Declan McCullagh is not an ISP

Declan McCullagh, a journalist for CNET News.com, is being asked by the FBI to preserve his documents related to an interview he did with homeless hacker Adrian Lamo. He was informed in a letter by FBI Agent Howard Leadbetter II that Section 2703(f) of the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act requires him to "preserve records and other evidence in its possession pending the issuance of a court order or other process."

There is just one problem. Section 2703(f) refers to Internet Service Providers, not to journalists. Declan McCullagh is not an Internet Service Provider like AOL, Juno, or Earthlink. He is a journalist. So what exactly is going on? Not only is the FBI trying to maneuver beyond the scope of its already extended powers, but such an intrusion is also a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the situation is the request in the letter to not "disclose this request or its contents to anyone."

Share this