The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal appeals court next week to uphold a groundbreaking ruling that the National Security Letter (NSL) provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. on October 8 in San Francisco.
Months before Edward Snowden kicked off the international debate over electronic surveillance, EFF scored a major victory when a federal judge ordered the FBI to cease its practice of issuing NSLs—demands to telecommunication providers to provide information about their users that are not approved in advance by a judge.
The lower court found that the gag orders, which are almost always issued by the FBI in tandem with the NSLs, violate the First Amendment. In EFF’s cases, these gag orders have forced EFF’s clients to keep their identities hidden, preventing them from discussing the NSLs publicly or even revealing their involvement in this case. The court also found that the limited, after-the-fact judicial review procedures violate the separation of powers.
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl will deliver oral arguments at the hearing at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Audio of the arguments will be live streamed through the court’s website. The identity of the clients will not be disclosed in Wednesday’s hearing.
What: Oral Arguments in Under Seal v. Eric Holder, Jr. (consolidated cases)
Who: EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl
When: 9 a.m. PT, Oct. 8, 2014
Where: James R. Browning Courthouse, Courtroom 4
95 7th Street
San Francisco, CA
Opsahl will be available for interviews at the courthouse immediately after the hearing.
Applications to bring a camera into the courtroom must be submitted by the close of business on Friday, Oct. 3. Details at: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/news_media/
Live oral arguments will be streamed at: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/live_oral_arguments.php
For more on NSLs, visit our NSL Frequently Asked Questions page: