FBI to remove National Security Letter from Internet Archive

Civil rights groups claim victory

Neither Opshal nor any of those present at the press conference would say what information exactly was provided by the Archive to the FBI other than the fact that it was publicly available on the site. They also refused to clarify whether they were asked not to disclose that information as part of their agreement with the FBI, despite repeated questions on both counts.

According to Kahle, the Internet Archive did not and does not collect or store any personally identifiable information beyond an unverified e-mail address that patrons are asked to provide.

Even so, Opshal noted that "there was a very small amount of responsive, non-public information" that Internet Archives had in its possession which it refused to provide to the FBI. He refused to disclose what the information might have been. "We said we were unable to provide that because the NSL statute was unconstitutional and the Archive was not subject to the statute," Opshal said.

This is the first time where an NSL letter was challenged by invoking certain amendments that were made to the statute in 2006 by Congress, said Melissa Goodman, an attorney for the ACLU. Those 2006 amendments limit the FBI's ability to demand certain records from libraries using NSLs, she said.

"It is quite notable that every time someone has challenged an NSL in court, every time there has been the threat of some judicial review, the FBI has withdrawn its demand," Goodman said. In two other cases that the ACLU knows about where NSLs were challenged, the FBI has withdrawn its letters, she said.

"Putting the case in the big-picture context, NSLs basically allow the FBI to demand extremely sensitive information on innocent people, often in total secrecy without judicial review," Goodman said. She noted that the FBI served nearly 200,000 between 2003 and 2006, out of which just three have been challenged in court, she said.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the FBI maintained that NSLs were "indispensable tools" in counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations. The statement noted Internet Archive's voluntary disclosure of some public information and its refusal to disclose some information that was not public. "As part of the settlement in this case, the FBI withdrew the National Security Letter and all parties have agreed not to disclose certain portions of the NSL, as well as portions of other documents, as part of the settlement agreement," the statement said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?