Last week, previously confidential documents from the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FCIS) about government demands in 2007-8 for Yahoo user data were released by the federal government. Now, the documents—1,500 pages of behemoth pdf files, some of them heavily or completely redacted—are available online.

They offer insight into the legal maneuvers the US government has used to argue against any challenges to its right to surveil. In an ex parte brief filed to the FCIS, the government wrote that Yahoo wasn’t allowed to argue for the Fourth Amendment rights of its users (on page 53 of this pdf document):

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II. Yahoo may not challenge the directives on the basis that they violate the Fourth Amendment Rights of Third Parties

This Court may also affirm the FISC Order on the ground that Yahoo may not vicariously invoke the constitutional rights of third parties not before the Court, i.e., US persons…

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