Target: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski
Goal: Insist the judge rule against FBI demands made to Google Inc.
Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ordered Google Inc. to comply with demands made by the FBI. The demands: to surrender customer data for the purposes of counter-terrorism monitoring. Google Inc. has resisted the FBI demands, which are dubbed national security letters, stating that they are unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy. However, Judge Susan Illston does not agree. The matter will be settled by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, therefore it is paramount for us to call on the appeals court to strike down Judge Illston’s judgment.
Prior to this particular case was a related charge brought forth from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Judge Susan Illston presided over this case as well, but she found that the EFF was correct in claiming that FBI national security letters were an infringement on free speech. This previous ruling makes the current one all the more ironic. How is it possible that Judge Illston can at one moment support free speech and rule against the FBI, but in another moment support the FBI for the same charges?
In Judge Illston’s statement about the Google Inc. v. FBI case it is not clear what type of information the FBI is seeking to obtain. Nor is it clear who is being specifically targeted by the bureau. What is clear, though, is that the ruling strips away the little amount of privacy protection afforded to Google customers. For a large portion of the U.S. Google has become a habit, whether through its search engine or email, people log on to Google in some way or another constantly. Therefore, granting the FBI permission to invade our privacy will be a heinous display of trampling on free speech.
We’ve already seen battles over internet privacy like the Protection ID Act (PIPA), Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and each instance has been met with extreme outrage by consumers and select politicians alike. This ruling in favor of national security letters is fundamentally the same as the other attempts to steal our civil liberties, so we must express an equal amount of outrage as we have in the past to ensure our privacy is protected.
Dear Judge Kozinski,
The upcoming case concerning Google Inc. and FBI national security letters is of invaluable importance. To ensure the American people’s rights to privacy and free speech I insist that the court rule against the FBI. Judge Susan Illston at one time felt the protection of free speech was necessary as well, when she ruled in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a case concerning the same issue. However, she has apparently forgotten her initial judgement, and turned her back on constitutional rights. I urge you to correct her error.
The American people have already demonstrated their strong feelings over privacy and free speech. We have seen it in the remarkable protests against measures like CISPA, PIPA, and SOPA. The case of national security letters is fundamentally the same, and the American people will become aware of its importance sooner rather than later. Therefore, it is in the court’s best interest, and more importantly the American people’s best interest, to ensure the protection of free speech and always rule in favor of this constitutional right.
The court can choose its path, to win the support of the American people or to lose their favor. A pragmatic judge must understand the implications of being on the wrong side of an issue, and I hope that the same judge would not have the tendency to rule incorrectly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons