America, Land of the Free(ze!), Home of the ‘Braised’: US ISP Sued For Asking Questions
An US based ISP decided to speak freely for its customers and got sued by the Department of Justice for questioning a NSL (National Security Letter).
The American internet provider (its name remains unknown) scrutinized, in a legal manner, a NSL request that’s been sent by governmental authorities. Do you think that the DOJ was happy about it? Not really. Instead of investigating the legitimacy of the NSL, the Department of Justice decided to sue the ISP.
It is this kind of behavior that pushes America farther from what it used to be, the land of the free. Here’s what Wired wrote:
Last year, when a telecommunications company received an ultra-secret demand letter from the FBI seeking information about a customer or customers, the telecom took an extraordinary step — it challenged the underlying authority of the FBI’s National Security Letter, as well as the legitimacy of the gag order that came with it.
Both challenges are allowed under a federal law that governs NSLs, a power greatly expanded under the Patriot Act that allows the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and been reprimanded for abusing them — though almost none of the requests have been challenged by the recipients.
After the telecom challenged its NSL last year, the Justice Department took its own extraordinary measure: It sued the company, arguing in court documents that the company was violating the law by challenging its authority.
That’s a pretty intense charge, according to Matt Zimmerman, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the anonymous telecom.
“It’s a huge deal to say you are in violation of federal law having to do with a national security investigation,” says Zimmerman. “That is extraordinarily aggressive from my standpoint. They’re saying you are violating the law by challenging our authority here.
This time the abuse of power comes in the form of NSL letters, and it makes you wonder if the Department of Justice is actually embracing/applying justice or it’s a mere puppet for the interests of the industries?