Warrant Canaries

Michael DeMan nanog at deman.com
Sun Dec 5 06:20:00 CST 2010

On Dec 4, 2010, at 9:06 PM, Jay Ashworth wrote:

> ---- Original Message -----
>> From: "Adrian Chadd" <adrian at creative.net.au>
>> On Sat, Dec 04, 2010, Ken Chase wrote:
>>> And if they come and ask the same but without a court order is a bit
>>> trickier and more confusing, and this list is a good place to track the
>>> frequency of and responce to that kind of request.
>> Except of course when you're "asked" not to share what has occured
>> with anyone. I hear that kind of thing happens today.
> It does.  Hence, the Warrant Canary:
> http://blog.kozubik.com/john_kozubik/2010/08/the-warrant-canary-in-2010-and-beyond.html
> Cheers,
> -- jra

Actually, my intuition is that warrant canaries are not a workable solution either.  I would presume that a violation of a 'secret' court order or national security letter where you are expressly ordered not to divulge the fact that you have received it could be violated either by any 'action' or 'inaction'.  So the 'inaction' of not updating the warrant canary would be a violation.

The interesting thing of course is that to avoid the 'inaction', and your regular process is to say update the warrant canary daily, you would be placed in the position where the government was asking you to lie to the public at large?

I have wondered about this for quite a while - has anybody on the list ever talked with an attorney with specific expertise in this area of law about this?  I am not expecting formal legal advice by any means, just curious if anybody has done any research on this topic and could share what they discovered.

- Mike

P.S. - Intent here is not to drag out the wikileaks thread, but rather start a new thread on the more general topic of legal/policies and warrant canaries, which although not a purely technical discussions seems more on-topic for the nanog list.  My apologies in advance if it is OT.

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