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Theodore Davis 2016-07-05
img

Silent Circle, the company best known for the secure Blackphone smartphone series, just removed its warrant canary — but the company says it was a business decision, and not because it has been served with a national security letter or warrant.

Most national security letters or surveillance warrants issued by the federal government come with a gag order that says the recipient cannot disclose the contents of the letter or its existence.

A warrant canary is a popular method of getting around that: A company posts a message alerting its users that it has not received any warrants from the government — but if the message is removed or has not been updated, that means user data has been compromised and the company has a gag order placed on it.

Warrant canaries have been a popular tool used by many companies ever since the National Security Agency leaks by Edward Snowden in 2013.

So naturally, when someone tipped off TechCrunch that Silent Circle quietly removed its warrant canary, it could be assumed that the company had received a national security letter or a warrant requesting user data from the government.

Nope, the company says it is a business decision.

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Keith Maldonado 2016-06-27
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Proxy.sh went on to say: "The warrant canary has been particularly designed to make sure we could still move without being legally able to answer questions in a more detailed manner.

Another site, VPNCompare.co.uk, which seems to have been the first to notice the withdrawal of the warrant canary, pointed out that despite Proxy.sh's warning, "The France 8 server coupled with their French servers in general continue to be some of the most utilised of their network."

The article was less than impressed with its overall policy on handing over user data and protecting user privacy—it quoted Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying it was the "single worst policy" he had seen.

Significantly, the policy now includes the following section: "We are based in the Republic of Seychelles and if any domestic law or constraint contradicts our mission and values, we will not hesitate to relocate into another location.

We will close business and provide refund to all our present customers within the cash budget we have at our disposal."

Earlier this year, Ars' sister publication Reddit also removed a "warrant canary" from its latest transparency report, in another sign of the growing use of such indirect signalling mechanisms—and of their necessity.

collect
0
Victor Schenck 2016-07-06
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Silent Circle has quietly euthanized its warrant canary for 'business reasons' leading privacy pundits to freak out over double negatives and double speak.

The much-loved privacy company offers the hardened BlackPhone geared to business folks who want to frustrate the surveillance state and criminals.

Like others, its warrant canary was designed to sing if Silent Circle was served with warrant for user data.

A sentence saying that no warrant has been received is removed when a warrant is served which prohibits the company from notifying users.

The company told TechCrunch the removal of the canary was a "business decision".

Silent Circle s general counsel Matt Neiderman said the company had "not received a warrant for user data and that the decision was "not related to any warrant for user data which we have not received .

collect
0
Jesse Rodriguez 2016-07-05
img

Silent Circle, the maker of secure messaging apps and a security hardened Android smartphone, called Blackphone, has discontinued its warrant canary.

Attempting to reach the page where it was previously hosted results in the following notification:

Warrant canaries became popular in the wake of the 2013 Snowden disclosures revealing the extent of government surveillance programs, as a tacit route to signify to users when a service might have been compromised by a government request for user data.

Canaries act as a workaround for U.S. gag orders which prevent companies publicly disclosing warrants for user requests by publishing an explicit statement that they have not received any warrants for user data to date — allowing for the reverse to be signaled if a canary is removed or not updated.

As part of our focus on delivering enterprise software platform we discontinued our warrant canary some time ago.

But his denial in the latest instance is arguably a little less explicitly worded.

collect
0
Jeff Smith 2016-07-06
img

The Silent Phone app from Silent Circle is encrypted end-to-end, so there's really no call for a canary.

News reports that Silent Circle, the commercial encrypted voice-over-IP service company that manufactures the security-focused Blackphone, had removed its "warrant canary" webpage have apparently created some confusion.

But the explanation for that decision, made more than a year ago with no fanfare, is actually very simple: Silent Circle's customers don't care.

In fact, the warrant warning might have been a liability with some of Silent Circle's core customers, who might be more likely to be serving a warrant than receiving one.

Many of Silent Circle s customers are in the government and corporate sector.

"Our customer base is generally not concerned with law enforcement," Vic Hyder, Silent Circle's chief strategy officer, explained to Ars.

collect
0
Carol England 2016-07-06
img

Warrant canaries are used by technology firms to warn users about potential government snooping

Silent Circle, the privacy-centric smartphone and app developer, has reportedly killed off its 'warrant canary', sparking concerns that users may now be at heightened risk of surveillance.

Warrant canaries are used by service providers and technology firms as a way of circumventing gag orders that come alongside government requests for customer information – often in the form of a National Security Letter NSL .

Pictured: Silent Circle's Blackphone 2

Typically, they work by the firm in question producing a clear dated statement that it has not received any requests for user information or alterations to its service.

