Unsealed court docs reveal fight against gag orders by tech companies

On Friday, court documents were unsealed that reveal a push against gag orders by Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, with the argument behind it being violation of the First Amendment. This comes after an increased push by the companies to reveal data about government requests.

The documents were filed with the 9th Circuit Court in California last month. On the tech companies' sides, the argument stands that National Security Letters — gag orders, essentially — violate First Amendment rights. The government disagrees.

According to the documents, the government has countered that these companies don't have a First Amendment right for sharing information they learn (in this case, data requests) because they're part of a government investigation that is being done in secret.

The companies aren't looking to divulge government data requests without any discernment — the filing specifies they aren't looking to mess up investigations. Instead, they want the right to release more detailed statistics about the national security letters they receive.

SOURCE: Washington Post