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James Howard 2017-07-04
img

Facebook is going up against the US over a gag order that it thinks impedes on freedom of speech.

A court order prevents Facebook from telling three users that search warrants were issued for their account information, the publication reported, citing documents it obtained from the DC Appeals Court.

The court has requested "all contents of communications, identifying information and other records related to three Facebook accounts for a specified three-month period of time," according to a notice from Facebook.

The company said the government's investigation was not "secret," arguing that it would violate the First Amendment to deny the users "an opportunity to object to [the warrants] before Facebook produced responsive records to the government."

No specifics in regard to the investigation were given.

But one document suggests the issuance of the warrants coincided with arrests made against over 200 people for protesting President, according to a report on BuzzFeed.

collect
0
Benny Parkhurst 2017-07-10
img

Tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are fighting gag orders from US courts preventing them from talking about government surveillance of their users, arguing it has a chilling effect on free speech.

This means that people are having their digital lives ransacked without their knowledge and with no chance for public scrutiny or appeal.

Tech companies and civil liberties campaigners argue that the gag orders are unconstitutional, violating the fourth amendment, which gives people the right to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and the first amendment, which protects the companies’ right to talk to their customers and discuss how the government conducts its investigations.

Facebook is challenging a court order that prevents the company from notifying three of its users about government search warrants in relation to “potential felony charges” seeking all communication, identifying information and other records from their social media profiles for a three-month period.

Most of the details of the investigation are sealed, although one filing suggests the warrants are linked to mass arrests of protesters during Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

Facebook has, according to amicus briefs filed by the end of June, the support of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, Yelp and Avvo as well as civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access Now and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

collect
0
Joseph White 2019-07-16

Former Trump advisor and confidant Roger Stone isn’t going to jail after violating his gag order.

Instead, a judge on Tuesday condemned him to perhaps a far worse fate: Stone has been banned from posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, according to BuzzFeed News.

In February, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag order on Stone, barring him from speaking about his ongoing legal case or the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

This gag order came shortly after Stone went on a speaking tour across networks like CNN and Fox News after he was indicted by the special counsel.

But only a week after being gagged, Stone posted a photo of Jackson on Instagram with an image of crosshairs near her head.

Stone said that the image was part of a logo pictured in the background of the image, and he deleted the post shortly after it was published, recropping it so the target wasn’t visible.

collect
0
William Franklin 2021-06-11
img
Apple said the subpoena included a gag order and "no information" about the DOJ's investigation focus, and that it only shared users' account info.
collect
0
Jacqueline Cleghorn 2021-03-23
img
The judge said he'd consider issuing a gag order or sanctions if anyone from the Justice Department made similar speculations in the media.
collect
0
Donald Ellison 2016-06-01
img

The controversial subpoenas, which allow the feds to obtain customer records and transaction data from internet service providers and other companies without a court order, come with a perpetual gag order that prevents recipients from disclosing that they ve received an NSL.

We believe this is an important step toward enriching a more open and transparent discussion about the legal authorities law enforcement can leverage to access user data, Chris Madsen, Yahoo s head of global law enforcement, security and safety, wrote in a blog post about the disclosure.

The FBI has issued more than 300,000 NSLs since 2000.

Only four other NSL recipients since 9/11 have publicly disclosed that they received letters, following legal battles.

These included the Internet Archive, a group of librarians in Connecticut, a university in North Carolina, and Nicholas Merrill, the founder of Calyx Internet Access, who won a six-year battle to be released from the gag order he received in 2004.

Last month that court ruled that the gag order challenge was no longer relevant because the USA Freedom Act had successfully addressed the issue of gag orders.

collect
0
Keith Maldonado 2016-06-27
img

Proxy.sh went on to say: "The warrant canary has been particularly designed to make sure we could still move without being legally able to answer questions in a more detailed manner.

Another site, VPNCompare.co.uk, which seems to have been the first to notice the withdrawal of the warrant canary, pointed out that despite Proxy.sh's warning, "The France 8 server coupled with their French servers in general continue to be some of the most utilised of their network."

The article was less than impressed with its overall policy on handing over user data and protecting user privacy—it quoted Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying it was the "single worst policy" he had seen.

Significantly, the policy now includes the following section: "We are based in the Republic of Seychelles and if any domestic law or constraint contradicts our mission and values, we will not hesitate to relocate into another location.

We will close business and provide refund to all our present customers within the cash budget we have at our disposal."

Earlier this year, Ars' sister publication Reddit also removed a "warrant canary" from its latest transparency report, in another sign of the growing use of such indirect signalling mechanisms—and of their necessity.

collect
0
Ben Gallagher 2017-10-24
img

In April 2016, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department over the right to inform its customers that authorities were accessing their emails held on company servers.

