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Doe v. Ashcroft (Doe I)
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
334 F. Supp. 2d 471 (2004)
Federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 2709, enacted by Congress as part of the Electronic Communications Act of 1986 (ECPA), Pub. L. No. 99-508, § 201, authorizes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to order internet service providers (ISPs) or telephone companies to produce customer records whenever the FBI asserts that the documents are “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” These demands are made in the form of secret subpoenas called national security letters (NSLs). Section 2709 forbids all NSL recipients from ever disclosing that the FBI issued such a subpoena. John Doe (plaintiff) was an Internet access firm that received an NSL from the FBI, directing it to provide a number of requested records in person. Doe did not comply and instead brought suit challenging the constitutionality of § 2709.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marrero, J.)
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