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