Tech companies and civil liberties groups won a small victory on Monday in their struggle to shine light on the secret legal apparatus that gave rise to the government surveillance program known as PRISM.
The victory came in the form of a decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to publish legal proceedings from 2008 in which Yahoo challenged the federal government’s secret demands that it participate in an automated data collection service.
In a short ruling (embedded below), the FISA Court agreed to publish its 2008 decision and the legal briefs in the case once the federal government has declassified them. The ruling follows media leaks that disclosed that Yahoo had fought against the imposition of the PRISM program five years ago — but was bound by a gag order that forbade it from even mentioning the court challenge.
In the Monday ruling, the FISA Court instructs the government to provide a schedule by July 29th that describes how long it will take to declassify the 2008 opinion and files; this means the documents are unlikely to appear for several months.
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