The First Amendment guarantees the public’s right to speak about court proceedings. Yet the Stored Communications Act currently allows the government to obtain court orders prohibiting the providers of electronic communications services from notifying their users when they receive law enforcement orders for user information pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 2703. These nondisclosure orders silence their recipients for any period that a court deems appropriate—even indefinitely—leaving the targets of the collection and the broader public unaware of the surveillance and unable to challenge it in court.
That’s why we recently sent a letter to the House Committee on the Judiciary in support of H.R. 7072, the NDO Fairness Act. This bill takes important steps toward bringing transparency and accountability to the federal government’s use of sweeping nondisclosure orders.
Bringing more transparency to government surveillance of individuals’ communications is a great step forward. We look forward to working together to enact these reforms.