If the message is not updated or disappears altogether it is a clear sign of trouble.

collect
0
Theodore Davis 2016-07-05
img

Silent Circle, the company best known for the secure Blackphone smartphone series, just removed its warrant canary — but the company says it was a business decision, and not because it has been served with a national security letter or warrant.

Most national security letters or surveillance warrants issued by the federal government come with a gag order that says the recipient cannot disclose the contents of the letter or its existence.

A warrant canary is a popular method of getting around that: A company posts a message alerting its users that it has not received any warrants from the government — but if the message is removed or has not been updated, that means user data has been compromised and the company has a gag order placed on it.

Warrant canaries have been a popular tool used by many companies ever since the National Security Agency leaks by Edward Snowden in 2013.

So naturally, when someone tipped off TechCrunch that Silent Circle quietly removed its warrant canary, it could be assumed that the company had received a national security letter or a warrant requesting user data from the government.

Nope, the company says it is a business decision.

Victor Schenck 2016-07-06
img

Silent Circle has quietly euthanized its warrant canary for 'business reasons' leading privacy pundits to freak out over double negatives and double speak.

The much-loved privacy company offers the hardened BlackPhone geared to business folks who want to frustrate the surveillance state and criminals.

Like others, its warrant canary was designed to sing if Silent Circle was served with warrant for user data.

A sentence saying that no warrant has been received is removed when a warrant is served which prohibits the company from notifying users.

The company told TechCrunch the removal of the canary was a "business decision".

Silent Circle s general counsel Matt Neiderman said the company had "not received a warrant for user data and that the decision was "not related to any warrant for user data which we have not received .

Jeff Smith 2016-07-06
img

The Silent Phone app from Silent Circle is encrypted end-to-end, so there's really no call for a canary.

News reports that Silent Circle, the commercial encrypted voice-over-IP service company that manufactures the security-focused Blackphone, had removed its "warrant canary" webpage have apparently created some confusion.

But the explanation for that decision, made more than a year ago with no fanfare, is actually very simple: Silent Circle's customers don't care.

In fact, the warrant warning might have been a liability with some of Silent Circle's core customers, who might be more likely to be serving a warrant than receiving one.

Many of Silent Circle s customers are in the government and corporate sector.

"Our customer base is generally not concerned with law enforcement," Vic Hyder, Silent Circle's chief strategy officer, explained to Ars.

Keith Maldonado 2016-06-27
img

Proxy.sh went on to say: "The warrant canary has been particularly designed to make sure we could still move without being legally able to answer questions in a more detailed manner.

Another site, VPNCompare.co.uk, which seems to have been the first to notice the withdrawal of the warrant canary, pointed out that despite Proxy.sh's warning, "The France 8 server coupled with their French servers in general continue to be some of the most utilised of their network."

The article was less than impressed with its overall policy on handing over user data and protecting user privacy—it quoted Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying it was the "single worst policy" he had seen.

Significantly, the policy now includes the following section: "We are based in the Republic of Seychelles and if any domestic law or constraint contradicts our mission and values, we will not hesitate to relocate into another location.

We will close business and provide refund to all our present customers within the cash budget we have at our disposal."

Earlier this year, Ars' sister publication Reddit also removed a "warrant canary" from its latest transparency report, in another sign of the growing use of such indirect signalling mechanisms—and of their necessity.

Jesse Rodriguez 2016-07-05
img

Silent Circle, the maker of secure messaging apps and a security hardened Android smartphone, called Blackphone, has discontinued its warrant canary.

Attempting to reach the page where it was previously hosted results in the following notification:

Warrant canaries became popular in the wake of the 2013 Snowden disclosures revealing the extent of government surveillance programs, as a tacit route to signify to users when a service might have been compromised by a government request for user data.

Canaries act as a workaround for U.S. gag orders which prevent companies publicly disclosing warrants for user requests by publishing an explicit statement that they have not received any warrants for user data to date — allowing for the reverse to be signaled if a canary is removed or not updated.

As part of our focus on delivering enterprise software platform we discontinued our warrant canary some time ago.

But his denial in the latest instance is arguably a little less explicitly worded.

Carol England 2016-07-06
img

Warrant canaries are used by technology firms to warn users about potential government snooping

Silent Circle, the privacy-centric smartphone and app developer, has reportedly killed off its 'warrant canary', sparking concerns that users may now be at heightened risk of surveillance.

Warrant canaries are used by service providers and technology firms as a way of circumventing gag orders that come alongside government requests for customer information – often in the form of a National Security Letter NSL .

Pictured: Silent Circle's Blackphone 2

Typically, they work by the firm in question producing a clear dated statement that it has not received any requests for user information or alterations to its service.

If the message is not updated or disappears altogether it is a clear sign of trouble.