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Google Government Privacy The Courts

Google Files First Amendment Challenge Against FISA Gag Order 163

The Washington Post reports that Google has filed a motion challenging the gag orders preventing it from disclosing information about the data requests it receives from government agencies. The motion cites the free speech protections of the First Amendment. "FISA court data requests typically are known only to small numbers of a company’s employees. Discussing the requests openly, either within or beyond the walls of an involved company, can violate federal law." From the filing (PDF): "On June 6, 2013, The Guardian newspaper published a story mischaracterizing the scope and nature of Google's receipt of and compliance with foreign intelligence surveillance requests. ... In light of the intense public interest generated by The Guardian's and Post's erroneous articles, and others that have followed them, Google seeks to increase its transparency with users and the public regarding its receipt of national security requests, if any. ... Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegation. Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities. ... In particular, Google seeks a declaratory judgment that Google as a right under the First Amendment to publish ... two aggregate unclassified numbers: (1) the total number of FISA requests it receives, if any; and (2) the total number of users or accounts encompassed within such requests."
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Google Files First Amendment Challenge Against FISA Gag Order

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  • Uhm Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:27PM (#44043591)

    Good luck with that. If they don't get blown out of the first Federal Court who hears it, we may have an actual chance to hear what the Government is actually requesting, not the sanitized and approved verbiage that has been coming out. Somewhere between what Snowden has been saying and the Government is allowing people to comment on, the truth may be found.

    The Patriot Act needs to go and so does this secret court bullshit where information is handed over on a whim, not on a true judicial review.

    • Re:Uhm Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:49PM (#44043841)

      They will get blown out of the first court. Thats the norm.
      But it hardly matters, because sooner or later it reaches the Supreme Court, and there is this little matter of the Constitution involved.

      Every company with a web presences should grow a pair and join this suit.
      Reasonable safeguards can be put in place (delays, or reviews in an open court by a REAL judge that actually attended law school),
      but telling someone they can never reveal something is just plain wrong.

      • They will get blown out of the first court. Thats the norm.

        Federal judges have lifetime appointments, and little inventive to rule against what they actually believe to be right. Since Google HQ is in California, the first court is likely to be in the 9th district, which has a reputation for smacking down government overreach. Google may ultimately lose, but it isn't a certainty.

        • Re:Uhm Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

          by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:37PM (#44044285)

          From TFA:

          Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders

          So its not even out of the FISA court yet, and when it does leave the FISA court, its not going to district court. It goes to the court of appeals.

          And its not likely going to the 9th Circuit either, and you can thank your lucky stars for that.
          The 9th circuit gets bitchslapped more than any other circuit for just being wrong.
          The 9th approved warrant-less GPS tracking. Bitchslapped by SCOTUS.

          Way too many of 9th Circuit rulings have failed constitutional muster, and bolstered big government over reaching.

          • by dkf ( 304284 )

            The 9th circuit gets bitchslapped more than any other circuit for just being wrong.

            Is that true relative to the size and nature of the case-load? It's by far the largest appeal court in the US, so much so that there's been a number of proposals to split it (none of which seem to have been good enough to actually go ahead with so far).

            • by icebike ( 68054 )

              Why should being a large circuit make them wrong more often?

              To be fair, the rate at which the 9th is reversed has fallen in the last couple years to around 76 percent, down from 94 percent in 2009.

              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                let's say your error rate is 1%. Now, you make two decisions this year. Probably both were correct. Jon's error rate is only 0.5% (twice as good as yours), but he made 400 decisions this year, so two were likely wrong. He looks worse than you solely because of volume.

                • by icebike ( 68054 )

                  Which is why I spoke in terms of percentages.

                  It goes further than just percentages or numbers.

                  The methodology followed by the 9th is different from any other court, which can have it issuing opinions that the majority of the justices in the 9th disagree with.

                  How? The 9th does not hear all cases en banc. In fact they hear only a very small number of cases en banc, and the bulk are heard by much smaller "limited en banc" [] panel of judges, which can and apparently frequently do issue rulings that much of rest

                  • by sjames ( 1099 )

                    But the thread you replied to was speaking in absolute terms. Why did you throw oranges into a discussion of Apples?

        • Unfortunately, the suit was not filed in the 9th district, but with the "UNITED STATES FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE COURT
          WASHINGTON, D.C."

          That particular court is packed with judges chosen by the chief justice--so expect deference to the NSA.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Can they just join the suit without it being class action or without some sort of invite from Google or, more likely, needing it to be a whole new suit? I'm not a lawyer and don't even play one on television - I don't even watch lawyer television shows for that matter.

        Also, it seems to me that they have a snowball's chance in hell at being successful. Because of this it seems more like a marketing ploy than it does a realistic attempt at getting them to allow Google to reveal the information. I am not sure

      • Every company with a web presences should grow a pair and join this suit.

        Well, my company having a "pair" (mine) and a web presence (which holds my pre-paid mobile phone number ; that's all that it needs), finds this exhortation less than helpful, because it can't join this suit. Shocking though it may be to you, I'm not American and so this is only of passing interest to me.

    • Just to be clear, that was an honest "good luck with that" right?

      Why would they "get blown out of" court exactly? Do most federal judges enjoy things which, to me, seem to intentionally violate the constitution? Does google lack the funds to hire lawyers who would be competent enough to point out how idiotic these things are? I'm not a lawyer, as most slashdotters are not.
    • Re:Uhm Yeah (Score:5, Informative)

      by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:05PM (#44043981) Homepage Journal

      we may have an actual chance to hear what the Government is actually requesting

      They're only asking to be allowed to release counts, not the content of the requests. So, no, still no chance of finding out what's being requested.

    • Legal Meta-games (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:19PM (#44044625) Journal

      Hey gang, we really might be morphing into "Web 3.0" in whichever of many things that means.

      We're starting to enter the age of the Law Meta-Game.

      Google does their fair share of morally complex things, but they haven't been called "stupid" very often.

      So *because it's Google* and not some two-guys-and-a-garage operation, they're not so easy to shove in a corner. Even at the rate that lawyer fees rise, if some "typical" (as the cynics would say) "travesty of justice" occurred, that then becomes a hell of a Meta-Game news article.

      "Google: We wanted to report on secret govt data requests. Govt said no."

      You/they don't file motions like that "out of boredom on a Tuesday". They have the money to submit the motion and all the bells and whistles. So this might be the first of many kinds of steps it takes to slowly begin to roll back the Big Brother Engine. Not a lot, but they're helping to drag it into the sunlight where such scampery things don't like to be.

      • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:56PM (#44045247)

        Well the reasons for them doing it are simple: Self Preservation. If you had your E-Mail, Social Contacts/Pictures etc. in a system that was regularly tapped by the NSA and the FBI, then you might think twice about using those services. Google's freely available services that you can use but while you're using them, we'll mine every piece of information out of you that we can. They're a commercial NSA and when the real NSA steps on their toes, possibly driving users away that's not good for business. Facebook and Microsoft have the same problem, hell all free cloud based services have a problem now with this "215" section of the law. Yes, Google is an 800lb Gorilla and so is Microsoft, well 650lb now and Facebook, meh, 400lb. If they start pushing on those idiots like Feinbitch who as chairwomen of the Senate Intelligence Committee (boy there's an oxymoron for you) stating that the NSA has access to your phone conversations, when they want. If they start pushing on DC and getting all the masses lined up, maybe things will change. The EFF and ACLU have some pretty sharp lawyers as well and they haven't had much luck in cracking all of the intrusions into our privacy and the secrecy of why the government needs this information. Feinstein and others with her mentality in DC are the reason we have this mess to begin with, now the feign ignorance and shock or coyishly say "well it has thwarted terrorism." Funding comes from congress, there is no way in hell that She and members of her committee didn't have direct knowledge of what was going on, much less every member of the House and Senate for the past decade. They've written the laws that allow the secrecy and the pulling of information without warrants and because of that and the nature of the legal process in this country, lower courts bar cases from moving forward on "National Security" reasons. This is an affront to the 4th amendment yet alone the 1st amendment as Google is claiming. Like I said, good luck because those Federal Judges have to look at the law as written and do you think that stooge Holder isn't going to appeal his way up to the Supreme Court if an "activist" judge somehow rules against the Government?

