"The owner of an internet service provider who mounted a
high-profile court challenge to a secret FBI records demand has
finally been partially released from a 6-year-old gag order that
forced him to keep his role in the case a secret from even his
closest friends and family. He can now identify himself and discuss
the case, although he still can't reveal what information the FBI
"Nicholas Merrill, 37, was president of New York-based Calyx
Internet Access when he received a so-called "national security
letter" from the FBI in February 2004 demanding records of one of
his customers and filed a lawsuit to challenge it. His company was
a combination ISP and security consultancy business that was
launched in the mid-90s and had about 200 customers, Merrill said,
many of them advertising agencies and non-profit groups.
"Despite the fact that the FBI later dropped its demand for the
records, Merrill was prohibited from telling his fiancée,
friends or family members that he had received the letter or that
he was embroiled in a lawsuit challenging its legitimacy. He
occasionally showed up for court hearings about the case, but sat
silently in the audience with other court observers. In 2007, he
was prevented from publicly accepting an award for his courage from
the American Civil Liberties Union, because he was not allowed to
identify himself as the plaintiff in the case."
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.