"If the Court were to find instead that the Government has met its burden of showing a good reason for non-disclosure here, could Merrill ever overcome such a showing?" US District Judge Victor Marrero ruled (PDF). "Under the Government's reasoning, the Court sees only two such hypothetical circumstances in which Merrill could prevail: a world in which no threat of terrorism exists, or a world in which the FBI, acting on its own accord and its own time, decides to disclose the contents of the Attachment."In August, a federal judge lifted the gag order against Merrill. Following a 90-day period during which the Justice Department could have filed an appeal, the letter has finally been made public. The NSL (PDF) reveals that the FBI sought a number of different pieces of information with respect to one of Merrill's customers. This included their email accounts, IP and physical addresses, DSL account data, and website information. The federal authorities also sought radius log data, or cell site location information. According to The Intercept, the FBI no longer requests this type of information, but it would like to preserve its ability to do so going forward. A motion to require that the FBI obtain a warrant before requesting radius log data is currently being reviewed by several district courts.
“I feel vindicated today,” said Merrill, summarizing his thoughts regarding the disclosure of the letter. “But there’s a lot more work to be done.”The publication of Merrill's NSL follows on the heels of the Tor Project's allegations that the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to break the anonymizing service last year.