        Also anybody out here should remember back in 2007 there was an uproar because of the warrantless wiretapping going on. What happened then? Well the cases dragged on and then congress gave the telecomms immunity in a new piece of legislation.

        Oh and the only case that is still moving forward since 2007 (it is 2013 now after all) is being held up by the Justice Department and that retard Clapper.. []

        James Clapper, director of national intelligence, personally urged U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to throw out the remaining lawsuit. Clapper wrote the judge in September that the government risks "exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States" if forced to fight the lawsuit.

        That case has EFF lawyers behind it, think they'll be successful?

        So the constitution and out privacy violated in the names of National Security. Shit, Woz hit it on the mark the other day. []

        In Wozniak’s view, the Patriot Act started things going downhill, and he said there isn’t even “a free open court anymore.” He compared the U.S. government to a king who rounds up people and kills them or puts them in prison. He said when reading the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, he doesn’t see how the things that are happening now are actually allowed to happen.

        He also compared the U.S. to Russia. He said that when he was growing up, the Russian government would follow people around, s

        • Federal Judges have to look at the law as written

          Federal Judges swear oaths to uphold the Constitution, which includes (and is superseded by) the Bill of Rights.

          James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to be open-ended, in order to address the objections of the Anti-Federalists that any Bill of Rights would necessarily miss many important rights. This is implemented by means of the 9th Amendment (rights retained by the people) and the 10th Amendment (rights reserved to the people). It's such an important principle that it appears TWICE.

          Hence, Federal Judg

          • Agreed but we also have three separate but equal branches of government. Right now, for at least the last 20 years, we have two branches that are basically in agreement and trample on our constitutional rights. Why the third branch of government is willing to be pushed around by the other two, that negative trend you point to, is at the heart of the matter. I don't think a more liberal Supreme Court is the answer but maybe the fact that the legal process has also become so bottled up in procedure, delays

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eskarel ( 565631 )

      I just wish Snowden would clarify what the hell he's saying. I've read Q & A with him and I still can't work out exactly what people are looking at, how they're getting it, whether the looking has to be actively initiated or is passive, or anything else. We need more damned details, not more hyperbole. I'm by no means diminishing the value of his bringing PRISM to light, even if it turns out to be a much lesser problem than he seems to believe, but I don't really give a shit whether he believes it's the

    • If you want to know who to blame in Congress for passing laws authorizing government spying, here is a very helpful summary [] .

