Apple's Patriot-Act-detecting "warrant canary" dies

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Strange that this should come up, exactly as Apple is saying iOS8 makes it impossible for them to turn your iPhone or iPad data over to law enforcement, even in the presence of a warrant. Hmm.


Question is, can they “reset” the canary? I’m not sure what their original canary statement was exactly, or, if the statement “We received no 215 Requests in the previous quarter” skates closer to the line than “We’ve never received a 215 request”. It would be most instructive if the next statement they release contained such a line, as it would confirm that the canary did in fact die, and a new one was procured, rather than them simply abandoning the practice or judging it too risky.

And obviously it does no good to ask them about it.


Well of course not! Eric Holder would put Apple Computer in jail!

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“We have received no 215 requests since January 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm”


"This has not been tested in court yet. "

And if it is, it will be in a secret court and we will never hear about it. Or see Tim Cook again, because he’s “On an extended island vacation”.

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My guess is that the Justice Department or the FISA court threatened Apple with contempt or criminal charges for having the canary. Or perhaps Obama simply issues a NSL to every place he finds a canary to invalidate them immediately.


Ok, so the canary died. What now? It’s not like every iDevice user is going to stop using it.

“We received between -425 and +575 requests last quarter”

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I wonder how long a [ ___ ] days since the last 215 request style ticker would last before Holder lost his shit.

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Well, “since the last” says that there was a last one, which says you got one, which is a problem. “No 215 requests since X date” doesn’t say you ever actually had any.

I mean, I think Apple might be able to get away with it because they are as rich as God. I wouldn’t try it if you don’t have zillions of dollars and a huge public backing.


It seems “warrant canary” is a misunderstanding of the concept of the canary in a coal mine. The canary dies because there is enough poison gas to kill it but not enough to affect a human. The canary is an early-warning device. What is needed here is an analogy which indicates that something doesn’t happen. Better analogies are the deadman’s switch, which stops a piece of equipment if it isn’t pressed, or the watchman’s cry of “All’s well.”.

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We now know that the new no-police access encryption has been backdoored. That was the purpose of the canary. Well done Apple.


There is the obvious concerns about over-intrusive government shooting down canaries at every turn. But even more disheartening is that someday, maybe sooner than later, even coming here to read these stories and comment to them, will be gagged as well.

I like the image of a hair or thread stuck to the doorjamb or drawer with a little saliva. If it’s not there any more, you know it’s been opened in your absence.

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