TriggerFinger


Apple issues Warrant Canary


An interesting tactic.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the transparency report are the last two sentences: “Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.”

Apple’s statement is an implementation of the so-called “warrant canary.” Canaries are used to signal that, as of the date published, there have been no law enforcement requests of a particular type received. In Apple's case, the canary is limited to a signal that no secret Section 215 orders have been served on the company. If the canary is removed in the next transparency report, it is safe for users to assume that a Section 215 data request and the accompanying gag order has been issued. We appreciate Apple’s implementation in particular, including its six-month delay, because if its use is ever challenged in court, the ample time will allow a judge to coolly and calmly review the constitutionality of any government attempt to compel Apple to lie. We fear that if the first challenge to a warrant canary comes before a court in a more rushed context, a rushed judge could make bad law.


It's tragic that this sort of tactic has become necessary in our current police state.

This entry was published Tue Nov 12 08:03:15 CST 2013 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2013-11-12 08:03:15.0. [Tweet]

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