      Sitting members who voted for surveillance every time

      Rep. Robert Aderholt (Alabama, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Spencer Bachus (Alabama, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Jo Bonner (Alabama, Republican)
      Rep. Mo Brooks (Alabama, Republican)
      Rep. Martha Roby (Alabama, Republican)
      Rep. Mike D. Rogers (Alabama, Republican)
      Sen. Jeff Sessions (Alabama, Republican)
      Rep. Terri Sewell (Alabama, Democratic)
      Sen. Richard Shelby (Alabama, Republican)
      Rep. Ron Barber (Arizona, Democratic)
      Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona, Republican)
      Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona, Republican)
      Rep. Paul Gosar (Arizona, Republican)
      Sen. John McCain (Arizona, Republican)
      Rep. David Schweikert (Arizona, Republican)
      Sen. John Boozman (Arkansas, Republican)
      Rep. Rick Crawford (Arkansas, Republican)
      Rep. Tim Griffin (Arkansas, Republican)
      Sen. Mark Pryor (Arkansas, Democratic)
      Rep. Steve Womack (Arkansas, Republican)
      Rep. Ken Calvert (California, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Jeff Denham (California, Republican)
      Sen. Dianne Feinstein (California, Democratic)
      Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (California, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Darrell Issa (California, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Kevin McCarthy (California, Republican)
      Rep. Howard McKeon (California, Republican)
      Rep. Gary Miller (California, Republican)
      Rep. Devin Nunes (California, Republican)
      Rep. Ed Royce (California, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Michael Bennet (Colorado, Democratic)
      Rep. Mike Coffman (Colorado, Republican)
      Rep. Cory Gardner (Colorado, Republican)
      Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colorado, Republican)
      Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut, Democratic)
      Sen. Tom Carper (Delaware, Democratic)
      Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Vern Buchanan (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Kathy Castor (Florida, Democratic)
      Rep. Ander Crenshaw (Florida, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Ted Deutch (Florida, Democratic)
      Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. John Mica (Florida, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida, Republican)
      Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida, Democratic)
      Rep. Rich Nugent (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Tom Rooney (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Dennis Ross (Florida, Republican)
      Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Steve Southerland (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Daniel Webster (Florida, Republican)
      Rep. Bill Young (Florida, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. John Barrow (Georgia, Democratic)
      Rep. Sanford Bishop (Georgia, Democratic) - all five times
      Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Georgia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Phil Gingrey (Georgia, Republican)
      Sen. Johnny Isakson (Georgia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Jack Kingston (Georgia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. David Scott (Georgia, Democratic)
      Rep. Austin Scott (Georgia, Republican)
      Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (Georgia, Republican)
      Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho, Republican)
      Sen. Jim Risch (Idaho, Republican)
      Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Randy Hultgren (Illinois, Republican)
      Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois, Republican)
      Sen. Mark Kirk (Illinois, Republican)
      Rep. Dan Lipinski (Illinois, Democratic) - all five times
      Rep. Mike Quigley (Illinois, Democratic)
      Rep. Peter Roskam (Illinois, Republican)
      Rep. Aaron Schock (Illinois, Republican)
      Rep. John Shimkus (Illinois, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Larry Bucshon (Indiana, Republican)
      Sen. Dan Coats (Indiana, Republican)
      Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana, Democratic)
      Rep. Marlin Stutzman (Indiana, Republican)
      Rep. Todd Young (Indiana, Republican)
      Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa, Republican)
      Rep. Steve King (Iowa, Republican)
      Rep. Tom Latham (Iowa, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kansas, Republican)
      Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kansas, Republican)
      Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kansas, Republican)
      Sen. Pat Roberts (Kansas, Republican)
      Rep. Kevin Yoder (Kansas, Republican)
      Rep. Brett Guthrie (Kentucky, Republican)
      Sen. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky, Republican)
      Rep. Hal Rogers (Kentucky, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Ed Whitfield (Kentucky, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Rodney Alexander (Louisiana, Republican)
      Rep. Charles Boustany (Louisiana, Republican)
      Rep. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana, Republican)
      Rep. John Fleming (Louisiana, Republican)
      Sen. Mary Landrieu (Louisiana, Democratic)
      Rep. Steve Scalise (Louisiana, Republican)
      Sen. David Vitter (Louisiana, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Susan Collins (Maine, Republican)
      Sen. Angus King (Maine, Independent)
      Rep. Steny Hoyer (Maryland, Democratic) - all five times
      Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Maryland, Democratic)
      Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (Maryland, Democratic)
      Rep. Dan Benishek (Michigan, Republican)
      Rep. David Camp (Michigan, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Bill Huizenga (Michigan, Republican)
      Rep. Candice Miller (Michigan, Republican)
      Rep. Gary Peters (Michigan, Democratic)
      Rep. Mike Rogers (Michigan, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Tim Walberg (Michigan, Republican)
      Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota, Republican)
      Rep. John Kline (Minnesota, Republican)
      Rep. Erik Paulsen (Minnesota, Republican)
      Sen. Thad Cochran (Mississippi, Republican)
      Rep. Gregg Harper (Mississippi, Republican)
      Rep. Alan Nunnelee (Mississippi, Republican)
      Rep. Steven Palazzo (Mississippi, Republican)
      Sen. Roger Wicker (Mississippi, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Roy Blunt (Missouri, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Sam Graves (Missouri, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Vicky Hartzler (Missouri, Republican)
      Rep. Billy Long (Missouri, Republican)
      Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (Missouri, Republican)
      Sen. Claire McCaskill (Missouri, Democratic)
      Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska, Republican)
      Sen. Mike Johanns (Nebraska, Republican)
      Rep. Adrian Smith (Nebraska, Republican)
      Rep. Lee Terry (Nebraska, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Mark Amodei (Nevada, Republican)
      Rep. Joe Heck (Nevada, Republican)
      Sen. Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire, Republican)
      Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (New Jersey, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Scott Garrett (New Jersey, Republican)
      Rep. Leonard Lance (New Jersey, Republican)
      Rep. Frank LoBiondo (New Jersey, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Bob Menendez (New Jersey, Democratic)
      Rep. Jon Runyan (New Jersey, Republican)
      Rep. Albio Sires (New Jersey, Democratic)
      Rep. Chris Smith (New Jersey, Republican)
      Rep. Steve Pearce (New Mexico, Republican)
      Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York, Democratic)
      Rep. Michael Grimm (New York, Republican)
      Rep. Brian Higgins (New York, Democratic)
      Rep. Peter King (New York, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Tom Reed (New York, Republican)
      Sen. Richard Burr (North Carolina, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. George Butterfield (North Carolina, Democratic)
      Rep. Howard Coble (North Carolina, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Renee Ellmers (North Carolina, Republican)
      Rep. Virginia Foxx (North Carolina, Republican)
      Sen. Kay Hagan (North Carolina, Democratic)
      Rep. Patrick McHenry (North Carolina, Republican)
      Rep. Mike McIntyre (North Carolina, Democratic) - all five times
      Sen. John Hoeven (North Dakota, Republican)
      Rep. John Boehner (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Steve Chabot (Ohio, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Bob Gibbs (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Bill Johnson (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Bob Latta (Ohio, Republican)
      Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Jim Renacci (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio, Republican)
      Rep. Pat Tiberi (Ohio, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Mike Turner (Ohio, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Tom Coburn (Oklahoma, Republican)
      Rep. Tom Cole (Oklahoma, Republican)
      Sen. Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma, Republican)
      Rep. James Lankford (Oklahoma, Republican)
      Rep. Greg Walden (Oregon, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Lou Barletta (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (Pennsylvania, Democratic)
      Rep. Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Jim Gerlach (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Mike Kelly (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Tom Marino (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Pat Meehan (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Timothy F. Murphy (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Rep. Joe Pitts (Pennsylvania, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Bill Shuster (Pennsylvania, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Glenn Thompson (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Sen. Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania, Republican)
      Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island, Democratic)
      Rep. Jeff Duncan (South Carolina, Republican)
      Rep. Trey Gowdy (South Carolina, Republican)
      Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina, Republican)
      Rep. Mick Mulvaney (South Carolina, Republican)
      Sen. Tim Scott (South Carolina, Republican)
      Rep. Joe Wilson (South Carolina, Republican)
      Sen. John Thune (South Dakota, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Kristi Noem (South Dakota , Republican)
      Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Diane Black (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Jim Cooper (Tennessee, Democratic)
      Sen. Bob Corker (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Scott DesJarlais (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Stephen Fincher (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (Tennessee, Republican)
      Rep. Joe Barton (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. John Carter (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Mike Conaway (Texas, Republican)
      Sen. John Cornyn (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. John Culberson (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Blake Farenthold (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Bill Flores (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Kay Granger (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Gene Green (Texas, Democratic)
      Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (Texas, Democratic)
      Rep. Kenny Marchant (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Randy Neugebauer (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Pete Olson (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Ted Poe (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Lamar S. Smith (Texas, Republican)
      Rep. Mac Thornberry (Texas, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah, Republican)
      Rep. Eric Cantor (Virginia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Randy Forbes (Virginia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Virginia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Robert Hurt (Virginia, Republican)
      Rep. Scott Rigell (Virginia, Republican)
      Sen. Mark Warner (Virginia, Democratic)
      Rep. Rob Wittman (Virginia, Republican)
      Rep. Frank Wolf (Virginia, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Doc Hastings (Washington, Republican)
      Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington, Republican)
      Rep. Dave Reichert (Washington, Republican)
      Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia, Democratic)
      Rep. David McKinley (West Virginia, Republican)
      Sen. Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia, Democratic)
      Rep. Sean Duffy (Wisconsin, Republican)
      Sen. Ron Johnson (Wisconsin, Republican)
      Rep. Tom Petri (Wisconsin, Republican) - all five times
      Rep. Reid Ribble (Wisconsin, Republican)
      Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin, Republican)
      Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin, Republican) - all five times
      Sen. John Barrasso (Wyoming, Republican)
      Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyoming, Republican)
      Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming , Republican)

