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EFF Asks Supreme Court to Tackle Secret Law
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 09:15:55 -0500



Begin forwarded message:

From: EFF Press <press () eff org>
Date: November 14, 2006 3:02:29 AM EST
To: presslist () eff org
Subject: [E-B] EFF Asks Supreme Court to Tackle Secret Law
Reply-To: press () eff org

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Contact:

Marcia Hofmann
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   marcia () eff org
   +1 202-797-9009 x12

EFF Asks Supreme Court to Tackle Secret Law

Americans Have the Right to See Laws They Must Follow

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
and a coalition of non-profit organizations asked the U.S.
Supreme Court Monday to hear a case challenging a secret
law governing travelers in American airports.

The case centers on the Transportation Security Agency
(TSA) requirement that travelers show identification before
boarding commercial aircraft.  So far, the TSA has refused
to disclose the terms of the identification requirement to
the public, claiming that they are "sensitive security
information."  In the amicus brief urging the Supreme Court
to hear Gilmore v. Gonzales, EFF demonstrates that Congress
never intended agencies to have unfettered discretion to
impose requirements upon the public without allowing the
public to review them.

"The TSA is allowed to withhold some information from the
public, but only in cases where transportation security is
at risk," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann.  "Simply
showing Americans the rules they must follow can't possibly
compromise security.  The real danger here is meaningless
secrecy, which can hide security flaws, frustrate the
justice system, create confusion, and undermine government
accountability."

The Constitution and laws like the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) prohibit the government from imposing secret
laws on the public.  But if the lower court decision
permitting the secrecy is allowed to stand, it opens the
door to other government agencies creating undisclosed
rules and regulations without oversight.

"'Security' shouldn't be a magic password allowing the
government to escape accountability," said Hofmann.  "The
Supreme Court should hear this case and review why the TSA
insists on keeping this basic information secret."

The amicus brief was also signed by the American
Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association,
Association of Research Libraries, Center for Democracy and
Technology, National Security Archive, Project on
Government Secrecy of the Federation of American
Scientists, and Special Libraries Association.

For the full amicus brief:
http://eff.org/legal/cases/gilmore_v_gonzales/gilmore_amicus.pdf

For this release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_11.php#005000

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/


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