April 29, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

ACLU Challenges FBI's Secret Demands

Congratulations and best of luck to our friends at the ACLU in their new lawsuit challenging the government's use of "National Security Letters" (NSLs). Authorized under the USA PATRIOT Act, NSLs are secret legal demands for your private records that are issued directly by the Justice Department to your communications provider -- demands that the government can issue without ever having to show probable cause to suspect you of a crime, and without waiting for court review or approval.

Of course, all the juiciest facts in the case, such as the identity of the ACLU's co-plaintiff -- presumably an Internet services provider that has received an NSL -- are under seal. But reading between the redacted lines, it looks like ACLU has the goods for a successful challenge. Way to go, guys.

For more (limited) details about the case, check out Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge to Patriot Act (Washington Post; reg. required).

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