Now, the Windows maker is dropping its case after the DoJ introduced a new policy that addresses these issues.

Microsoft explains that the policy limits the use of gag orders, ensuring they are only used when absolutely necessary.

Additionally, it is now much more difficult for one of these orders, which often came without a fixed end date, to last an indefinite amount of time.

“This is an important step for both privacy and free expression.

It is an unequivocal win for our customers, and we’re pleased the DOJ has taken these steps to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” wrote Microsoft’s President and Chief legal officer, Brad Smith.

collect
0
James Williams 2021-07-27
img
NDAs began as a way to protect intellectual property. They've become bludgeons to prevent workers from discussing workplace misconduct and abuse.
collect
10
Nicolas Yeager 2017-08-17

So a Japanese company makes a deal with a Chinese company, which becomes owned by a Taiwanese company...and somehow this ends up in a US court?

collect
0
Robert Pedigo 2017-01-11
img

Cloudflare issued its biannual transparency report yesterday, detailing the government requests for user data it received during the latter half of 2016.

Many tech companies make regular disclosures about these types of requests in an effort to be more transparent with their users, and, following the passage of the USA Freedom Act, more and more of these disclosures include national security letters.

Cloudflare s latest transparency report reveals that the company received a national security letter back in 2013 — and includes a chilling story about how NSL gag orders have kept the public and politicians in the dark about the FBI s use of secret subpoenas.

The FBI issues national security letters in secret, without judicial approval, in order to compel tech companies to reveal information about their customers.

But, thanks to legislation passed last year, the gag orders that accompany NSLs can no longer be indefinite — which means companies like Cloudflare eventually get to talk about them.

The gag order on Cloudflare was lifted in mid-December, and although the company could reveal the specific user whose account was requested, it chose not to.

collect
0
Marion Kimberlin 2017-10-30
img

A federal appeals court is declaring a gag order that was imposed on the backers of a Comic-Con convention to be an unconstitutional infringement of speech.

A San Diego federal judge had prohibited the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con from taking to social media like Twitter, Facebook, and even the event's website to discuss being sued for allegedly infringing the "Comic-Con" trademark.

"Petitioners assert that the court-ordered prior restraints on their speech violate the First Amendment.

We agree," the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

The gag order was issued as part of an ongoing trademark lawsuit brought by the producers of the San Diego Comic-Con.

They sued a competing "Comic-Con" convention for using the unhyphenated form of their trademarked term "Comic-Con" without paying licensing fees.

collect
0
Robbie Kromer 2016-06-10
img

The accusations came following a report of a broken suspension system in an out-of-warranty Model S, which Tesla offered to help pay for repairs on as part of what the company says now was a "goodwill gesture" to the owner.

Part of that gesture, however, the owner told the Daily Kaban, was signing what was described as a "non-disclosure agreement" that, according to their interpretation, was intended to prevent any discussion of potential suspension component flaws with regulators such as the NHTSA.

Of course, though the agreement makes no specific mention of the NHTSA or any other agency, it also doesn't make clear that Tesla doesn't consider them to fall under the contract's scope.

Referring to the specific vehicle in question, Tesla concluded that it had "experienced very abnormal rust" as a result of 70,000 miles of heavy usage including "down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car" from the owner's home.

Right now, that involves filing a report at SaferCar.gov, which is also where owners can check - using their car's VIN, the unique identification number each is assigned - if any outstanding recalls apply to their vehicle.

Given that the sort of flaws the NHTSA is instrumental in catching and getting fixed are only going to become more important - the FBI warned earlier this year that subpar auto electronics could leave doors open to hackers remotely damaging vehicles - it seems like it could be time to make the safety defect reporting process more user-friendly.

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2017-10-24
img

Microsoft said the US Department of Justice has changed its policy in the use of data search warrants accompanied gag orders, ending the need for the case

Microsoft is to wind down a legal case against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over officials’ routine use of gag orders with no expiry dates, after a policy shift the firm said it believes will end the practice.

The software company filed the lawsuit in April 2016 arguing the US government violated the US constitution in the way it was using gag orders to prevent companies from disclosing authorities’ requests to access users’ emails or other information.

The orders violated the constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the Fourth Amendment, which establishes the right to know about government searches and seizures, Microsoft argued.

In one 18-month period the government served Microsoft with 2,576 gag orders, just over two-thirds of which had no specified end date, Microsoft said.

