A federal judge has ordered Google Inc. to comply with FBI warrantless demands for customer data.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston on Tuesday rejected Google's argument that the so-called National Security Letters the company received from the FBI were unconstitutional and unnecessary. Illston ordered Google to comply with the secret demands even though she found the letters unconstitutional in March in a separate case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
She acknowledged as much in her four-page order in the Google case made on May 20 and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.
Illston put the Google ruling on hold until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could decide the matter. Until then, she said the Mountain View, Calif.-based company would have to comply with the letters unless it showed the FBI didn't follow proper procedures in making its demands for customer data in the 19 letters Google is challenging.
After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, Illston said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.
Google could appeal Illston's decision. The company declined comment Friday.