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dmuth's picture
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At this time, no search or seizure of any website-related equipment or data has happened, nor have any search warrants or subpoenas been served against this website, or its operator (me).

 

(Watch closely in case this notice is ever removed.)

 

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrant_canary

The credit for this idea goes to rsync.net, which has their own Warrant Canary at http://www.rsync.net/resources/notices/canary.txt

 

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chips's picture
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Good idea...

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LexoTime5's picture
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That's pretty ingenious, but what do you suggest we do if the the message disappears?

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dmuth's picture
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Ask lots of questions.

 

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carla's picture
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrant_canary

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Impressed to read pubic libraries were the first to implement the warrant canary.

My impression is that only the Feds have the ability to issue warrants/subpoenas that can require the recipients not to reveal they have been served (which is unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, but no surprises there) via the Patriot Act.

State government agents are not covered by the Patriot Act, and if any government agents were to come snooping around SAC, I would expect it to be at the county level with the D.A., and Doug should be able to reveal that in a blog post, but the warrant canary is a good thing to have. You just can’t trust the government (government libraries don’t) to respect our rights that they swear to uphold and it amazes me how some people think the government is the answer to all our problems.

Here’s yet another example of government Destroying Our Privacy Rights.

Posted on Apr. 14, 2010
Yahoo, Feds Battle Over E-Mail Privacy
By David Kravets
Wired

(click green above for full article)

If the courts adopt the government’s position, the vast majority of Americans’ e-mail would be accessible to the government without probable cause, whenever law enforcement believes the messages would be relevant to a criminal investigation, even if the e-mail’s owner is not suspected of wrongdoing.

Think of an email as no different than a letter you receive in the mail from a friend via the postal service.

What the government in essence is saying is that after you receive a letter you receive in your mailbox (and whether you open and read the letter or not) from a friend or financial planner or whomever, they have the right to sneak in into your house and read those letters without probable cause of a crime or the need for a search warrant. That’s what they are arguing for emails, and I can‘t think of anything more draconian, oppressive and absolute contradiction and violation of the Constitution.

And some wonder why I so strongly value protecting all of our constitutional rights while the government (whether Bush or Obama is in charge) uses the Constitution as toilet paper.

Welcome to 1984, the former Soviet Union and its KGB, and the former East German Stasi all rolled up in one. It may not affect most Americans right now, but it is too easy for these erosions of our rights to allow our government to slowly but surely devolve in a totalitarian police state.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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dmuth's picture
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Just realized that I didn't have any mentions of subpoenas on the Warrant Canary. They're on now.


 

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politeia's picture
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Are you saying SAC has been served with a subpoena?

EDIT: Just realized what you were saying. You added the word "subpoena" along with warrants to cover the bases.

 

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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dmuth's picture
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EDIT: Just realized what you were saying. You added the word "subpoena" along with warrants to cover the bases.

Correct. It was an oversight on my part when I first created the page.

If there's any other kind of legal paperwork or motion that I should include in the canary, somebody let me know!

 

 

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politeia's picture
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If you really want to cover all bases, you may want to say:

At this time, no search or seizure of any website-related equipment or data has happened, nor have any search warrants, subpoenas, decrees, mandates, commands, summons, demands, or any written orders been served against this website, or its operator (me).

Now, if you receive any of the above via a provision in the “Patriot” Act, you will not be able to disclose you have been served under penalty of law (and a federal agent can write his/her own warrant under certain provisions of the “Patriot” Act without going before a judge), and that is the point of the Warrant Canary.

In the alternative, if it is a criminal investigation of a blogger that does not involve unconstitutional provisions of the “Patriot” Act, SAC will probably be asked to cooperate in the criminal investigation and not tip-off the suspect, and that would be at SAC’s discretion, but I would still consider using the Warrant Canary in that instance as you are not tipping of any one blogger specifically.

Remember, law enforcement has the legal right to lie to anyone in a criminal investigation to get what they want. If citizens lie, they get charged with obstructing and other crimes, which to me is beyond hypocritical.

Thus, just because law enforcement states they need this info because the person is a mass murder and to keep it on the hush-hush, for all anyone knows it is a witch hunt against a law-abiding political activist.

Thus, it is imperative to see the actual subpoena signed by a judge and sworn under oath by the law enforcement officer documenting the facts as to the probable cause to demand the information sought.

