Google challenges U.S. gag order, citing First Amendment

By Jesse
Jun 19, 2013
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  1. Google is petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow them to release information concerning data requests the court makes.

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  2. Nivagely

    Nivagely TechSpot Member Posts: 50

    Whole thing is *****ic anyway, Is it seriously only now people care about the information that can be seen?
    Whole world is a shamble.
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,889   +609

    Am I missing something here? The 1st amendment says we are FREE to speak, not that we HAVE to speak just because we know something. Gag orders are handed out by judges every day across the country to juries and witnesses in trials, so how does Google plan to argue that gag orders are unconstitutional? There's probably more to it than that, but at the least it'll make Google look good for trying.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,076   +1,182

    I can't argue with you on this one. I was actually thinking the same thing.
  5. Wrinklie44

    Wrinklie44 Newcomer, in training

    Actually, Mike, we have "the freedom of speech", not just "to" speak. There is a difference and Google is correct. Do we HAVE to speak? Of course not, but I also agree that "gag orders" are a violation of the First Amendment. Besides, we already have enough interference with the First Amendment; how many flag draped coffins from our wars have you seen? Guess why.
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,889   +609


    Do you mean freedom of speech means we're also free NOT to speak? I thought that was part of the 'freedom' part. Freedom of speech means we are free to express our ideas (obviously not just speaking), but freedom implies choice, and choice implies NOT doing something. Google is making it sound like the 1st amendment dictates that they MUST disclose this information. That sounds to me like they don't have a choice.

    Actually flag draped coffins does bring up a good example of just how free our speech is. The Westboro Baptist Church is free to protest at soldiers' funerals. They're free to say that our soldiers have died because God is punishing us for permitting homosexuality in the US. And yeah, there are limits. You can't yell 'bomb' at the airport, or 'fire' in a movie theater without getting in trouble, and there are actual crimes called libel and slander which aren't protected under free speech. I really don't have an issue with it though... anyway, it's the 2nd and 4th amendments that get all the news.
  7. If Google is really serious about protecting its customer's privacy from government snooping they can start by simply refusing to sell that info to the government.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,076   +1,182

    The government has no need to pay for anything they can confiscate, especially if they feel it is theirs to begin with. I personally think it is wrong, but thats how they operate.
  9. Wrinklie44

    Wrinklie44 Newcomer, in training

    Mike: "I honestly don't understand the difference." The only way I can answer that is that the framers of the Constitution were VERY careful about the language they used. Is in confusing today? Yes, because we've bastardized the English language. The Second Amendment is a good example because a modern Supreme Court made an interpretation of what they thought it means and "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..." has fallen by the wayside. As far as the flag draped coffins, I was referring to our government policies; they have no right to tell the press what they can and can't do because that, too, is protected by the First Amendment. I also find the lack of outrage over our loss of the 4th and 5th Amendments. We use Machiavellian logic of the ends justifies the means to ignore the Constitution; a path to fascism.
  10. Wrinklie44

    Wrinklie44 Newcomer, in training

    Mike: I just noticed the the email I got with your comment is different than the one on this forum. That's where the "don't understand" comment was. Speaking of don't understand....
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,889   +609

    I thought about it more and I figured you meant that the difference was that we're free 'not' to speak. That's why I replaced the 'not understanding' line with the question that is there now.

    You're right, we don't see many flag draped coffins, but I don't think that's because the govt is telling the press what to do, or because of any oppression. I think that's the press having an ounce of decency not to use photos of coffins to promote an anti-war agenda. It then becomes personal for the families of those soldiers. We can theorize on what the exact agenda would be, but I think it's a respect thing, not an oppressive govt thing.

    I see your point though. I'm not trying to say your point is wrong because I can argue against the first example you thought of. I'd say the biggest recent news about a 1st amendment violation is the IRS scandal. When one of the most powerful govt agencies focuses an attack on a group because of opposing political beliefs that's a serious problem. Sure, Obama called it an outrage, but Lois Lerner (the most senior official, who's signature is on some of the questionable documents) still has her job.


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