US judge orders Google to turn over data to FBI

June 1, 2013 by Paul Elias

A U.S. judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI's warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company's argument that the government's practice of issuing such requests to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others is unconstitutional and unnecessary.

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret, so-called national security letters, which don't require a judge's approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The letters are used to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information such as financial and phone records, and they have prompted complaints of government in the name of national security.

U.S. Susan Illston on Tuesday ordered to comply with the demands, even though she found the letters unconstitutional in March in a separate case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In that case, she found that the FBI's demand that recipients refrain from telling anyone—including customers—that they had received the letters was a violation of .

The order in the Google case obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

It was unclear from the judge's ruling what type of information the government sought to obtain with the letters. It was also unclear whom the government was targeting.

The judge put the Google ruling on hold until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can decide the matter. Until then, she said, the company would have to comply with the letters unless it shows the FBI didn't follow proper procedures in making its demands for customer data in the 19 letters Google is challenging.

After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, the judge said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.

Google could appeal the decision. The company declined comment.

Kurt Opsah, an attorney with the , said it could be many more months before the appeals court rules on the constitutionality of the letters.

"We are disappointed that the same judge who declared these letters unconstitutional is now requiring compliance with them," Opsah said.

The judge's order omits any mention of Google or that the proceedings have been closed to the public. But the judge said "the petitioner" was involved in a similar case filed on April 22 in New York federal court.

Public records show that on that day, the federal government filed a "petition to enforce National Security Letter" against Google after the company declined to cooperate with government demands.

In 2007, the Justice Department's inspector general found widespread violations in the FBI's use of the letters, including demands without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergency circumstances. The FBI has tightened oversight of the system.

The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available.

Explore further: FBI snooping tactic ruled unconstitutional (Update)

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FBI snooping tactic ruled unconstitutional (Update)

March 15, 2013

A US judge has ordered the FBI to stop its "pervasive" use of National Security letters to snoop on phone and email records, ruling Friday that the widespread tactic was unconstitutional.

Federal judge delays Google case pending appeal

September 17, 2012

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3.7 / 5 (12) Jun 01, 2013
Meh...this ruling is dangerous and destructive only to people who value their freedom and privacy - two main elements in the founding of the USA.
3.3 / 5 (14) Jun 01, 2013
Welcome to Amerika, comrades!
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2013
Fortunately, there is absolutely no chance that the FBI would misuse these new powers to persecute political enemies the way the IRS was recently caught doing. You'd have to be paranoid to think that. After all, your government exists to protect and serve you. Right?

Paranoid thinking is a form of mental illness, and mental illness is one of the leading causes of dangerous behavior. Fortunately, along with the power to inspect people's electronic communications and data storage, domestic drones and other ever increasing video surveillance, rapidly improving facial recognition and other tracking software, the president has recently earmarked $100 million to study the "enormous mystery" of the human brain. Soon mental illness will be predictable and detectible so that persons suffering from paranoia or other anti-social thoughts can be detained and/or treated before they become a danger to society or themselves.

A wonderful world where we all enjoy freedom from fear awaits us.
1.6 / 5 (14) Jun 01, 2013
Hezbollah progressives strike again. Most likely they are searching out what Conservatives are Googling. I use to joke that if you query for plutonium, bomb making, terrorist, nerve gas, that the FBI, and the CIA will find out who you are.

Unfortunately, if you want to be under the FBI, DOJ, IRS, Homeland security, watch list all you need to do is query, how to home school your child, pro-life, patriot, conservative,


Can anyone assure me that the Hezbollah Progressives will not use Obama care as they have used the DOJ, IRS, DOE, against enemies of Progressives? Why would they not deny medical care to a conservative, someone who goes to the wrong church, who has too many children, who doesn't support perverted progressive causes like gay marriage. Hezbollah Progressives have shown they are more than willing to use government agencies against their enemies.
1 / 5 (13) Jun 01, 2013
If you think that government is not here for your good, if you think that the government will use the IRS, DOJ, etc against conservatives, if you do not support and affirm perverted sexual practices, you are, according to the Hezbollah Progressives dangerously mentally ill.

