EFF Effs With The FBI, Wants Your Help
Hugh D’Andrade of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says that in order to keep funding as a nonprofit, they have to be able to show that their work is "important and relevant." I don’t think he has to worry about that. I’ve said it before, after watching more than one EFF-spanking, you don’t eff with the EFF.
Warning: There’s a lot of acronyms in this article.
The most recent entity to learn (or is about to learn) this lesson is none other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which stared the down the business end of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
And so, the EFF, after making the FBI get its ass in the kitchen and make some pot pie, got a hold of some 1138 pages-worth of National Security Letters (NSL) issued from one room at the FBI headquarters, the soon to be notorious Room 4944.
This room is also known as the Communications Analysis Unit, reports Wired, and is where FBI Executive Assistant Director Larry Mefford, in charge of the counterterrorism division, likes to hang out, and it just so happens a lot of the NSLs have his name on them.
NSLs are basically letters granted under the controversial Patriot Act that allow national security agents to demand information and records from Internet service providers (ISPs), telephone companies, and even librarians about constituents.
American citizen constituents.
The EFF isn’t hoarding this information, though. The organization has posted them online and is asking for help from bloggers to investigate. The documents are downloadable with the searchable text from the EFF’s website.
"We’ve had over 8000 downloads so far," D’Andrade wrote yesterday, "and the blogosphere is starting to light up with feedback and analysis of the documents."