Indefinite Yahoo Gag Struck Down by Judge

Reuters reports that yesterday U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal ruled against a gag order issued against Yahoo, that would have potentially prevented them from ever revealing they had been subjected to a particular grand jury subpoena. The order in question rather than seeking to compel Yahoo's silence on the matter of the subpoena for a set period of time, subject to potential renewal, sought instead to compel Yahoo's silence until ordered otherwise by the court.

The difference between the two conditions, a time period subject to potential renewal out to infinity, and the indefinite restriction is that the later defaults to being a constraint that extends out to infinity. In this particular case Magistrate Grewal ruled that this particular potentially infinite restriction happened to violate the right to freedom of speech issued to Yahoo Inc. In other situations, and in front of other magistrates other rulings may be possible, and Yahoo's right to free speech does not include disclosing this subpoena so long as the gag orders are requested of finitely measured amounts of time.

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