How long do you think the Hezbollah Progressives will tolerate the dangerously mentally ill to exercise their constitutional rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, second amendment rights?
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2013
There goes our freedom and rights. This government is out of control.
1 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2013
There goes our freedom and rights. This government is out of control
And when it already was? Enlighten me..
4.5 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2013
If google provides the information, then the government will have access to anything you do with your android devices. that mean texts, gps location, Data received in and out of the phone all packeted information can be broken down. Google owns those data packets on their servers thus being forced to hand over all information about that one person's account.That means Government can find out who you text and who is in your contact list. Don't forget gmail... they will have access to all your private emails. If you have allocated private information into a sub folder and put your emails into there the government now has access to see what's in those private folders. You make online purchases and you receive a emailed invoice on what you purchased. government won't stop themselves from looking into your private life. There is no more private life. Its been shattered with greed and power!
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2013
The real danger in these developments is that the people who are pushing them forward are not out to take away anyone's rights, they are out to protect you. I don't honestly believe that Obama or any of our other leaders are planning a coup d'etat. They simply believe that they need to protect us and enforce the law more efficiently so they can get busy building a better society.

In order to achieve this, they are building an enormous internal surveillance system the likes of which has never been seen before, and dismantling elements of our bill of rights that have stood for generations. This system may very well prevent acts of terrorism saving thousands of lives. It may also help our environment by detecting improper recycling methods, save billions in health care expenses by detecting "unhealthful activities", stop crime and generate revenue by detecting illegal activities that can generate fines, and root out unpatriotic individuals, depending on who controls it.

Very scary!
3 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2013
Please, do more work in other emergency issues, like gun control.....It will be more effective......
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 02, 2013
this is terrifying, we need HELP.
5 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2013
Interesting reading of all this concern about government agencies. It's worth remembering that all they are doing is using available legislation to their best advantage. You elect legislators who pass such laws, this is what you get.
5 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2013
Interesting reading of all this concern about government agencies. It's worth remembering that all they are doing is using available legislation to their best advantage. You elect legislators who pass such laws, this is what you get.

Absolutely correct. And let's see...who passed the Patriot Act? And when? Worst legislation ever, and an embarrassment to American ideals and principles.
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 02, 2013
The patriot act was just the beginning. Now it is a free for all power grab.
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 02, 2013
Hezbollah Progressives hated the patriot act because it monitored calls that went outside the USA to known or suspected terrorists. So what to Hezbollah Progressives do with this tool once they get in power? They turn this tool against Americans who want to uphold the Constitution. The Hezbollah Progressives also use the DOJ and the IRS.

So what should conservatives or anyone who believes in the constitution do? Press for smaller government, government with less power, a government for the people and not for public service unions, special interests groups, and those who want to control everything we do.
3.8 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2013
You elect legislators who pass such laws, this is what you get.

We elect corporate shills. Nothing more, nothing less. Any "choice" we have through voting is pure farce.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2013
"Any "choice" we have through voting is pure farce." - zaxxon

Quite incorrect. Americans can change their country overnight by electing appropriate leaders.

What is Farce, is that the American people are too stupid to vote rationally and in their own best interest.

The American state will continue it's economic and social collapse.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2013
"Hezbollah Progressives hated the patriot act because it monitored calls that went outside the USA to known or suspected terrorists." - FreeTard

As long as Americans have one set of laws for themselves and another set for everyone else, they will continue to be a hated nation of hypocrites and Republican scumbags.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2013
FreeTard is most certainly mentally ill.

"If you think that government is not here for your good, if you think that the government will use the IRS, DOJ, etc against conservatives, if you do not support and affirm perverted sexual practices, you are, according to the Hezbollah Progressives dangerously mentally ill." - FreeTard

I can think of no better group to target for tax evasion than those Conservative Groups that promote tax evasion.

How dare the IRS target TeaPublican tax cheats.

5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2013
"Any "choice" we have through voting is pure farce." - zaxxon

Quite incorrect. Americans can change their country overnight by electing appropriate leaders.

