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Judge Sides With Tech Companies

A magistrate has rejected the US Justice Department’s practice of seeking gag orders against technology companies, saying federal agents should have to give a specific reason why customers of tech companies shouldn’t be informed when government searches their data.

US magistrate judge James Orenstein denied 15 separate government applications for gag orders against service providers, saying they lacked enough information for him to judge whether the secrecy was warranted.

“The government cannot … obtain an order that constrains the freedom of service providers to disclose information to their customers without making a particularised showing of need,” he wrote.

“The boilerplate assertions set forth in the government’s applications do not make such a showing.”

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