FBI has also issued gag orders in this regard that were declared unconstitutional by the U.S District Judge Susan Illston. Meanwhile Google continued to challenge the NSLs themselves that demanded warrant less information seeking under the USA Patriot Act.
Unfortunately, now Judge Susan Illston has held that Google must comply with the NSLs granting the government access to users’ private info without court warrants. Judge Illston’s latest ruling appears to contradict her decision earlier this year ordering the government to stop issuing the letters.
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. It could be many more months before the appeals court rules on the constitutionality of the letters and till then Google may have to comply with the FBI’s NSLs.
The only solace for Google is the fact that Google can file a fresh petition challenging the specific letters it had received, rather than challenging the NSLs in general. It seems, like India, U.S. has also failed to maintain a balance between national security and civil liberties.