      If you don't like it, exercise your votes.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:30PM (#44043631)

    The usual way First Amendment cases are decided is that someone exercises their right to free speech, the government tries to stop them, and they challenge that attempt at restraint in court. E.g. rather than suing for a declaratory judgment that you have the right to publish a James Joyce book, you just publish it, and then defend yourself if the government tries to come after you [].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EmagGeek ( 574360 )

      Except in this case, the government doesn't just come after you. They come after you and disappear you to a small beach community in Cuba called Guantanimo Bay, where you sit and rot without charges or even counsel for decades on end.

      That's what happens when your government can't be bothered to follow its own laws.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trepidity ( 597 )

        If you're a nobody, perhaps, but do you really think the government is going to kidnap Google executives and render them to a black-site prison without trial?

        • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:46PM (#44043811) Homepage Journal

          do you really think the government is going to kidnap Google executives

          With enough campaign contributions from Bing's parent company, the government might even spin it as a way to keep the American people from getting, shall I say, "Scroogled".

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:56PM (#44044431)

          YES. Because it ACTUALLY HAPPENED BEFORE [].

          The QWest CEO/Chairman got 10 years in prison for refusing to wiretap his own customers.
          Do you even remember seeing any news about that anywhere?

          That's how easy it is!

          And EXACTLY because people like you think "Naaah, that's *too* crazy.".
          It's one of the two secrets for every successful con job too.

          • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:14PM (#44044955)

            He got 10 years for insider trading. Nice try though.

            • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:52PM (#44045211) Homepage Journal

              That's what THEY want you to believe! Wake up sheeple!

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:34AM (#44047681)

              "And then the DoJ targeted him and prosecuted him and put
              him in prison for insider trading -- on the theory that he knew of
              anticipated income from secret programs that QWest was planning for
              the government, while the public didn't because it was classified and
              he couldn't legally tell them, and then he bought or sold QWest stock
              knowing those things."


              • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 )

                YOU CAN'T TRADE STOCK IN A COMPANY WHEN YOU HAVE PRIVILEGED NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION THAT COULD MATERIALLY AFFECT THE STOCK PRICE IF THE PUBLIC KNEW ABOUT IT. Anyone who works for a public company knows this. You'd think the CEO would have a particular interest in staying on the right side of insider trading laws, but he was sloppy while the Feds were watching and they nabbed him for it. No conspiracy theories needed to explain his utter stupidity.

                • As I understand this, this means the government can just freeze anyone's ownership of shares in a public company by telling him material classified information about the company. Or what's the legitimate way out of this situation?
                  • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 )

                    Cancel existing orders and don't schedule new company stock trades as soon as you have become an insider either by your own doing or by an external party?

                    • by tepples ( 727027 )

                      don't schedule new company stock trades as soon as you have become an insider

                      So how should one become no longer an insider in order to cash out before one dies?

                    • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 )

                      Disregard above, I misread your comment. Yes, that's a potential problem. I'm guessing that there is some sort of specific engagement required on the part of the company, otherwise I could go around claiming I'm going to buy Chevron and then accuse their execs of insider trading...

            • Didn't read the article, I take it. Insider trading rap based on claims he used knowledge of government contracts to enhance his bank account after he refused to hand over customer data to government. I don't know what the truth of the matter is or was. The timing is still interesting.

