National Security Letters

By Jim Garland, David Fagan, and Alex Berengaut

On January 27, 2014, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence announced that the U.S. government will allow Internet companies and telecommunications providers to disclose more information about government demands for customer data in national security investigations.  The government’s new transparency policy addresses legal demands served under two distinct statutory authorities.  First, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”), the government can apply to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) for orders compelling providers to disclose both the contents of their customers’ communications as well as non-content “metadata” relating to such communications.  Second, under the National Security Letter (“NSL”) statute, the FBI can compel companies to disclose certain non-content information about their customers.

Under the new policy announced on January 27, technology companies now have two options for reporting on the number of FISA orders and NSLs they receive:  

Continue Reading Justice Department Allows More Transparency on Government Demands for Customer Information in National Security Investigations