Concern As Reddit Kills 'Warrant Canary'

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 2:12 PM

Reddit may have received a user surveillance request from the US government - notifying users using an ingenious technique.

Concern As Reddit Kills 'Warrant Canary'

Reddit has deleted a so-called "warrant canary" from its website, suggesting that it's received a user surveillance request from the US government.

Websites are typically banned from revealing that they've been ordered to hand over user information, so some sites utilize a warrant canary to obtain round this.

They post a notice on their site saying they've not received a national security letter - then get it down if and when they do receive one.

This notifies users without breaking any laws.

The Reddit administrator who made the upgrade to the site, called 'spez', said: "I've been advised not to declare anything one way or the other. Even with the canaries, we're treading a fine line."

One user said: "Ok, I'll be honest. That sounds pretty scary."

Back in two thousand-fourteenth Twitter sued the US Justice Dept saying that gagging restrictions which stopped it from revealing information about government surveillance breach the First Amendment.

Companies cannot even reveal precisely how many requests for data they receive - having to categorise it into bands of 1.000.

National security letters have been a law enforcement tool since the one thousand nine hundred seventy, but their frequency expanded dramatically below the Patriot Act passed shortly after the September eleven attacks.

Several thousand of the national security letters are presently issued by the FBI every year.

At one point that no swelled to around 50.000 letters annually.

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