Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Argument in NSL Gag Order Case

15481641875_0a98c72763_k copyThe Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Deputy General Counsel (and Berkman Center Affiliate) Kurt Opsahl argued before a Ninth Circuit panel this week in a case — In re: National Security Letter, Under Seal v. Holder (Sealed), 13-15957 & 13-16731 (consolidated), 13-16732 — that challenges the constitutionality of gag orders embodied in National Security Letters.  The Ninth Circuit has posted audio of the arguments before Judges Ikuta, Smith, and Murguia.  

Douglas Letter of the US Department of Justice argued on behalf of the federal government, asserting that NSLs are useful tools in counter-terrorism and counter-espionage efforts.  Opsahl argued that restrictions on ISPs’ ability to discuss those Letters improperly limited their ability to contribute to an important public debate.

Photograph of Kurt Opsahl by Michael Lissner (CC-BY 2.0)

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