In light of a truly legit subpoena signed about a rapist or murderer, SAC may well want to use discretion and keep it quiet until an arrest is made. The tricky part is that cops are known to lie all the time under oath on subpoenas to get what they want, so it will have to go to judgment.

I’d also suggest a policy for civil situations were someone may want to sue an anonymous SAC blogger.

It’s a similar policy that all the big blogs have.

If a subpoena is served for the IP of an anonymous blogger in a civil case, SAC should notify the blogger that a subpoena has bee served on SAC to divulge that IP address, and it is suggested the blogger get a lawyer and seek to quash the subpoena as a John Doe.

The policy would be that SAC would not automatically divulge IP addresses on a civil subpoena, but will make a reasonable effort to contact the anonymous blogger and let the anonymous blogger handle it.

This takes the burden off SAC and shifts the legal costs to the anonymous blogger.

And, not to frighten anyone.

Everyone sees how I blog and what I say, and I have not been served with anything - and everybody knows who I am and where I live.

As long as you are dealing with public figures or public entities, and as long as you don’t make threats of violence, the First Amendment still provides you with very strong protections.

I am careful about how I word things, but I make a lot of very serious accusations. However, they are backed by facts or other individuals who will corroborate, so government does not have a leg to stand on and would only make things worse by coming after me without cause, and they know very well not to try it.

I would counter-sue and they would get terrible publicity, and since discovery is broad in scope, I can dig into all sorts of things about government in my counter-suit.

Also realize you are covered for defamation (libel or slander) in your homeowners policy and they will hire a lawyer to defend you.

Thus, your average blogger has absolutely nothing to worry about.

And remember, your opinion on the documented actions of public figures/government agents is fully protected free speech.

I believe Liz Rogan is a disgrace, an idiot, an arrogant fool, an incompetent and an asshat for stating that she is a “teacher” to “kids” when dealing with citizens who disagree with her.

Also, some bogus demands like that idiotic letter from the lawyer of Lisa Paolino not to blog about her don't require the Warrant Canary. Just blog about it like Doug did and post the letter and make Lisa look like the fool that she was as a Radnor commissioner.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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One problem with covering all bases in one warrant canary statement is that you reduce the granularity of the information. The warrant canary is only an off/on flag.   If any one of those things occurs the flag goes up, but we don't know which thing happened. As long as that's acceptable then it's a really neat idea.

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politeia's picture
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The main purpose of the Warrant Canary is to notify the community that a legal request (of any kind) for private information has been made of a library, blog, business etc. under provisions of the “Patriot” Act where the person/entity served with the subpoena or whatever legal document can’t divulge they were served under penalty of criminal law.

This is one of many aspects of the “Patriot” Act that is unconstitutional - and this one in reference to free speech.

It is saying that a person served with a legal document from the government can’t divulge that information and complain about it and/or defend one’s self or the blog.

This is an abhorrent violation of free speech rights.

The Warrant Canary is a work around, and I’d want it set off for any type of “Patriot” Act request - summons, subpoena, warrant, whatever.

Now, for legal requests that don’t fall under the “Patriot” Act, Doug can use his discretion.

If he feels it is a legit subpoena (signed by a judge and with the probable cause signed under oath by the cop) for, say, a murderer, Doug may want to abide by the subpoena and not tip-off the suspect. If it looks fishy, perhaps not. No need for the Warrant Canary. Doug can keep the subpoena on the QT, blog about it, or whatever based on his discretion.

For civil cases, there is nothing preventing Doug or SAC from revealing info based on a subpoena, but I suggested a policy above where the subpoena is sent to the blogger in question (without telling the government who it is) and let the blogger handle it as a John Doe if the blogger wants to try and get the subpoena quashed, and if the blogger ignores it, then the IP address would be handed over based on a legit subpoena. No Warrant Canary needed.

If it is a bogus legal demand by some lawyer for a politician threatening to sue for blogging about that politician under free speech rights like with Lisa Paolino, post the letter and rip it apart on the blogs. No Warrant Canary needed.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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For civil cases, there is nothing preventing Doug or SAC from revealing info based on a subpoena, but I suggested a policy above where the subpoena is sent to the blogger in question (without telling the government who it is) and let the blogger handle it as a John Doe if the blogger wants to try and get the subpoena quashed, and if the blogger ignores it, then the IP address would be handed over based on a legit subpoena. No Warrant Canary needed.

