Court upholds nondisclosure rules and national security letters

A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld nondisclosure rules that allow the FBI to secretly issue surveillance orders for customer data to communications firms and companies such as Apple, reports Reuters.

On Monday a unanimous three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with a lower court ruling in finding that rules permitting the FBI to send national security letters under gag orders are appropriate and don’t violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's free speech protections. It’s uncertain how this will eventually affect Apple, which prohibits third parties from allowing its user data to be used for surveillance purposes.

Andrew Crocker, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told Reuters that no immediate decision whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court had been made, but called the ruling “disappointing.” The EFF is a non-profit organization that “defends digital privacy, free speech and innovation.”