfect.

I do dread the day they become "evil" like everyone else though; I expect it's just a matter of time.

But so far, despite their mis-steps and their massive collection of users' data, they remain sui generis.

Re:Good for Google (2)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377707)

It's not *just* out of generosity. It is in Google's interest to have users submit as much data as possible to them, and the users are more likely to do so if the government doesn't have easy access. It's a great thing nonetheless, but it just happens that there is a positive correlation between the interst of Google and that of the users.

National Security Letter (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43376009)

What is a National Security Letter - is that Nicholas Cage and Jon Voight had with them in National Treasure?

Re: National Security Letter (3, Interesting)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377157)

It's like a search warrant.

But it only requires a "government official" that is "investigating" national security.
And they don't need a judge to sign...
And the recipient can't announce they GOT ONE or any details...
And it can't be challenged in court (cause you can't talk about it)...
Although they are "reviewed" once a year per agency by some secret list of judges, somewhere... But no checks and balances are included in the law if the judges didn't like the results.

Re: National Security Letter (1)

voidphoenix (710468) | about a year and a half ago | (#43379607)

So, the first rule of NSLs is you do not talk about NSLs...

Support the EFF! (4, Interesting)

Jay9999 (2889513) | about a year and a half ago | (#43376187)

After reading over and over again in stories here about the EFF, and their work as one of the few organizations that really stands up for the common internet user, I finally decided they are really worth my support and I became an EFF member recently. It's eff.org/donate/ if you are interested in supporting them, too.

Collect it and they will come.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43376971)

The FBI, CIA, IRS, ATF, Mafia, Traid, ....

Google - delete it while you can... seriously... for your benefit and mine.

Same goes for Facebook... although I don't get the idea you're smart enough to understand or even care. Yeah, you. We all get to learn from your mistakes.

Google has piles of these (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377141)

The whole NSL thing was for bullying small entities with the idea that their lawyers couldn't even talk to other lawyers about the letters. That stops working when you have an organized legal department like Google's that WANTS to picka fight. They probably have sacks of NSLs and have attached the "homework" that shows a large number X are really nothing more that police harassment or information not really allowed with normal warrants.

All it takes is Google finding a judge willing to set aside that part of the law that says JUDGES can't review NSLs either and grab him a few file boxes of interesting material.

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