September 30, 2004

A Step Back From The World of Joseph K. [1:19 pm]

Judge Strikes Down Section of Patriot Act

The ruling came in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against a kind of subpoena created under the act, known as a national security letter. Such letters could be used in terrorism investigations to require Internet service companies to provide personal information about subscribers and would bar them from disclosing to anyone that they had received a subpoena.

Such a subpoena could be issued without court review, under provisions that seemed to bar the recipient from discussing it with a lawyer.

Judge Marrero vehemently rejected that provision, saying that it was unique in American law in its “all-inclusive sweep” and had “no place in our open society.”

See also the Washington Post’s article, Key Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional, as well as their blog-like rundown of coverage elsewhere in Digitizing the Bill of Rights

Note: Joseph K. is the central figure in Franz Kafka’s The Trial.

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