XMission's Company Journal

Gag Me with an Order

Sharp eyed monitors of our transparency page may have noticed XMission stepping back in time to log a U.S. Department of Justice warrant from February. This warrant carried a six-month gag order. When I received it, I respected the gag order and simply made a note in my personal calendar as to when I could inform the public of its existence.

I respect law enforcement’s need to keep investigations under cover. Where they cross the line is when they say I can never talk about it, ever. That is what happened in 2010 when the FBI and the NSA showed up to monitor a website on our network. They gave me an order that said I could never talk about it ever, with anyone, including my attorneys.

This in my unvarnished, I-am-not-a-lawyer, opinion violates my freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and also my right to counsel under the 6th Amendment. This is why, after the Edward Snowden revelations in 2012, I thought it was important to share my experience dealing with the NSA and the FBI. Since that time I have seen a number of other tech companies fight permanent gag orders, or just plain violate them.

Although law enforcement can request that I not speak of a warrant for a set period of time. They can’t tell me that I can never talk about it. The need of the public to know of the activities of law enforcement and the government is important to keep them in check. I will continue to make every effort to keep XMission’s interactions with law enforcement transparent and open to the public.


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