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posted by martyb on Friday May 23 2014, @04:16AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

TechCrunch is reporting that Microsoft has successfully managed to challenge a National Security Letter (NSL) from the FBI that included a gag order. The gist is simple: according to Microsoft they received an NSL requesting "basic subscriber information" regarding an "enterprise" customer; i.e. the FBI was after the metadata of a large Microsoft client.

As is normal for NSLs, the letter banned Microsoft from disclosing to anyone that the data had been requested. Microsoft didn't think that reasonable and filed a challenge resulting in the FBI retracting its request. What's perhaps more interesting isn't that a single National Security Letter was beaten back, but how Microsoft argued its case which could, in theory, be used by others to defeat other NSLs.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:22AM (#46617)

    If you try it, you lose. Enjoy prison.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by davester666 on Friday May 23 2014, @07:01AM

      by davester666 (155) on Friday May 23 2014, @07:01AM (#46652)

      and they didn't "beat it".

      the only standing MS has is to challenge the gag order. the fbi or whomever decided that they would rather not fight to keep the gag order, but rather get a new warrant that was more specific.

      to 'beat them' would be for the case to actually make it before a judge, who ruled that the gag order was inappropriate.

  • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Friday May 23 2014, @04:28AM

    by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday May 23 2014, @04:28AM (#46618)

    Is this the first real chink in the armor of these all-powerful National Security Letters?

    MS's legal arguments were succinct and effective, and don't appear to be specific to this case. They are directed at the NSL's NDA as well as the scope of the letter in general.

    Cross what ever you need to cross. This could be a cornerstone in rebuilding the walls of privacy and freedoms.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:39AM (#46621)

      This could be a cornerstone in rebuilding the walls of privacy and freedoms.

      You mean corporate privacy and corporate freedoms.

      If you challenge a National Security Letter, the FBI seizes your house and your car and your person until you damn well cooperate with the National Security, worthless peon.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @05:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @05:06AM (#46623)

    Stored there on the host sun
    Satya fought the law and Satya won
    Satya fought the law and Satya won

    The law don't mean shit if you've got the right friends
    That's how this country's run
    Twinkies are the best friends I ever had
    Satya fought the law and Satya won
    Satya fought the law and Satya won

  • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Friday May 23 2014, @05:30AM

    by gman003 (4155) on Friday May 23 2014, @05:30AM (#46626)

    Good job, Microsoft. Good job.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @06:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @06:45AM (#46648)

      It must have been in regard to a really MAJOR / KEY client of theirs. They would not go this distance for Joe Citizen. Smell the money, follow that trail...

    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Friday May 23 2014, @10:57AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Friday May 23 2014, @10:57AM (#46698) Journal

      And some of us still cannot believe you actually did! Problem with spook stuff is that whatever you get wind of is there for a reason, and not the reason you usually think it might be. So who wants to sign up for the big white fluffy Micro$oft Cloud now? Any takers? Bueller???

      --
      #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @01:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @01:29PM (#46737)

    Vested interest in keeping them as customer. Do you think they will have done the same for a person ?

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by NeoNormal on Friday May 23 2014, @02:47PM

    by NeoNormal (2516) on Friday May 23 2014, @02:47PM (#46759)
    I believe this guy was the first:

    Nicholas Merrill [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:35PM (#46800)

    NSLs are unconstitutional, unethical, and immoral. Nothing was defeated here. The judicial papers leaked by courageous folks have shown other NSLs have been withdrawn in the past after being challenged.

    Only through the abolition of NSLs can they be defeated!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:40PM (#46804)

    Wait, why is the FBI serving National Security Letters in the first place? Come to think of it, why are they running killer drone programs in Africa? Oh that's right, the FBI is no longer a law enforcement agency, they are a national security agency. Minor change I'm sure, right?

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/05 /fbi_drops_law_enforcement_as_primary_mission [foreignpolicy.com]

  • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Friday May 23 2014, @05:43PM

    by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Friday May 23 2014, @05:43PM (#46824)

    By tech lore MS backdoors everything to the (insert favorite three letter spook agency here)anyway.
    Or is the anti-MS rhetoric simply gotten so bad that we have become the National Enquirer? And the facts now matter less than the perception?

    Yes, I realize this is an Enterprise customer. But every other article says business should switch to LINUX because the backdoors are there as well.

    Sometimes I suspect our speculations have become fact via repetition.

    I personally, am going to fire one up, sit back, and observe. The world has become a Tragic Comedy, and I feel the third act is near.

    --
    Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
  • (Score: 1) by jasassin on Friday May 23 2014, @10:05PM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Friday May 23 2014, @10:05PM (#46922) Journal

    I am a conspiracy theorist. Maybe this was a conspiracy to put faith in cloud while simultaneously reinforcing the concept your data is safe from the powers that be so the man can have more info to sniff.

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA