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Reddit’s Warrant Canary Just Died

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Cory Doctorow, writing at BoingBoing, talks about how Reddit’s “warrant canary” just died.

    In early 2015, Reddit published a transparency report that contained heading for National Security Requests, noting, “As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information.”

    Five hours ago, Reddit published its 2015 edition, which contains no mention of classified requests for user information.

    “Warrant canaries” are a response to the practice by governments of serving warrants on service providers that include gag orders forbidding the service from disclosing the warrant’s existence.

    The post Reddit’s Warrant Canary Just Died appeared first on
  2. Craig Ismaili

    @tgscraig Prestigious

    This is really fascinating. I just read the entire warrant canaries page on Wiki. I had never heard of this before
    Jason Tate likes this.
  3. demandtheimpossible

    Resident Anti-Capitalist

    Not completely surprised, but sad nonetheless. I love Reddit, but around the subreddits I frequent it is repeated to post as if the authorities are watching to begin with.
  4. clucky

    Trusted Supporter

    given all the hate communities that site gives a home to, really not that surprising
  5. beachdude

    I'm not brave Prestigious

    This was also the first time I'd heard of warrant canaries... the slow death of privacy in the information era is honestly pretty scary.
  6. demandtheimpossible

    Resident Anti-Capitalist

    Imagine living somewhere like Turkey or China, where social media is blocked in times of "crisis".
  7. crunchprank Prestigious

    Okay forgive my ignorance please :teethsmile: So a warrant canary is basically a way of saying that a site has not been issued a subpoena from a government organization? And if that is correct, what exactly is this specific article about reddit saying? That reddit's warrant canary is no longer, and that the government can issue subpoenas if it wanted to? And if that is the case, I wouldn't have thought a way existed in the first place to stop the government from issuing a subpoena for anything. Then again I think I'm just completely confused.
  8. JohnR831


    From my understanding, every year, reddit has put a statement in their transparency report stating that they have never received a certain type of surveillance request from the government. This year, that statement was removed. It is illegal for them to disclose if they have received that sort of request, but it is not illegal to disclose that they have not. Some entities have started putting "warrant canaries" in their transparency reports by default, then removing them should they receive a certain type of request. It's a way to inform their users that something happened without directly telling them. Pretty clever if you ask me.
    crunchprank and Jason Tate like this.
  9. crunchprank Prestigious

    I gotcha! That makes sense - especially the "illegal for them to disclose if they have received that sort of request, but it is not illegal to disclose that they have not". Thanks for the explanation.
    JohnR831 likes this.
  10. JohnR831


    Sure thing!
  11. Jamie Dagg

    Master of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

    So, is there any use speculating what exactly it would've been that caused the government to request information, or is it likely to be something so un-obvious in reddit's pages and pages of information that speculation would be useless?
  12. I don't think there's anyway to know for sure at all.
  13. Jamie Dagg

    Master of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

    Makes sense, felt kinda like that'd be the case as I typed it. Reddit is completely lost on me as a service. Saying that, I'm sure we'll see people trying to pay detective now that this has come to light.