Feeds

FBI fights to protect ISPs that snoop on their customers

Refuses to name warrantless wiretap partners

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The FBI has finally come clean on the real reason it doesn't want to name phone and internet service providers that participate in a sweeping surveillance program that taps international communications without a warrant: Customers would get mad and dump or sue the providers.

This rare piece of honesty came in a recently filed court declaration (PDF) from a top FBI official arguing why the agency shouldn't have to supply the names in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Specifically, these businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI,” David M. Hardy wrote. “The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies' services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber information. Therefore, the FBI has properly withheld this information.”

Under recent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, government intelligence officials received authority to tap American's international communications with little judicial oversight. The ACLU filed a lawsuit on constitutional grounds and later filed a FOIA request seeking additional details. Feds so far have released only a “few hundred pages of heavily redacted documents.”

Hardy's frankness came in justifying why the FBI shouldn't be required to supply any more information.

In his declaration, Hardy said names should also be kept confidential to prevent the service providers themselves from retaliating against the government.

“For instance, given that these companies would pay a high price if it were known that they were providing information about their customers to the FBI, it is likely that companies, though lacking grounds to do so, would nevertheless avail themselves of legal options to resist cooperation,” he wrote. “It is only with the understanding of complete confidentiality that full cooperation of such sources can be enlisted, and only through this confidence that these sources can be persuaded to continue to fully cooperate in providing valuable assistance in the future.”

More from the ACLU is here and here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.