Interesting reading, does that mean that SAC is supoena'd as a result of some blogging ?? I am confused what exactly is going on here ??

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As an example, say a SAC blogger calls a private citizen a child molester on these blogs as an anonymous blogger.

That is most certainly grounds for the private citizen publicly called a child molester by an anonymous blogger to sue for defamation/libel in civil court - assuming the private citizen is not a child molester.

However, the defamed private citizen can only find out who that anonymous blogger is by issuing SAC with a subpoena to turn over the IP address of the blogger, and then the lawyer for the defamed person sends a subpoena to the ISP for the name of the IP address holder.

Rather than putting SAC in the hot seat for turning over IP addresses in a situation like this (or in turn having to spend money on legal fees to get the subpoena quashed if SAC thinks it is bogus because not all subpoenas are cut and dry), SAC should have a policy that any anonymous blogger served with a subpoena through SAC is notified of the subpoena and basically told to deal with it.

The anonymous blogger served with the subpoena via SAC would then be the one to have to pay for a lawyer, and may choose to seek to quash it or just hand over his/her identity and fight the lawsuit, counter-sue, etc. If the anonymous blogger does not have a lawyer notify SAC and the party that is suing the anonymous blogger that they will handle it going forward, SAC would then be obligated to hand over the IP address. This protects SAC in situations where a subpoena may not be legally valid.

Needless to say, none of this is much of a concern because SAC has never been served with anything in all the years of all the stuff that gets posted here. SAC bloggers don't cross the line, and free speech rights against the government and public figures are very strong.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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(Unclear whether you are replying to me, Politeia)

The main purpose of the Warrant Canary is to notify the community that a legal request (of any kind) for private information has been made of a library, blog, business etc. under provisions of the “Patriot” Act where the person/entity served with the subpoena or whatever legal document can’t divulge they were served under penalty of criminal law.

My concern is that by heaping too much into the warrant canary trigger, if it ever becomes activated we will never know which thing happened.  What if, for example, Doug receives a relatively innocuous court summons that has nothing to do with any of the bloggers here? If he then correspondingly activates the warant canary (or de-activates it, depending on how you look at it) then we may all assume something much more serious.

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Like I said, the Warrant Canary is only in relation to the "Patriot" Act. I can't imagine Doug getting "a relatively innocuous court summons" from the feds that told him he can't disclose receiving it or he will face criminal penalties.

If you get something under the provisions of the "Patriot" Act it means the feds are violating your rights by saying you can't speak about it, and I'd like to know about that - even if it is somehow innocuous.

In reality, the "Patriot" Act gives the feds the unconstitutional authority in relation to the Fourth Amendment to intercept just about any communications via what's known as "sneak and peek" without the approval of a judge, so they should not have any problem figuring out where a blogger on the SAC blogs is blogging from without getting Doug involved so it is probably a moot point.

Welcome to 1984 27 years after-the-fact.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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I don't think you're getting my question. And/or we're talking past each other. I agree with how you are describing what the Warrant Canary's intended purpose is.  My intent is to point out that your suggested wording:

At this time, no search or seizure of any website-related equipment or data has happened, nor have any search warrants, subpoenas, decrees, mandates, commands, summons, demands, or any written orders been served against this website, or its operator (me).

...no longer relates to that intended purpose with any meaningful specificity.  It's now way too broad and many more things can trigger it.

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politeia's picture
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And my point is that if any one of those "triggers" is used under provisions of the "Patriot" Act I'd want to know through the Warrant Canary as it would 1) mean an unconstitutional act occurred, and 2) any use of the "Patriot" Act in reference to the SAC blogs would be a big deal - whether it is a summons or a subpoena or a warrant or whatever.

If Doug can't talk about receiving a summons or a warrant or a subpoena or whatever based on activity on the SAC blogs via a "Patriot" Act provision, I want to know via the Warrant Canary.

What is the difference if the Canary alerts us based on a summons, or an order or a subpoena?

The point is the government has come snooping for something it thinks is very critical because the feds are involved and they have instituted the "Patriot" Act.

How would you suggest making it more specific? If the Canary only says "subpoena", but Doug gets a “summons” under the "Patriot" Act that he can't talk about even if he wants to, then we don't get notified because it is not a "subpoena"?

