FBI Can Access ‘the most intimate details of our lives’ Without a Warrant, Says Gag-order Recipient
The lifting of an 11-year-old gag-order this week has confirmed that federal investigators have compelled Internet companies to cough up their customers’ browsing history, online records and other personal information without ever applying for a warrant.
Nick Merrill previously operated a now-defunct Internet Service Provider (ISP), Calyx Internet Access, and since February 2004 has found himself in and out of federal courthouses arguing over a request for user data he received in the form of a National Security Letter, or NSL.
The FBI issued more than 400,000 NSLs between 2003 and 2011, the Justice Department’s inspector general determined last year. Those letters are often issued to ISPs, banks and other companies that keep electronic records in order for authorities to find out information pursuant to criminal and counterterrorism investigations.