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Google ordered to obey FBI’s warrantless data requests

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A federal judge has rejected Google’s request to not have to comply with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) warrantless requests for users’ data records, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

In a May 28 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston decided that the national security letters issued by the bureau were not unconstitutional, as the tech company had argued, but delayed her ruling pending a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Illston ruled that after receiving sworn statements from two high-ranking FBI officials, she determined that the bureau followed proper procedure in issuing 17 of 19 letters to Google. Until the federal appeals court issues its own decision on the matter, Google will have to comply with the bureau’s data requests.

The letters are sent to internet service providers, banks, and telecommunications companies as part of FBI counter-terrorism organizations seeking private data like phone and banking records.

According to Courthouse News Service, Illston ruled that there were “significant constitutional defects” in the FBI’s use of the letters, and ordered it to stop ordering recipients not to discuss getting the letters.

A Google spokesperson did not comment on whether the company will file an appeal.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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