A judge in San Francisco ruled May 20 that Google must hand over customer data to federal investigators, even without a warrant. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ordered Google to comply with FBI demands, rejecting Google's argument that it was unconstitutional for feds to simply say it was in the interest of national security to seize personal records.
The ruling, which was written May 20, was made public Friday, May 31.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now expected to take up the controversy, but the federal judge said that until the appellate court rules on the matter, Google must comply with FBI requests to collect unlimited amounts of private information, including financial and phone records.
Google's data includes search histories and its Gmail platform, used by millions of Americans.
The Associated Press reports that the FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 individuals in 2011.