Monday, January 24, 2011

"Subpoenas and Online Service Providers" and "National Security Letters and Gag Orders"

Embedded below are two segments from this week's episode of On The Media that are worth your attention. Both of them are about eight minutes long.

There are two kinds of subpoenas that federal law enforcement can serve on internet service providers and online communications companies if they want to spy on a users' email or Twitter account. Both kinds frequently have gag-orders attached - which means, users are none the wiser that their account has been breached. And both types of subpoenas are being served to ISPs at an unprecedented rate. The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer explains why what you don't know can hurt you.

The most serious kind of subpoena - called a 'National Security Letter' - used to have a lifetime gag-order automatically attached. That is until Nicholas Merrill appealed his and won the right to talk about it. Despite 50,000 national security letters a year there are only three organizations who have ever won the right to say they got one. Nick Merrill explains why he's the exception and the rule.

Download MP3s and read the transcripts: first segment | second segment.

Visit Nicholas Merrill's website, The Calyx Institute.


Ed. note: This post was modified to add the second segment.

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