A search warrant shows that the FBI made Google release user data pertaining to Fox News reporter James Rosen.
Rosen was targeted by the FBI in connection to a government leak regarding North Korea’s response to United Nations nuclear sanctions.
As Mashable reported, the FBI first requested Rosen’s emails on May 28, 2010, under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The requested emails included those timestamped between June 10 and June 11 of 2009, and emails sent between Rosen and former State Department employee Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the man who supposedly leaked information to Rosen.
The FBI also asked Google not to notify Rosen of its invasion into his Gmail account.
According to the agency, searching Rosen’s emails allowed it to fill in gaps in communication between the two men.
This was not, however, the first time the FBI contacted Google regarding Rosen’s account. According to Mashable, on Oct. 2 of 2009, the FBI requested that Google preserve Rosen’s emails, even those the journalist chose to delete. The FBI later filed two more preservation orders.
This is not the only example of the FBI requesting account data from Google.
In its “Transparency Report,” Google says it releases “some data” that is requested by authorities 90 percent of the time. The report shows that the FBI requested data from between 2,000 and 2,999 users or accounts in 2010.
This is the highest number of requests per year recorded by Google in its online table.
Google says that if the FBI submits a National Security Letter, then it can access “‘the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records’ of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service.”
However, the FBI cannot “use NSLs to obtain anything else from Google, such as Gmail content, search queries, YouTube videos or user IP addresses.”