DOJ Drops 9th Circ. Appeal In Patriot Act FOIA Dispute

The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday said the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal in a Freedom of Information Act dispute over a secret legal interpretation of a section of the Patriot Act, teeing up the release of an unpublished opinion on census data access by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

EFF said in a statement that the decision marks the end of a four-year battle and will force DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel to release guidance on access to census data under Section 215, the provision used by the National Security Agency to review millions of domestic phone records.

"The Justice Department has made a wise decision in dismissing the appeal," EFF attorney Mark Rumold said in a statement. "We filed this suit nearly four years ago to inform the public about the way the government was using Section 215. We're well overdue to have a fully informed, public debate about this provision of law, and hopefully the disclosure of this opinion will help move the public debate forward." Continue>>>