Who passed NAFTA? Cliinton. Who repealed the Glass-Stegall Act? Clinton. Who enacted Welfare Reform? Clinton. Who continues the George W. Bush foreign policy? Obama. What does Obama have to say about holding banks and wall-street responsible for the financial collapse? Nothing.

Corporations write our legislation and bankroll our elected officials, Republican and Democrat.
1 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2013
VD, you Obama and the rest of the Hezbollah Progressives, have no issues investigating conservative groups, threatening the press to stop them investigating issues, removing religious freedom, stomping on the second amendment. Mental illness is anyone who supports Progressives.

Zaax, I agree with you that large corporation support both repub and dems. which is why we need smaller government.
1 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2013
For those that think Google is neutral....


1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 03, 2013
Public service announcement: Hezbollah Christofascists like freethinking hate America and are traitors.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2013

Zaax, I agree with you... which is why we need smaller government.

Exxon would agree with you.

Smaller government isn't the solution to our problems. A government that works for the people is the solution. But I'm not sure if that's possible anymore.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2013
JohnGee. Is your response approved or commanded by Obama? I've never known a Hezbollah Progressive such as yourself to love the country, yet I've know them to hate and lie about conservatives. Do you happen to work for the IRS, DOJ, or another government agency?

I've not known a big corporation to support smaller government. Big government always favors large corporations like Exxon over smaller companies. Back room payoffs, protection against smaller, nimbler and more environmentally friendly companies. If they do break the law, they use government power to their advantage.

Small government has less to give to big corporations.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2013
If people think they can trust the government, then why is there a public services union? If the workers can't trust the government, then how can the people?
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2013
Small government usually means fewer regulations (environmental, wage, worker protection, consumer protection) and lower corporate taxes. Those are the main reasons corporations want small government.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2013
More regulations aid big business as they can afford compliance. More regulations do not improve safety, workers rights, etc. A few examples.
My businesses cannot sell a product to all states, because the cost of compliance would exceed any profit. The regulations are nothing but paperwork and paying fee's. No one would check the product, no proof is needed that I filled out the paper work correctly. Large companies in China can afford to fill out and maintain the paper work, keep on top of paying the small fees, etc.

My company has been audited by two agencies, both times with flying colors. However it took one auditor needed over 6 weeks to make sure we were following the rules as they were that complex.

An auditor told me of how the government is fining a 80yr old man over $80K for not filling out correctly a form for a hobby job he had. The man made no money on this job, no more taxes would have been collected, no fraud intended, but he is destroyed now.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2013
More regulations aid big business

Totally disagree. Why are companies shipping jobs overseas? To avoid the regulations imposed by our government to protect our workforce. Minimum wages, environmental regulations, worker safety laws do not exist in many countries overseas and our corporations are quick to take advantage of this fact. As recent disasters in the fabric factories of Bangladesh have shown. The race to the bottom began with NAFTA.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2013
You are correct in the sense that big business has an advantage over small business in their ability to avoid regulations, but the solution is not to eliminate regulations. The only solution is to level the playing field by repealing NAFTA and requiring all businesses to play by the same rules.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2013
zax, I think we agree on most things with regulation, maybe just not on terminology.

Regulations need to make sense, need to be as minimal as possible, and shouldn't be there just to keep unionized public servants (actually masters) in a job.

When I started a business a government worker said I should be privileged to be allowed to start a business..... If I was on the ball I would have retorted, you are privileged to be taking the paper work for me. ....
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2013
Thanks for the good discussion freethinking. Although I am likely further to the left, I'm sure there's much we can agree upon.
1 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2013
unionized public servants (actually masters)
Yeah, the postman owns you. What a bizarre world you live in.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2013
JohnG. When you fear that the IRS and DOJ targets you because of your beliefs, the government owns you.
When your kids fear taking a small plastic toy to school and getting expelled, the government owns you.
When the government destroys you for an innocent inconsequential mistake on some paperwork the government owns you.
When the TSA grope grandma, babies, and terrified children, the government owns you.

When government workers, get paid more and receive better benefits than the average joe, plus can't get fired (actually they get promoted), for bad work, when they can destroy your business and your life, the government owns you.

When the government fears the people, you have liberty.... when the people fear the government you have tyranny.

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