Google Inc. (GOOG), operator of the world's largest search engine, is challenging a demand by the U.S. government for private user information in a national security probe, according to a court filing.
It "appears" to be the first time a major communications company is pushing back after getting a so-called National Security Letter, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy group. The challenge comes three weeks after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that NSLs, which are issued without a warrant, are unconstitutional.
"The people who are in the best position to challenge the practice are people like Google," said EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman, who represented an unidentified service provider that won the March 14 ruling. "So far no one has really stood up for their users" among large Internet service providers.