Are “warrant canaries” legal? Twitter wants to save tech’s warning signal of government spying

Gigaom

Tech companies from Apple to Tumblr, faced with a growing number of secret orders from the government, have resorted to a clever legal tactic known as a warrant canary: the “canary,” popularized by libraries in the wake of the Patriot Act, is a sign that tells the public that an organization is not being investigated by the FBI. If the canary disappears, well, you can assume the worst:

FBI has not been here

Now, the federal government is trying to snuff out the use of canaries altogether, telling Twitter that it is forbidden from using “zero” when it reports on security demands in its Transparency Reports, the semi-annual documents used by [company]Twitter[/company] and other tech companies to report on FBI and NSA demands.

Warrant canaries are legal — Twitter

The fact this there is a fight over “zero” and warrant canaries is revealed through a close reading of the lawsuit that Twitter filed against the Justice Department this week. The lawsuit…

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