This is actually excellent news…

… but I don’t think for a second the court will get what it has asked for.

Late Friday, a judge in California ordered the DOJ to hand over key rulings from the FISA Court concerning the legality of the bulk records collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. As you probably know by now, Section 215 is the “business records” provision, that the government claims allows the NSA to collect phone and other records on all communications in the US (despite the fact that the law itself is limited to the FBI and is only supposed to be about records related to terrorism). The FISA Court, however, has broadly (mis)interpreted the law, but done so in secret, such that the NSA now believes it can get basically any phone record (and lots of other kinds of records as well). The EFF filed a lawsuit after its attempt to get access to the relevant FISA Court interpretations (five of ’em) was denied, and the judge is now ordering the DOJ to let them see the rulings in question, after a heavily redacted deposition wasn’t satisfying enough. The ruling is worth reading. The judge basically says that the DOJ has very little credibility on these things, having withheld info it should have released in the past.

Link (Techdirt)

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