Reddit deletes surveillance "warrant canary" in transparency report
Social networking forum reddit on Thursday removed a section from its site used to tacitly inform users it had never received a certain type of U.S. government surveillance request, suggesting the platform is now being asked to hand over customer data under a secretive law enforcement authority, according to Reuters.
Reddit deleted a paragraph found in its transparency report known as a “warrant canary” to signal to users that it had not been subject to so-called national security letters, which are used by the FBI to conduct electronic surveillance without the need for court approval, Reuters reports.
The scrubbing of the "canary", which stated reddit had never received a national security letter "or any other classified request for user information," comes as several tech companies are pushing the Obama administration to allow for fuller disclosures of the kind and amount of government requests for user information they receive.
National security letters are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data, making it difficult for firms to openly discuss how they handle the subpoenas. That has led many companies to rely on somewhat vague canary warnings.
Read alsoU.S. succeeds in cracking Apple's iPhone, drops legal action"I've been advised not to say anything one way or the other," a reddit administrator named "spez," who made the update, said in a thread discussing the change. “Even with the canaries, we're treading a fine line.”
Reddit did not respond to a request for comment. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.