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Warrant Canary Swarm

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(+6)
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Single warrant canary looks like this:

As of January 29, 2015, Halfbakery has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed.

This should be turned into swarm of very specific canaries:

As of ... never received a National Security Letter.. for user ixnaum.....we would seek to let the public know it existed.

As of ... never received a National Security Letter.. for user username2....we would seek to let the public know it existed.

As of ... never received a National Security Letter.. for user username3....we would seek to let the public know it existed.

As of ... never received a National Security Letter.. for user username4....we would seek to let the public know it existed.

and so on for every single user. If a user is missing it means that that specific user was affected. If all are missing, then there is trouble.

ixnaum, Mar 31 2016

Warrant canary Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Warrant_canary
In case anyone is unfamiliar with the concept [notexactly, Apr 01 2016]

Some discussion about similar ideas in a recent ACLU/Calyx AMA https://np.reddit.c...ll_of_calyx/d1ppm59
"fat canary" [notexactly, Apr 07 2016]

[link]






       A quick scan of the page misread as " Walnut Canary Swarm " and I just had to look...
normzone, Mar 31 2016
  

       Because the warrants come with a gag order. When halfbakery receives such a letter they are prohibited to divulge the fact.   

       However a gag order can not compel you to lie. That's where warrant canaries came from.
ixnaum, Apr 01 2016
  

       Before I saw this I posted the following idea. So I deleted my version but I'll leave it here for posterity. Kiss my donkey, posterity.   

       This website would have a list of as many names as possible. It would claim, beside each name, that the person in question is under special surveillance. Since it's illegal to inform people who are under surveillance that they are under surveillance the government can be expected to send the site notification that it's no longer allowed to inform those individuals. At this point the warning they are under surveillance should be removed only in those cases. At this point you'll have a list of everyone who is not under special surveillance, and therefore of everyone who is.
Voice, Apr 01 2016
  

       I had an orthogonal idea recently: to do this for specific dates or date ranges instead of individual users.   

       It could be combined easily with this idea. You'd better avoid using the obvious matrix arrangement with users on one axis and dates on the other, though, because that makes it obvious which ones are missing, and probably easier for the government to argue that the omissions are 'speech'.   

       Users can then make and share their own tools to convert the flat list that doesn't make omissions obvious into the matrix that does, so that they're the ones interpreting the presence or absence of each canary into information either way ("no NSL received for this combo of username and date" or "NSL received for this combo of username and date").
notexactly, Apr 01 2016
  

       //warrants come with a gag order// How very quaint! Just like the old East Germany!   

       //When halfbakery receives such a letter// This would imply that the Halfbakery has indeed received such a letter.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 02 2016
  

       //tools to convert the flat list that doesn't make omissions obvious into the matrix that does//   

       So ... this wouldn't change the legal position, but only the law-enforcement task. Basically, you'd be leaking embargoed information in an encrypted form. You might be less likely to get caught, but you'd look guiltier when you *were* caught.
pertinax, Apr 03 2016
  

       If omission is considered speech. How about this:   

       API where you can query your user name. The API will respond with one of the following:   

       "Warrant received", "No record of warrant" or "we can neither confirm nor deny.
ixnaum, Apr 04 2016
  

       If you have nothing to hide in the first place, you're simply not trying hard enough.
AusCan531, Apr 04 2016
  
      
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