Warrant canaries work like this: a company publishes a notice saying that a warrant has not been served as of a particular date. Should that notice be taken down, users are to surmise that the company has indeed been served with one. The theory is that while a court can compel someone to not speak (a gag order), it cannot compel someone to lie. The only problem is that warrant canaries have yet to be fully tested in court. “If it’s really committed to challenging the gag order, it has a ton of resources to apply, and they’re a good bet,” Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote to Ars on Twitter. “Challenging the 215 gag is as much [a function] of resources and commitment as it is a tidy legal . If they succeed, I’ll buy a Mac!” (via Apple takes strong privacy stance in new report, publishes rare “warrant canary” | Ars Technica)
Now this warrant canary thing is very interesting. We need an app for that, right?