EFF fighting secret laws

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EFF: Breaking News
EFF Asks Supreme Court to Tackle Secret Law

Americans Have the Right to See Laws They Must Follow

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF and a coalition of non-profit organizations asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to hear a case challenging a secret law governing travelers in American airports.

The case centers on the Transportation Security Agency TSA requirement that travelers show identification before boarding commercial aircraft. So far, the TSA has refused to disclose the terms of the identification requirement to the public, claiming that they are "sensitive security information." In the amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear Gilmore v. Gonzales, EFF demonstrates that Congress never intended agencies to have unfettered discretion to impose requirements upon the public without allowing the public to review them.

"The TSA is allowed to withhold some information from the public, but only in cases where transportation security is at risk," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Simply showing Americans the rules they must follow cant possibly compromise security. The real danger here is meaningless secrecy, which can hide security flaws, frustrate the justice system, create confusion, and undermine government accountability."

The Constitution and laws like the Freedom of Information Act FOIA prohibit the government from imposing secret laws on the public. But if the lower court decision permitting the secrecy is allowed to stand, it opens the door to other government agencies creating undisclosed rules and regulations without oversight.

It's good that someone is asking these questions, it's bad that they have to. A law that is not known, in this country, can not be a law.