But in a memo issued to DOJ attorneys and agents last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said search orders should include a gag only when there is a true “need for protection from disclosure”, with a time limit that’s no longer than necessary.

collect
0
Roy Shannon 2017-02-03
img

A federal judge in Brooklyn unsealed documents this week related to an investigation into a user of WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned messenger for smartphones.The documents reveal a New York FBI agent used a grand jury subpoena to demand subscriber information and communications log for the WhatsApp user.

Even though the request came in 2014, there has been no record of it until now due to a gag order forbidding WhatsApp from disclosing the existence of the investigation to the subscriber or anyone else.The use of such gag orders is controversial, and companies like Twitter and Yahoo have challenged them in court, arguing that they violate users due process and free speech rights.The order to unseal the WhatsApp subpoena, issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, does not include any explanation, but records show it came after a so-called show cause hearing in early January—suggesting WhatsApp may have asked for the gag order to be lifted.A WhatsApp spokesperson, Matt Steinfeld, declined to comment on the case.

John Marzulli, a spokesperson for the Justice Department in Brooklyn, said he could not comment on any aspect of the subpoena.

The dispute over the WhatsApp investigation is significant because it suggests the Facebook-owned company is part of a broader pushback by the tech industry against secret demands for user information.

Those demands can include gag orders on grand jury subpoenas or so-called National Security Letters, which are a form of subpoena that doesn t require a judge.The Justice Department and law enforcement agencies say such tactics are necessary to preserve the integrity of confidential investigations.

Critics such as the ACLU, which joined an unsuccessful bid by Twitter and Yahoo to challenge recent gag orders, say the government should redact the orders rather than sealing up their very existence.In the last year, the tech industry has gained some traction in its fight against gag orders.

collect
0
Ryan Pak 2017-04-24
img

According to newly unsealed documents, a federal court in California ruled that it is unlawful for Adobe to remain under an indefinite gag order regarding a search warrant for one of its users.

In the ruling, the Los Angeles court concluded that the government had not made a sufficient argument to support the ongoing nature of a gag order it issued to Adobe 2016.

Effectively, Adobe successfully argued that these gag orders should come with an expiration date, after which the company can disclose federal investigations into its users as part of routine transparency reporting.

“As written, the NPO [notice preclusion order] at issue herein effectively bars Adobe’s speech in perpetuity.

The government does not contend, and has made no showing, that Adobe’s speech will threaten the investigation in perpetuity.

Therefore, as written, the NPO manifestly goes further than necessary to protect the government’s interest.”

collect
0
James Howard 2017-07-04
img

Facebook is going up against the US over a gag order that it thinks impedes on freedom of speech.

A court order prevents Facebook from telling three users that search warrants were issued for their account information, the publication reported, citing documents it obtained from the DC Appeals Court.

The court has requested "all contents of communications, identifying information and other records related to three Facebook accounts for a specified three-month period of time," according to a notice from Facebook.

The company said the government's investigation was not "secret," arguing that it would violate the First Amendment to deny the users "an opportunity to object to [the warrants] before Facebook produced responsive records to the government."

No specifics in regard to the investigation were given.

But one document suggests the issuance of the warrants coincided with arrests made against over 200 people for protesting President, according to a report on BuzzFeed.

Joseph White 2019-07-16

Former Trump advisor and confidant Roger Stone isn’t going to jail after violating his gag order.

Instead, a judge on Tuesday condemned him to perhaps a far worse fate: Stone has been banned from posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, according to BuzzFeed News.

In February, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag order on Stone, barring him from speaking about his ongoing legal case or the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

This gag order came shortly after Stone went on a speaking tour across networks like CNN and Fox News after he was indicted by the special counsel.

But only a week after being gagged, Stone posted a photo of Jackson on Instagram with an image of crosshairs near her head.

Stone said that the image was part of a logo pictured in the background of the image, and he deleted the post shortly after it was published, recropping it so the target wasn’t visible.

Jacqueline Cleghorn 2021-03-23
img
The judge said he'd consider issuing a gag order or sanctions if anyone from the Justice Department made similar speculations in the media.
Keith Maldonado 2016-06-27
img

Proxy.sh went on to say: "The warrant canary has been particularly designed to make sure we could still move without being legally able to answer questions in a more detailed manner.

Another site, VPNCompare.co.uk, which seems to have been the first to notice the withdrawal of the warrant canary, pointed out that despite Proxy.sh's warning, "The France 8 server coupled with their French servers in general continue to be some of the most utilised of their network."

The article was less than impressed with its overall policy on handing over user data and protecting user privacy—it quoted Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying it was the "single worst policy" he had seen.

Significantly, the policy now includes the following section: "We are based in the Republic of Seychelles and if any domestic law or constraint contradicts our mission and values, we will not hesitate to relocate into another location.

