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Judge to Consider This Week Whether to Unseal Vast Surveillance Records

"The Apple-FBI fight over encryption was a rare event. Most of the time, the public never has a clue when authorities come knocking and ask a company for “technical assistance” to help get access to digital communications. That makes the true scale of U.S. government surveillance hard to assess—even if we can glean that it’s pervasive nowadays. And probably equally as important, it doesn’t really allow the public to tell just how difficult it is for prosecutors to convince a judge that communications should be turned over.

That information black hole is what motivated the lawsuit filed by ACLU attorney Jennifer Granick and Stanford Law cryptography expert Riana Pfefferkorn. They want to unseal cases in the Northern District of California—where Apple, Google, and other giants of Silicon Valley are headquartered—in which technical assistance was sought by authorities between 2006 and 2011."