'Double speak' squawk users as Silent Circle kills warrant canary

Securo firm says it was a 'business decision', unrelated to warrants 'we didn't recieve'

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”.

Those lines did little to still the nerves of privacy folks.

Writes one: "Nice double negative there, Silent Circle. What does that even mean? They have not received any warrants, or they have not responded to a warrant they haven't received? Huh?"

And another: "'Not related to any warrant they have NOT received' - that doesn't rule out warrants they have received."

Similar confusion was triggered when Silent Circle updated its canary in March last year to add the important line that a warrant had not been received.

Either way, few appear to have checked the canary's pulse. Neiderman says it was killed "some time ago", but there is little to show when that occurred. The Archive.org records mark it as active on 4 March.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation shuttered its dedicated warrant canary site Canary Watch in May citing the size, diversity, and legal problems of warrant canaries.

The latter relates in part to whether a canary would be considered a breach of warrant disclosure, something which remains untested. ®


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