“US judge sides with FBI, orders Google to hand over user data”

June 3, 2013

The Washington Post released the following:

By Associated Press, Published: May 31 | Updated: Saturday, June 1

“SAN FRANCISCO — Google must comply with the FBI’s demand for data on certain customers as part of a national security investigation, according to a ruling by a federal judge who earlier this year determined such government requests are unconstitutional.

The decision involves “National Security Letters,” thousands of which are sent yearly by the FBI to banks, telecommunication companies and other businesses. The letters, an outgrowth of the USA Patriot Act passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, are supposed to be used exclusively for national security purposes and are sent without judicial review. Recipients are barred from disclosing anything about them.

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston sided with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a lawsuit brought on behalf of an unidentified telecommunications company, ruling the letters violate free speech rights. She said the government failed to show the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy “serve the compelling need of national security” and the gag order creates “too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted.”

She put that ruling on hold while the government appeals to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the latest case, Illston sided with the FBI after Google contested the constitutionality and necessity of the letters but again put her ruling on hold until the 9th Circuit rules. After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, Illston said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.

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

Kurt Opsah, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he was “disappointed that the same judge who declared these letters unconstitutional is now requiring compliance with them.”

Illston’s May 20 order omits any mention of Google or that the proceedings were 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 obtained Friday by The Associated Press show that on that same day, the federal government filed a “petition to enforce National Security Letter” against Google after the company declined to cooperate with government demands.

Neither Google nor the FBI would comment.

The letters issued by the FBI can be used to collect unlimited kinds of private information, such as financial and phone records. The FBI sent 16,511 letters requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available.

Critics contend the government is overly zealous in using the letters, unnecessarily infringing on privacy rights of American citizens. In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found widespread violations by the FBI, including sending demands without proper authorization. The FBI has since tightened oversight of the system.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Pushes to Classify Undercover Animal Abuse Investigations as ‘Terrorism’

January 9, 2012

International Business Times – Australia on January 9, 2012 released the following:

“By Natural News

(NaturalNews) The USA Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and various other unconstitutional “anti-terrorism” legislation all appear to be getting turned right back around on the American people. It has been revealed that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been keeping files on animal rights activists who conduct undercover investigations of factory farms, and the agency is now recommending that these activists be prosecuted as “terrorists.”

Most of the video footage that has captured things like chickens stacked in endless rows of filthy battery cages, or pigs being beaten and forced mercilessly through food processing machines was captured by individuals who did so under cover, often having to lie to the farm owners to gain entry. This act of civil disobedience has been crucial in exposing extreme abuse, and in giving the public a glimpse into how animals raised for commercial consumption are treated.

These undercover investigations, of course, have also led many consumers to either stop eating meat altogether, or purchase meat from small-scale, family farms that raise their animals with dignity, and that allow them to live normal lives outside and on pastures, instead of in large, densely-packed warehouses and feedlots where the animals often never see the light of day.

In 2006, Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which proponents insisted was only aimed at animal rights groups that burn down buildings, for instance, or commit various other legitimate property crimes. But now that the legislation is law, the FBI wants to use it to target those who merely try to expose what goes on behind the scenes at some of the nation’s largest and most well-known factory farms.

According to the FBI, filming horrendous conditions at factory farms can cause said farms to experience “economic loss,” which the agency says fits the parameters of AETA’s “terrorist” activity. In other words, the mere act of taking pictures or capturing video at factory farms is a “reasonable indication,” according to the FBI, that an individual has violated AETA.

In order to combat the FBI’s egregious efforts in this matter, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts challenging the constitutionality of AETA, which can be so broadly defined as to criminalize protesting and free speech. The group says the bill is “unconstitutional” and “in violation of the First Amendment,” as well as the constitutional right to due process (http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/news/lawsuit-challenges-animal-enterprise-terror-law-unconstitutional).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.