Over a decade ago, Nick Merrill was approached by an FBI agent with a "national security letter" demanding information about his Internet company's users. Merrill was the owner of a small New York ISP, Calyx Internet Access, and national security letters were the once ubiquitous administrative subpoenas compelling disclosure of user records. NSLs, like the one Merrill received, are issued without judicial oversight and almost always contain gag orders, prohibiting the recipient from even acknowledging that a NSL has been received.
Now, after 11 years with his lips involuntarily sealed, Merrill has finally gotten his NSL gag order lifted. So what was the FBI looking for, anyway?