We will close business and provide refund to all our present customers within the cash budget we have at our disposal."

Earlier this year, Ars' sister publication Reddit also removed a "warrant canary" from its latest transparency report, in another sign of the growing use of such indirect signalling mechanisms—and of their necessity.

James Williams 2021-07-27
img
NDAs began as a way to protect intellectual property. They've become bludgeons to prevent workers from discussing workplace misconduct and abuse.
Robert Pedigo 2017-01-11
img

Cloudflare issued its biannual transparency report yesterday, detailing the government requests for user data it received during the latter half of 2016.

Many tech companies make regular disclosures about these types of requests in an effort to be more transparent with their users, and, following the passage of the USA Freedom Act, more and more of these disclosures include national security letters.

Cloudflare s latest transparency report reveals that the company received a national security letter back in 2013 — and includes a chilling story about how NSL gag orders have kept the public and politicians in the dark about the FBI s use of secret subpoenas.

The FBI issues national security letters in secret, without judicial approval, in order to compel tech companies to reveal information about their customers.

But, thanks to legislation passed last year, the gag orders that accompany NSLs can no longer be indefinite — which means companies like Cloudflare eventually get to talk about them.

The gag order on Cloudflare was lifted in mid-December, and although the company could reveal the specific user whose account was requested, it chose not to.

Robbie Kromer 2016-06-10
img

The accusations came following a report of a broken suspension system in an out-of-warranty Model S, which Tesla offered to help pay for repairs on as part of what the company says now was a "goodwill gesture" to the owner.

Part of that gesture, however, the owner told the Daily Kaban, was signing what was described as a "non-disclosure agreement" that, according to their interpretation, was intended to prevent any discussion of potential suspension component flaws with regulators such as the NHTSA.

Of course, though the agreement makes no specific mention of the NHTSA or any other agency, it also doesn't make clear that Tesla doesn't consider them to fall under the contract's scope.

Referring to the specific vehicle in question, Tesla concluded that it had "experienced very abnormal rust" as a result of 70,000 miles of heavy usage including "down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car" from the owner's home.

Right now, that involves filing a report at SaferCar.gov, which is also where owners can check - using their car's VIN, the unique identification number each is assigned - if any outstanding recalls apply to their vehicle.

Given that the sort of flaws the NHTSA is instrumental in catching and getting fixed are only going to become more important - the FBI warned earlier this year that subpar auto electronics could leave doors open to hackers remotely damaging vehicles - it seems like it could be time to make the safety defect reporting process more user-friendly.

Roy Shannon 2017-02-03
img

A federal judge in Brooklyn unsealed documents this week related to an investigation into a user of WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned messenger for smartphones.The documents reveal a New York FBI agent used a grand jury subpoena to demand subscriber information and communications log for the WhatsApp user.

Even though the request came in 2014, there has been no record of it until now due to a gag order forbidding WhatsApp from disclosing the existence of the investigation to the subscriber or anyone else.The use of such gag orders is controversial, and companies like Twitter and Yahoo have challenged them in court, arguing that they violate users due process and free speech rights.The order to unseal the WhatsApp subpoena, issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, does not include any explanation, but records show it came after a so-called show cause hearing in early January—suggesting WhatsApp may have asked for the gag order to be lifted.A WhatsApp spokesperson, Matt Steinfeld, declined to comment on the case.

John Marzulli, a spokesperson for the Justice Department in Brooklyn, said he could not comment on any aspect of the subpoena.

The dispute over the WhatsApp investigation is significant because it suggests the Facebook-owned company is part of a broader pushback by the tech industry against secret demands for user information.

Those demands can include gag orders on grand jury subpoenas or so-called National Security Letters, which are a form of subpoena that doesn t require a judge.The Justice Department and law enforcement agencies say such tactics are necessary to preserve the integrity of confidential investigations.

Critics such as the ACLU, which joined an unsuccessful bid by Twitter and Yahoo to challenge recent gag orders, say the government should redact the orders rather than sealing up their very existence.In the last year, the tech industry has gained some traction in its fight against gag orders.

Benny Parkhurst 2017-07-10
img

Tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are fighting gag orders from US courts preventing them from talking about government surveillance of their users, arguing it has a chilling effect on free speech.

This means that people are having their digital lives ransacked without their knowledge and with no chance for public scrutiny or appeal.

Tech companies and civil liberties campaigners argue that the gag orders are unconstitutional, violating the fourth amendment, which gives people the right to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and the first amendment, which protects the companies’ right to talk to their customers and discuss how the government conducts its investigations.