For that reason, more is better in my view, unless I am missing something here.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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If Doug gets a summons for a parking ticket do you want the Warrant Canary to go off? What would that tell you?

For starters you could add the phrase "under provision of the PATRIOT act" or something like that, and "as relates to blogging on SAC," if that's what you're interested in.

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politeia's picture
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If you feel that needs to be added, fine.

The point I have been making all along is that the Warrant Canary should only be used for "Patriot" Act reasons because that is what it is for. I could care less if it is a summons or warrant or whatever under the "Patriot” Act.

I clearly explained what should happen in situations that did not involve the "Patriot" Act, but apparently I did not explain that well enough.

If Doug wants to blog about getting a summons for a parking ticket, so be it. That's what I suggested in my above posts for issues not involving the "Patriot" Act.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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I clearly explained what should happen in situations that did not involve the "Patriot" Act, but apparently I did not explain that well enough.

I got it all three or four times you said it. I've explained a bunch of times that I'm in agreement with you and suggesting ways that you can alter your wording to actually get what you want to receive out of the warrant canary.  As it stands, you will not. Sorry I cannot make it more clear than that.

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Ok I understand, I guess in this digital age now privacy/blogging lawsuits must be on the rise ... However let's say they hand over an IP adress , it still seems very complicated to pinpoint

a physical location : for example if you have a blackout and you restart all your devices you get a complete new IP adress, there is also software out there which "spoofs" the IP adress..

so this sounds not so easy to get the right person ??

 

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Nope. You are always tied to one physical IP address, and thus your location, through your ISP.

One way to cover your activities is to drive around and look for an unsecured wireless router in someone’s home and use it from the street, but that would mean you are most likely up to no good - though I have heard of people who can’t afford internet access doing that with their laptops in the past for non-nefarious reasons, but now so many coffee houses and the like have free internet access that there is no need for that.

And for somebody who is thinking of causing trouble, if you are in a Borders using their free WiFi there will also be cameras on you and they can pinpoint the time and check the cameras.

I remember a couple years back a police chief in Delco got fired for sending anonymous and threatening emails from Kinko’s on the computers you can use there at a per minute charge.

He did not think that there was a security camera eyeing him and that’s how he got busted.

Best way to protect your privacy at home and hide your IP address is a good proxy server.

I recommend Ultrasurf, which is free. The Chinese government tried for years to track down freedom loving dissidents using Ultrasurf and they could not crack into the proxy server.

I am also told you can also download Ultrasurf onto your work computer (download it from home on your home computer and put it on a USB flash drive to use on your work computer) and it will tunnel through work firewalls that prevent you from accessing certain websites and your employer will not be able to tell what you are doing, but don‘t quote me on that. Employers may be able to bypass Ultrasurf on their own network and/or be able to tell if you are using it.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Just to be clear, other than the occasional cart00ney legal threat (which usually get posted on the site for amusement value), I have not received any warrants, summons, sopoenas, etc. from LE or a court or anything like that for this site.  (or any other site I run, come to think of it)

 

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An IP address will show that you are on a network but your MAC address shows where you are on the network.  This unique number is tied to your computer's network card and will most likely ID you better than just an IP address.  To the best of my knowledge you can't change it, but you can spoof it.  The rule of thumb is, if they really, really want to find you, they most likely can.

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MAC addresses can be changed (they're set in software), and more importantly, they're on Layer 2 of the OSI Reference Model.  What this means is that they are not passed out of the local LAN (i.e. elsewhere on the Internet).  The furthest they will make it is to a router, where they will be replaced with the MAC Address of the router.

The cases where you've read about with them being traced are usually where Microsoft embeds them in Word documents as meta data.  That's somewhat creepy, and another reason for me to avoid Microsoft products. (NeoOffice is free, as is Google Docs)

 

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Wow..thanks for the great info (I guess Ultrasurf is the way to go..) , however so I guess inprivate browsing is not an option..Also Doug , coming back to your technical explanation..In the end it's not the laptops MAC adress but more the routers adress which is most important here ??

And also, if MS Office is using this kind of creepy software isn't that a violation of privacy ??  (I am thinking about ACLU ..) The google doc's and openoffice.org are fine but I do not find any PPP doc's  ??

 

 

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