[Support-team] warrant canaries controversy?

Jamie McClelland jm at mayfirst.org
Wed Nov 23 10:52:43 EST 2016


Hi all,

I think is public knowledge that the organization you are referring to
is Riseup.  And I don't think there is a need for conspiracy theories to
explain what they is doing.

The Canary is doing exactly what it is supposed do - letting us know
that Riseup has received a legal request that comes with some form of a
gag order. Riseup has decided that explaining the situation would put
them in legal jeopardy and by not updating their canary, they are able
to communicate that something is happening without the legal jeopardy.

In my experience, Riseup has always acted with incredible integrity and
commitment to their users and I have no doubt they are doing that now,
even if they can't tell us about it.

Mallory - I'm not sure what it would mean to have a gag order
stipulating against a warrent canary? I've never heard of a gag order
that stipulated that you had to update your canary with incorrect
information. In any event, Riseup is clearly not doing that!

May First/People Link's privacy policy states that it is our policy to
always notify a member if they are being investigated.

https://mayfirst.org/en/privacy-policy/

In our experience, we have received both "requests" that we don't notify
members that they are being investigated and formal gag orders
stipulating that by law you cannot notify the member.

We don't have a rigid policy - since in all cases we have to balance the
legal situation with the bigger political situation and try to make the
best decision possible. In the past, that has mean going *against* our
lawyer's advice (in the case of notifying members when we have recieved
a "request" not to).

We have also received a formal 6 month gag order (see the last entry
here: https://support.mayfirst.org/wiki/legal).

In the case of the Athens IMC, we decided to follow the gag order
because we had already notified them before the gag order was placed.
So, we never went down the path of contemplating breaking it. I wouldn't
advise you to use stackexchange for your legal advice, but this post was
interesting:
https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/2033/what-are-the-consequences-of-not-following-a-gag-order

jamie

On Wed Nov 23, Mallory Knodel wrote:
> James
> 
> Agree that having a backup plan to a warrant canary is good. But,
> they'll just catch on to that, too. I assume that the gag order they
> received stipulated against a warrant canary.
> 
> So whatever tactic is then widely adopted and understood by everyone
> will soon be included as a stipulation, too.
> 
> This is a cat mouse game.
> 
> And I find everyone's freak out over this the most worrying part,
> frankly. It certainly has the feds laughing.
> 
> -Mallory
> 
> On 23/11/16 08:26 AM, James Sheldon wrote:
> > There is apparently a controversy about a rather prominent
> > left-anarchist hosting service's warrant canary not being updated, and
> > although it seems like most of the people commenting it are merely
> > indulging in conspiracy theory and have no actual evidence backing up
> > any of their claims ... it makes me wonder what the implications of
> > this sort of thing would be for mayfirst and what we would do if we
> > were faced with a similar situation.  Hopefully we have a better plan
> > in place than just "tweet cryptic messages" and make people try to
> > read between the lines... which seems to be what that particular host
> > is doing.   Anyways, I was hoping that someone might be able to
> > contextualize what's going on, so that I am not relying on rather
> > unreliable social media to understand what this sort of situation
> > might mean.
> >
> > James
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> 
> -- 
> Mallory Knodel
> May First/People Link :: mayfirst.org
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