The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


"Tech firms tussle with DOJ over the right to say 'zero'"


An interesting article by Ellen Nakashima in yesterday's Post. An excerpt:

A growing number of technology companies seeking to promote transparency have been testing the limits of new government guidelines on how they can disclose national security orders for their customers' data.

Over the past year or so, about a dozen online and communications firms have reported that they have never received such a request, effectively breaching the spirit if not the letter of government guidance issued in January intended to make it more difficult for would-be terrorists or spies to identify services that could be used to evade detection. Their decisions have frustrated U.S. officials, even as they privately acknowledge there is little they have been able to do about it.

The right to report zero is part of a broader tussle between the private sector and the government over transparency and the proper boundary between free speech and national security…