              • The best part is that the congressmen involved can do and likely did trading based on the exact same information and it's all legal for them
      • It would be interesting to see that done to an entire company (that happens to be fairly well known both domestically and internationally)

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:18PM (#44044099) Homepage Journal

        That's what happens when your government can't be bothered to follow its own laws.

        Know what else happens? People stop respecting the law, look what happened during Prohibition.

      • That really doesn't happen in spy cases and they would be charged (if at all) under the same laws. See Walter and Gwendolyn Myers, Chi Mak, Donald Keyser, Leandro Aragoncillo, Lawrence Franklin, etc. They all got trials and prison time in the USA.

        The real risk for Google is that the government could shut them down.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is safer for Google, and they can guarantee a case gets filed with a definite answer. The government might just chose not to pursue the case, and then there would be no precedent set. Google is "fighting the good fight" here.

    • by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:10PM (#44044939)

      I really had hopes for America.

      We've Tried the first two boxes:

      Pundits Railed against the Orwellian "Patriot Act". (soapbox)

      Voting in Obama to fix the wrongs that were going on, but he became the motherfucking Emperor to Dick Cheney's Darth Vader. :facepalm: (ballot box)

      If the Supreme Court says this shit is all Constitutional... (Jury Box)

      America has sold more Ammo over the last eight years to its citizens than were used in WWII.
      Ammo plants are one of the few industries in America running full out. :)
      Veterans returning from the war are seeing how their government is treating them; many are homeless, and suffering ptsd.

      We will see a change; either people will pull their heads out of their asses, or they will be removed.

      I just hope the people in charge realize it before it's too late; when shit happens, all the denials in the world aren't going to help. []

      • There is no jury box at SCOTUS. Nor at FISC for that matter.
      • We will see a change; either people will pull their heads out of their asses, or they will be removed.

        Sorry, but do you mean the people will be removed, their heads will be removed, or their asses will be removed? I'm curious because one of these will require a novel redesign of the guillotine...

        • by Grog6 ( 85859 )

          I think the one percenters need to be more involved in being loved by the other 99%. :)

          If 20 million people get pissed and go to Washington, it will be bad.

          As long as they don't try to organize it on Facebook, lol.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unconstitutional laws are unenforceable and need not be followed.

    Now, put your money where your mouth is already.

    • SCOTUS is final (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:44PM (#44043795) Homepage Journal

      Unconstitutional laws are unenforceable

      Not if the Supreme Court disagrees with you that a particular statute is unconstitutional.

      • Unconstitutional laws are unenforceable

        Not if the Supreme Court disagrees with you that a particular statute is unconstitutional.

        Unenforcable, I think you mean. SCOTUS has upheld several decisions later struck down as unconstitutional when the court swung the other way and somebody got a case in front of them. In the meantime, said unconstitutional laws are very much enforceable.

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        What a tortured way of saying that a law is Unconstitutional ONLY after the Courts say so.

        Joe Citizen doesn't get to decide constitutionality to suit their personal wishes.
        Given the recent trend in the courts, I rather suspect this will ultimately be found unconstitutional.
        They seem to be ratcheting back the 9/11 wartime excesses.

    • That really depends. If the government insists on acting as if the court hadn't decided anything there's really no way for the court to enforce its decisions. Really, it only has the power to affect how courts rule in cases that are brought to court.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:38PM (#44043715) Journal

    The gag order is blatantly illegal under the 4th amendment, and as such carries no force of law.

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:39PM (#44043735)

    It doesn't look like anyone trusts what the government is saying about their FISA requests. Does anyone trust what Google says any better?

    • by suutar ( 1860506 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:46PM (#44044365)
      Well, it's not like we'd trust Google any _less_...
    • by chihowa ( 366380 )

      My initial thought was that Google is trying to regain some trust from the public. So many people I talk to lately (even prior to the NSA thing) are increasingly creeped out by Google.

      My second thought was that maybe there's a revenue stream in here that I'm missing. Ads for tin foil, maybe?