Facebook is challenging a court order that prevents the company from notifying three of its users about government search warrants in relation to “potential felony charges” seeking all communication, identifying information and other records from their social media profiles for a three-month period.

Most of the details of the investigation are sealed, although one filing suggests the warrants are linked to mass arrests of protesters during Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

Facebook has, according to amicus briefs filed by the end of June, the support of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, Yelp and Avvo as well as civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access Now and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

William Franklin 2021-06-11
img
Apple said the subpoena included a gag order and "no information" about the DOJ's investigation focus, and that it only shared users' account info.
Donald Ellison 2016-06-01
img

The controversial subpoenas, which allow the feds to obtain customer records and transaction data from internet service providers and other companies without a court order, come with a perpetual gag order that prevents recipients from disclosing that they ve received an NSL.

We believe this is an important step toward enriching a more open and transparent discussion about the legal authorities law enforcement can leverage to access user data, Chris Madsen, Yahoo s head of global law enforcement, security and safety, wrote in a blog post about the disclosure.

The FBI has issued more than 300,000 NSLs since 2000.

Only four other NSL recipients since 9/11 have publicly disclosed that they received letters, following legal battles.

These included the Internet Archive, a group of librarians in Connecticut, a university in North Carolina, and Nicholas Merrill, the founder of Calyx Internet Access, who won a six-year battle to be released from the gag order he received in 2004.

Last month that court ruled that the gag order challenge was no longer relevant because the USA Freedom Act had successfully addressed the issue of gag orders.

Ben Gallagher 2017-10-24
img

In April 2016, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department over the right to inform its customers that authorities were accessing their emails held on company servers.

Now, the Windows maker is dropping its case after the DoJ introduced a new policy that addresses these issues.

Microsoft explains that the policy limits the use of gag orders, ensuring they are only used when absolutely necessary.

Additionally, it is now much more difficult for one of these orders, which often came without a fixed end date, to last an indefinite amount of time.

“This is an important step for both privacy and free expression.

It is an unequivocal win for our customers, and we’re pleased the DOJ has taken these steps to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” wrote Microsoft’s President and Chief legal officer, Brad Smith.

Nicolas Yeager 2017-08-17

So a Japanese company makes a deal with a Chinese company, which becomes owned by a Taiwanese company...and somehow this ends up in a US court?

Marion Kimberlin 2017-10-30
img

A federal appeals court is declaring a gag order that was imposed on the backers of a Comic-Con convention to be an unconstitutional infringement of speech.

A San Diego federal judge had prohibited the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con from taking to social media like Twitter, Facebook, and even the event's website to discuss being sued for allegedly infringing the "Comic-Con" trademark.

"Petitioners assert that the court-ordered prior restraints on their speech violate the First Amendment.

We agree," the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

The gag order was issued as part of an ongoing trademark lawsuit brought by the producers of the San Diego Comic-Con.

They sued a competing "Comic-Con" convention for using the unhyphenated form of their trademarked term "Comic-Con" without paying licensing fees.

Glenn Vedder 2017-10-24
img

Microsoft said the US Department of Justice has changed its policy in the use of data search warrants accompanied gag orders, ending the need for the case

Microsoft is to wind down a legal case against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over officials’ routine use of gag orders with no expiry dates, after a policy shift the firm said it believes will end the practice.

The software company filed the lawsuit in April 2016 arguing the US government violated the US constitution in the way it was using gag orders to prevent companies from disclosing authorities’ requests to access users’ emails or other information.

The orders violated the constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the Fourth Amendment, which establishes the right to know about government searches and seizures, Microsoft argued.

In one 18-month period the government served Microsoft with 2,576 gag orders, just over two-thirds of which had no specified end date, Microsoft said.

But in a memo issued to DOJ attorneys and agents last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said search orders should include a gag only when there is a true “need for protection from disclosure”, with a time limit that’s no longer than necessary.

Ryan Pak 2017-04-24
img

According to newly unsealed documents, a federal court in California ruled that it is unlawful for Adobe to remain under an indefinite gag order regarding a search warrant for one of its users.

In the ruling, the Los Angeles court concluded that the government had not made a sufficient argument to support the ongoing nature of a gag order it issued to Adobe 2016.

Effectively, Adobe successfully argued that these gag orders should come with an expiration date, after which the company can disclose federal investigations into its users as part of routine transparency reporting.

“As written, the NPO [notice preclusion order] at issue herein effectively bars Adobe’s speech in perpetuity.

The government does not contend, and has made no showing, that Adobe’s speech will threaten the investigation in perpetuity.

Therefore, as written, the NPO manifestly goes further than necessary to protect the government’s interest.”