Oops! Google’s not-so-secret-dirty-little-secret,
not a secret at all anymore.
The Justice Department recently won a court battle to keep an Internet company from talking about federal demands for user data, arguing that even disclosing the company’s name would damage national security.’
But then, after months of arguments, the department appears to have been foiled by its own redaction process, which left the name “Google” on one page that was posted Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Google has been pushing back against data-gathering tools called national security letters in two federal courts since this spring.
Such letters, known as NSLs, allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to demand account information and other data, but not the content of calls and emails. They typically come with a strict gag order, and companies cannot even acknowledge they receive them.
After a judge in California ruled the law was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech in March, Google challenged several of the letters it had received and asked to be freed from the gag orders.
The decisions have consistently sided with the government and ordered Google to comply and keep quiet.
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