canary_coal_mineWe don’t have a problem with governments spying, they all do it, we know.  If they want to camp outside our offices with a camera and a long lens, they won’t see anything exciting, but at least they have the right to do it.

If they want to scan your Facebook pages for compromising photos, well, you’re an idiot for putting them up there for the world to see in the first place, but even that’s fine in our books.  Where the line is crossed is Section 215 of the Patriot Act where the government can go into a company, force them to compromise their system giving the NSA backdoor access to everything, even WITHOUT warrants for the information, which is a COMPLETE violation of the 4th Amendment. On top of that, the targeted company is prevented, under threat of going to prison, from alerting their customers that their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS are being violated.

This we have a problem with.  A VERY BIG problem.  And so should you.

They forced Lavabit, the anonymous email service that Snowden used, to shut down because Lavabit didn’t want to violate the Constitutional rights of its users.  Other companies like Google, Microsoft, and even Linus Torvald (LINUX), were approached to provide backdoor access to their systems.  Since these companies are prevented from letting us know exactly if and how they complied, a new approach is being implemented that companies can adopt to let us know if they’ve been compromised by the NSA.

It’s what they DON’T tell us that tells us everything we need to know.

Operating under the principal of the “Dead Man’s Switch”, perhaps what that switch was in the TV series LOST?, where you keep reporting something as not having occurred yet, but the minute you can no longer report it has NOT HAVING HAPPENED, then we must assume at that point that it has happened.

The Librarian Jessamyn West proposed such a solution with a sign on the wall of her library reading:

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After all, she reasoned, if the law prohibited her from telling people that the FBI had been in, that wasn’t the same as her not not telling people the FBI hadn’t been in, right?  This approach is called the “Warrant Canary” with regard to the NSA and its spying. Called so, as Canaries were taken into mines, and through their deaths, miners would be alerted to the existence of poisonous gases.

Until recently, only one company, Rsync, an offsite backup company, had implemented such a system, now Apple is the first major company to follow suit, and they’ve implemented the Warrant Canary in their transparency reports.

On page 5 of this most recent report you’ll find the Warrant Canary in the following statement:

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When that sentence disappears in subsequent reports, we will know that they have been ordered under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to violate our Constitutional rights.

Now, every company that has access to our personal information needs to implement such a system until such time as we can overturn this law, and/or throw these people in jail for implementing such a thing!

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