Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Security Communications Government Network Networking The Internet

Google Publishes Eight National Security Letters (techcrunch.com) 63

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google dropped a single National Security Letter into its most recent transparency report without much fanfare, but today the company published eight more NSLs in an attempt to shed more light on government surveillance of Google users. The eight letters published today were sent to Google from FBI offices across the country. Cumulatively, the NSLs seek broad access to content for around 20 user accounts. The names of the targets are redacted, but most of the letters seek access to Gmail accounts. The NSLs were sent to Google over a five-year period, from 2010 to 2015, with the majority coming from the Charlotte, North Carolina field office of the FBI. Others came from Florida, Arizona, New York, and California. "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, wrote in a blog post. Google has fought to make the letters public in part because the FBI can issue them without prior judicial oversight.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Publishes Eight National Security Letters

Comments Filter:
  • Why not publish all 26?

    • because contempt of court *sucks*

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        The whole point of NSLs is that there is no prior judicial oversight; there's no court to defy. I'm not saying they wouldn't be punished somehow, but it wouldn't be contempt of court. These things exist because there's some law that imposes a prior restraint on the receiver's speech. If it were to end up in court, you'd hear words like "first" and "amendment" long before you hear words like "contempt."

    • What good would it do?

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Why not publish all 26?

      Because they don't want to implicate their parent company.

  • Requests for access to 20ish user accounts in five years from Google?

    That has to be on the order of the likelihood of a Powerball winner.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Twenty users they're allowed to disclose that the FBI was able to request without judicial oversight. The need for search warrants is pretty well enshrined in the Bill of Rights, that law enforcement is able to compel this information without a warrant is what's disturbing, not that law enforcement is requesting information.

      • Also - there almost certainly, were thousands of subpoenas to grant access to accounts, with judical oversight, and without the NSL's obligation of secrecy - in other words, Google made to do exactly what they were made to do here, except not forced to stay silent about it - all interested parties informed of the fact.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Either that or the FBI got a warrant or you were a foreigner or they did PAY for the information, like everyone else ;).

      • Either that or the FBI got a warrant or you were a foreigner or they did PAY for the information, like everyone else ;).

        Warrants or other appropriate legal documentation is required for foreigners as well. And Google doesn't sell user information, so trying to pay wouldn't help.

    • Requests for access to 20ish user accounts in five years from Google?

      That has to be on the order of the likelihood of a Powerball winner.

      20ish user accounts from a handful of NSLs where the gag order has been lifted. There are many other NSLs that Google is still gagged over, I'm sure. And the transparency reports document tens of thousands of requests for similar numbers of accounts, requests made through search warrants or subpoenas.

      NSLs get highlighted because, unlike the other instruments to compel information, can be issued without judicial oversight and are kept secret.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @07:41PM (#53480267)

    I, for one, simply can not wait for Bush to be out of the White House.

    Did you hear Obama's an actual Constitutional scholar? HE'LL put an end to this nonsense!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Trump is a tits and ass scholar. HE'LL put an end to this nonsense!

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        At least Trump knows more about tits and ass than Obama knows about constitutional law. Unless Obama knows that constitutional law is void where prohibited.

  • Broad access? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @08:52PM (#53480631) Homepage

    Hmm.. Fascinating stuff, I guess. But I'm not sure I would have chose the word "broad" to describe the level of information requested by at least some of these NSL's. I looked at a few, two of them simply wanted name, address and length of service, nothing else. Another asked for that, and a history of communication transactions, even goes out of the way to say 'don't give us subject lines, or content, we can't look at that," and for a very specific datetime window.

    So, not exactly pleased with puffing up this by saying 'broad access', when as far as I can tell, it's anything but.

    • Hmm.. Fascinating stuff, I guess. But I'm not sure I would have chose the word "broad" to describe the level of information requested by at least some of these NSL's. I looked at a few, two of them simply wanted name, address and length of service, nothing else. Another asked for that, and a history of communication transactions, even goes out of the way to say 'don't give us subject lines, or content, we can't look at that," and for a very specific datetime window.

      The laws that created the concept of a National Security Letter and authorize its use specifically limit the scope of NSLs to metadata only. So NSLs really can't be used for what most people would think of as "broad access".

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Remember that this is only what they have been allowed to publish. There are probably letters requesting much more, as much as the law allows, that they can't put out.

  • ... are people going to stop using email?

    God
    Damn

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The redaction of email address is inept. One can easily count the number of redacted characters in the email address. So while it does not reveal the email address it certainly can be used to eliminate millions of email addresses that were not the target. The entire line should have been redacted. Better to redact an excess of characters.

    • Redaction and destruction are almost never intended to make recovery impossible. Even GSA Safes [gsacontainer.com] have specifications based on how long it would take someone to break in. Destruction is based on an expectation of how long it would take to put pages back together (if shredded, burning/smelting is another deal altogether).

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

Working...