DOCKET

We work on novel cases at the intersection of technology and individual rights. Here are some highlights.

Government Access to Data

Under Seal v. Sessions (9th Circuit) Represented members of Congress weighing in on a constitutional challenge to national security letter authority. Our first amicus brief discussed the unique oversight difficulties presented by NSLs. After Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act, which put new checks on non-disclosure orders accompanying NSLs, we filed a second brief arguing that the FBI implemented those safeguards in a way that didn’t comply with the law and was unconstitutional. First amicus briefSecond amicus brief

Carpenter v. United States (Supreme Court) Represented the Data & Society Research Institute and social science scholars urging the Supreme Court to recognize that the use of cell phones is necessary in modern society and should not waive Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their movements that is not waived when a person carries or uses a cell phone. Amicus brief | Decision

In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone (Central District of California) This case involved the government’s attempt to force Apple to help access encrypted information on the iPhone of a gunman in the San Bernardino attack. We filed an amicus brief on behalf of Access Now and Wickr Foundation arguing that the legal demand violated international human rights law. Investigators eventually accessed the data without Apple’s assistance. Amicus brief

U.S. v. Lavabit (4th Circuit) On appeal, represented an email service provider challenging the government’s authority to seize an encryption key that would make it possible to decrypt communications data. Appellate briefDecision

In re Telephone Information Needed For a Criminal Investigation (Northern District of California) Wrote an amicus brief with Professor Susan Freiwald urging the court to require a warrant for the government to access cell phone location data from a telecom carrier. Amicus brief


ENFORCEMENT OF rights 

Spokeo v. Robins (Supreme Court) Represented the Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, and World Privacy Forum in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to protect the public’s ability to use private actions to pursue violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other consumer protection, civil liberties, and civil rights laws. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited our brief in her dissenting opinion. Amicus briefDecision


Computer Crime LAW

United States v. Hutchins (Eastern District of Wisconsin) Represented the UK malware researcher who stopped the WannaCry cyberattack when he was charged with violating U.S. computer crime law in his younger years. After pleading guilty to two counts, our client was sentenced to one year of supervised release in light of his valuable contributions to society. The court also suggested that he should seek a pardon.

United States v. Auernheimer (3rd Circuit) On appeal, represented a criminal defendant convicted of conspiracy to violate anti-hacking law after he revealed a security flaw in AT&T’s servers to journalists. We won the appeal on venue grounds, establishing an important constitutional precedent for people charged with computer crimes in the internet age. Appellate briefDecision

Facebook v. Power Ventures (9th Circuit) Asked an appeals court to reconsider a decision raising questions about the scope of federal anti-hacking law. The court amended the opinion to clarify its scope. Petition for rehearingAmended opinion


COpyright

Oracle v. Google (Federal Circuit) On behalf of Mozilla, urged the Federal Circuit to find that a software company’s use of another company’s API without permission does not violate copyright law. Amicus brief

Cisco Systems v. Arista Networks (Federal Circuit) Represented GitHub, Mozilla, Engine Advocacy and the Software Freedom Conservancy in a brief urging a federal appeals court to interpret copyright law in software cases to ensure that ideas and functionality remain free for others to use. Amicus brief


FREE EXPRESSION

Google v. Equustek Solutions (Northern District of California) In this case, a Canadian court ordered Google to remove truthful information from search results around the world. We represented the Wikimedia Foundation in a brief urging a U.S. court not to enforce the Canadian court order and protect freedom of expression as a global human right. The U.S. court ultimately refused to enforce the order. Amicus brief | Order

Twitter v. Sessions (Northern District of California) Represented a coalition of technology companies supporting Twitter’s effort to establish its constitutional right to publish more data about the number of national security demands it received for user information, if any. First amicus briefSecond amicus brief


Freedom of the Press Foundation v. Dep’t of Justice (Northern District of California) Co-counseled an open government case seeking records about Justice Department efforts to discourage congressional reforms that would make government records more accessible to the public. Documents obtained through this case became the foundation of a major story by Jason Leopold. ComplaintFPF blog post

Freedom of the Press Foundation v. Dep’t of Justice (Northern District of California) Co-counseled an open government case seeking FBI guidelines for using national security letters to get information about members of the press. Complaint