Category: Amendment 1

+1 for Google offering some resistance to Big Brother

Google stands up for Gmail users, requires cops to get a warrant

American government agencies (including federal, state, and local authorities) made over 8,400 requests for nearly 15,000 accounts—far exceeding India, the next largest country in terms of information requests. In 88 percent of those queries, Google complied with at least some, if not all, of the requests.

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Authorities have also been known to request information using ECPA subpoenas, which are much easier to obtain. It’s unclear how many of the subpoenas or warrants Google complied with—the company has only said it complied in part or in full to 88 percent of total requests from American authorities.

“In order to compel us to produce content in Gmail we require an ECPA search warrant,” said Chris Gaither, Google spokesperson. “If they come for registration information, that’s one thing, but if they ask for content of e-mail, that’s another thing.”

Read the rest here. It doesn’t seem like a lot but I guess it is something. See the prior post for more on this issue.

Social Media is the Governments path of least resistance

US law enforcement puts pressure on Twitter with more intensity, frequency

The company said that in the final six months of last year, 815 “user information requests” came in from governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. Of those, 81 percent were from Twitter’s home country and 60 percent came from American law enforcement agencies. Twitter complied in whole or in part with 69 percent of all requests worldwide.

Like Google, Twitter is now breaking out what type of legal tool was used to force the company’s hand. The company wrote on its website that of American requests, 60 percent were subpoenas, which have a fairly low legal standard under the Stored Communications Act.

“They do not generally require a judge’s sign-off and usually seek basic subscriber information, such as the e-mail address associated with an account and IP logs,” the company wrote.

Read the rest here.

An update to the Only 3? post

There has been some updates to the Only 3? post 

  1. Congress declares opposition to UN takeover of the Internet
  2. Authoritarian regimes push for larger ITU role in DNS system
  3. Ambassador says US “cannot sign the ITU regulations in their current form”
  4. Unexpected Controversy Erupts at UN Internet Conference
  5. United States Refuses to Sign UN Internet Treaty
  6. Controversial UN Internet Treaty Approved After United States Walks Out

Only 3?

The 11-day conference is billed as a gathering of the world’s top nations to discuss ways to update rules last touched in 1988 on oversight related to telephone networks, satellite networks, and the Internet at large. Proponents of the conference say that the Internet has changed so radically since the 1980s that it is now time for others to have greater say in how it’s regulated and controlled.

But if you peek under the covers of this debate, the majority of these voices tend to be concentrated in countries that already express some of the nastiest forms of Internet censorship to date. They have fully vested interest in using the veil of a UN conference to push their own agenda of restricting Internet freedoms further for their own citizens, and giving other like-minded nations a better standing to unleash the same kind of oppression on their own netizens.

Read the whole thing: 3 big reasons to oppose any UN attempt to rewrite rules of the Net. And then Mashable.com has more on this subject here Why Internet Advocates Hate Russia’s Proposal to Change the Web

Big Brother’s Little Helper

In a request made yesterday to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Verisign outlined a new “anti-abuse” policy that would allow the company to terminate, lock, or transfer any domain under its registration jurisdiction under a number of circumstances. And one of those circumstances listed was “requests of law enforcement.”

Read More: Verisign wants power to shut sites down upon law enforcement request

Excessive Snooping?

Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down a unanimous ruling in the Simon Glik case. That case held that Glik had a “clearly-established” First Amendment right to record the actions of the police on the Boston Common, and that police officers should have known this when they arrested him. Civil libertarians are hoping a second ruling in Illinois will help cement the principle that audio recording is an activity protected by the First Amendment.

Read More: Judge worries recording police will lead to excessive “snooping around”. Also see: Police Immunity from Cell-Phone Recording Overturned by Court of Appeals