      • by wcrowe ( 94389 )

        Good point. And I would include myself among those creeped out. I made a recent purchase from a company that sells shoes. Apparently Google knows this, and the company has purchased Google Ads. Until I deleted my cookies, every site I went to that runs Google Ads was hawking these shoes at me. Occasionally I get a promotional email from them. If I open it, the ads start popping up again all over the place, until I delete my cookies. It's very creepy and annoying -- like being stalked by a crazy ex-gi

  • ding dong

    "Hi, are you Larry Page?"

    "Yes, who are you .. mfpmppffm mfmmppfmp fmpmfpmfffmm mmpmmmmfm ppfmpfmpf ppfmpf ppmmpp mfpmpppmfpfm mfpmpppmfpfm!!"

    "Bring the truck around front, Roy, we've got him now, in the interests of National Security."

  • Clever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:48PM (#44043827)

    This a plot by the corporates to establish more precedent for Citizens United v FEC by getting the courts to once again uphold first amendment rights for non-persons.

    Enjoy figuring out where to stand on this one, Slashdot. :) If you have to write a 1500 word essay to explain your reasoning, you lose.


  • Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:01PM (#44043949) Journal

    Discussing the requests openly, either within or beyond the walls of an involved company, can violate federal law

    Any act of congress that purports to deny our freedom of speech is not a law at all, but a usurpation. Congress has no power to trump the constitution.


  • To what purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:11PM (#44044031)
    Once upon a time, I'd always heard that those types of gag orders were to prevent the individuals under investigation from being alerted so they couldn't hide evidence or flee, and I'm not opposed to that.
    These days it seems to be more of a political move for the purposes of avoiding oversight and preventing the authorities from being charged with illegal, or at least immoral and unethical, activities.
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:50PM (#44044391)

    I love how all these companies who had no qualms about collecting our personal data and slinging it to anyone with a paycheck have all of a sudden become Constitutional warriors.

    • I love how all these companies who had no qualms about collecting our personal data and slinging it to anyone with a paycheck have all of a sudden become Constitutional warriors.

      Google does not sell user data, except in the form of aggregated, anonymized statistics. Google's major profits are made by using user data internally to target ads, but without giving user data to advertisers. It all stays in-house -- and Google is very careful about keeping it secure against intrusions, leaks and even access by employees.

      This is why the government request stories are so damaging to Google.

      Google's "deal" with its users is that Google collects and uses information from searches, e-mail

  • Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aawzag621 ( 2571805 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:03PM (#44044483)
    Our government unilaterally rewrote the basic agreement between We, the People who are sovereign, and the government which is supposed to report to us. As a result, no citizen can understand the reasons behind the actions of his Representatives or the government. Thus, the government is sovereign as We, the People, have no control of it. This is treason. This is the functional equivalent to a coup, kept secret by the people who did it. We cannot allow the government to engage in anything that require secrecy, or we will be in this situation again. So, time to become a neutral nation the way the guys who wrote the Constitution intended. Bring the troops home and repudiate all of the treaties that allow them to be overseas. Repeal the acts enabling our NSA, CIA, FBI and FISA, as these are all more dangerous to us as citizens than anything they purport to protect us against. Purge the Department of Justice, which seems to exist to write memos justifying obviously bogus interpretations of laws and the Constitution. Remove every person from government who knew about, and did nothing to oppose, any episode of torture, drone attacks on US citizens, or any of this spying, Un-elect all Representatives who knew about and did nothing to oppose these things. Anything less than this, the coup will ultimately succeed.
    • It's apparently not illegal when the president does it. :(

      I would mod you up.

    • "...the coup will ultimately succeed." I'd maybe put that in the past tense.

      There is not, nor will there be, some great public outcry. Beyond a few vague mutterings to pollsters, the almighty public already doesn't give a shit. They've already moved on to their daily troubles, sports pages, soaps, diva doings, FB, that makes up their mental processes. Despite the noise in the '70s, it was already too late during Ike's terms. Something might theoretically have been possible then, but not since.

      Your only

  • "Sure you can post the total number of requests. But you're not allowed to separate out the garden variety (child support, parole violations, etc.) from the NSA domestic fishing expeditions."

    Lying cowards.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend