Google announces it was issued FBI secret subpoena

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Last Wednesday, Google disclosed that it has been set free from the gag order from FBI demanding the personal information of its customers.

With the issuance of a secret subpoena from FBI that is regarded as a letter of national security does not call for a court to first approve of it. All the investigators need to do is to say that the information they are seeking is important to wade off international terrorism or for intelligent citizens that are clandestine.

The first letter of national security that Google received was disclosed in the company’s current bi-annual report on transparency that demands for information that it has received all over the world in the first 6 months of 2016.

According to the report by the company, it was in the first 6 months of 2015 that Google received the secret subpoena.

The company in another blog post revealed that more countries as Belarus, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia also made requests for such information which increased the amount of request that the company has received from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

It is true that the FBI and the Department of Justice is backed up by law to have a periodic review of the letters of national security in order to determine if there was need for a gag order in the first place and if it should be lifted following the end of an investigation or if it has reached 3 years since it was last put in place, only a few hundreds of thousands of such letter has been revealed on yearly basis.

It is as a result of the changes made that Google can now freely speak about it receiving such letter in 2015.

The FBI has been under heat from government watchdogs for abusing the letters severally over the years. They have claimed that FBI does not provide evidence that is enough to allow for such requests to be made, for putting a restriction on protected speech that has been amended and also for having access to thousands of Americans without giving them a chance to go for redress.

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Google, however, did not go into details of what the letter they received contained like Yahoo and other companies do. The company on request had said it will release the content of the letter it received but failed to say the time or how it will do it.

This leaves a lot of people guessing on why Google is hesitant to release the letter. This also fuels the speculation that it may still be under some gag of some sort or perhaps there is litigation ongoing that they are using to challenge the gag order.