The Justice Department apparently tried to force Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to give it user information without a search warrant. That’s according to a secret lawsuit that was uncovered by CNET.

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Details On The Suit Against Google

CNET reporter Declan McCullagh reports that the suit was filed last month in Manhattan and that it wasn’t uncovered until today. The suit attempts to get a judge to force Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) hand over information about its users without the need for a search warrant. The lawsuit was filed April 22, and McCullagh reports that the Justice Department filed it because Google refused to comply with demands from the FBI to supply confidential user information.

The lawsuit reportedly took place last week under seal, although the judge has yet to make a final ruling in it.

The Use Of NSL Against Google Users

ValueWalk’s Aman Jain reported in March that the search giant released a report revealing that the FBI used the National Security Letters (NSL), which is a form of surveillance, to get information about Google’s users. The lawsuit filed in April stems from the FBI’s use of the controversial form of surveillance, which doesn’t require a judge’s approval, although it was declared unconstitutional in a separate case recently.

Many people disagree with the use of NSL because it’s against the law for recipients of the letters to tell anyone that they have received one. This type of surveillance is supposed to be reserved for national security investigations rather than standard criminal inquiries. Just one NSL is able to demand any volume of data officials deem necessary.

Google’s Battle For User Privacy

The lawsuit is just the latest chapter in Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s fight against the government over the privacy of its users. ValueWalk’s Anna Peel reported in January that Google said it planned to lobby Washington this year to fight back against officials’ plans to access the digital messages and emails of its users.