Is Reddit Under Secret Surveillance by the Government?

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Is Reddit Under Secret Surveillance by the Government?

Reddit

Something is going on at Reddit. What's happening exactly, we may never know.

At the end of their 2014 transparency report, Reddit wrote this: "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed."

However, that statement was missing from their 2015 transparency report that was posted on Thursday.

The statement from 2014 is known as a "warrant canary" and was used as a signal to Reddit users. As long as that "canary" appeared, it meant that Reddit wasn't under any type of secret surveillance. However, now that it's gone, it means things have changed.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman all but confirmed the speculation by refusing to talk about it.

Said a Reddit user: "That's the entire point of the canary, he isn't allowed to say anything about it, the fact it was removed means that a gag order has been issued. 100% final, no discussion."

Responded Huffman: "I've been advised not to say anything one way or the other."

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Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.

But reading it would involve work. The gov doesn't operate that way - they need to create a complicated program that watches for key words and phrases. Something like simply reading the forums would be very time consuming and labor intensive. With that in mind, I say "Hello NSA"
bomb
dirtybomb
allah
muhammad
jihad
nuclear
hezbollah
ammonium nitrate

What do these words have in common? They're all words I've never used in complete sentences.
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.

Eric the Orange:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.

There is such a thing as a private subreddit as well as PMs.

Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.

Oh no!!! The government will learn of my viewings of funny gifs from infomercials and Jurassic World strats... You monsters! You'll be finally be able to take down the infamous Elfgore!

VirOath:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.

Ah yes, I can see it now. Obama speaks on international television: "it was just a prank, bro."

Thanks for th3 reminder to check on WoW.

Eric the Orange:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.

Ah yes, but now they can read reddit while at work and claim they're not slacking off. Ingenious really, they could spend all day on the Titty Drop subreddit and claim they're doing 'research'.

'Sir, I must observe each of these titty drops closely, just in case they're dropping terrorist plans or bomb threats."
"Excellent work Johnson. I want a... detailed report on my desk tomorrow. Tell me everything about the titty drops. Everything."

At this point, the bigger story would be what the government ISN'T snooping on. Let's face it folks, the Fourth Amendment is dead and buried by now.

...I thought the Internet came about in order to make a legally neutral territory,that no government can muck with? Someone needs to tell the Alphabet Agencies that they're out of their jurisdiction.

I Would imagine all elements of social media are being monitored in some capacity or other. both blatantly and secretly.

Eric the Orange:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.

The way I read it (heh) is that they're trying to find information about users. Plus, without knowing the inner workings of said hive of scum and villainy, I'd imagine there's a private messaging system or something akin to that.

I don't know much about reddit, but if this is how it actually happened, it's quite a clever system. Huffman gets to say what he wants to without technically breaking the gag order and thereby the law.

I mean, it's quite sad that he HAS to set something like this up just to tell his users if they're being monitored, which it seems like they should have a right to know one way or another. But at least he gets to keep himself out of prison.

If I ever become important enough for people to interview me, I'm gonna just be like "I cannot confirm nor deny" random obvious things, that way when its real, people will not immediately think the bad thing. Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? "I cannot confirm nor deny which I prefer" *slowly sips Coke*

Pay attention to the date people.

Oh crap, best delete all those terrorist recruiting threads i made. And my terrorist sympathising user profile. And my terrorist bomb ingredients list. Oh and that star-gazing cat one too, just in case they connect it to feline sympathetic towards potentially hostile alien races. Cheers for the heads up. ...And screw you, US government! I'm outta your jurisdiction! *Smugly devours terrorist pasty*

Remus:

What do these words have in common? They're all words I've never used in complete sentences.
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.

The search engine has been upgraded. It only flags results when those words are used in conjunction with other keywords, in coherent sentences. The NSA was apparently tired of getting trolled by keyword lists.

OT: Why Reddit? Why not 4chan. Now there's a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Perhaps it's the one place on the Internet that even the terrorists are afraid of going to?

Eric the Orange:
But seriously why would the government need a warrant?

Information that isn't visible to the public, like private messages and private subreddits. Go one step further and invisible from almost everybody is IP addresses.

Remus:
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.

Psssh, as if Big Brother cares about evidence. Do we ever see any evidence used to convict somebody in 1984? No, we don't. Why not? Because there are no trials. Why are there no trials? Because the people are either too afraid of the government to try and hold it accountable, too ignorant to do so or they agree with the government's actions. You don't need to go very far to see that this is quickly becoming normalized in the government. Guantanamo Bay, with people being detained for over a decade without any sort of trial. Chelsea Manning was treated horribly in prison so that she'd plead guilty and give up the fight and most of the population didn't care. Snowden is still holing up outside of the US in countries without extradition treaties and relatively nobody cares about the NSA or what they were doing anymore. States are creating legal provisions that allow to detain people without arresting them for longer and longer, some stretching to almost an entire week and relatively nobody cares.

Big Brother doesn't need or care about evidence. All Big Brother needs is a population that doesn't question it when he points to a person and says "they're a bad guy". One of the greatest flaws of the court system based on jury verdicts is that in an oppressed society your peers will always convict. Sure, there might even be an actual trial but it has about as much credibility as an election where you get thrown into a concentration camp if you don't vote for the incumbent politician.

Hello NSA.
In other news, the sky is blue.
No but really, in other news so is every imageboard.

Adding that is you express anything remotely close to a libertarian opinion, or even that of a right wing, you're terror watchlist material.

VirOath:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.

Bertinan:
Pay attention to the date people.

The transparency report was posted before this date.

VirOath:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.

Very good point.

What I have come away with here is that the concept of inserting a "canary" like this into legal documentation is an interesting idea and sounds well = worth having.
That is, unless it transpires that it is vulnerable to the organisation being instructed to keep the dead "canary" effectively nailed to the perch by a legal order requiring their cooperation to the point of lying in the publicly available iteration of the documentation while protected by the real version sealed for the duration of said instruction.

My understanding of the intricacies of international law and the various national security exemptions is too shallow to know if that would be a legal move by any group.

This was first reported by Reuters, not a source known for making light hearted jokes. It was also posted on March 31st, so I think we can discount the April Fools Theory.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-reddit-idUSKCN0WX2YF

I've been awake for 100 minutes and already Poe's Law has driven me mad.

Land of the free and home of the brave, everyone. Maybe it's time to alter that to Land of the Suspected Terrorists and Home of the Paranoid.

Go ahead. I only post on /r/suicidewatch to vent and learn how to cope with those thoughts.

Remember when the government wasn't overtly paranoid about every little thing and constantly pried into everyone's personal information? Those were the days...

This situation comes to a boiling point soonish, at least in the US. If the gouvernment would release and propagize a statement and release reports and statistics on how this mass surveillance has prevented that or this many terrorist attacks, it would certainly dwindle the public pressure to a certain amount, giving them not only more trust but credibility also. And credibility is a finite resource the gouvernment is soon to run out, another factor why Trump has it so easy with being a conman most likely . At least this would be the case if the US climate would be very similar to that of Germany.

So why don't they do it? Because of security reasons, they say and are likely right. And maybe also (speculation) because it would turn out that this is powermongering, unreasonable and corrupt. But this will get diminishing returns when they face masses upon masses rioting, not even comparable to that of very recent time, since the mass would be affected, not "just" a minority.

Reddit simply proves that it gets worse and worse since it gets more publicly known and the gouvernment loses its credibility in the mainstream more and more, losing more power and control.

Wrex Brogan:

Ah yes, but now they can read reddit while at work and claim they're not slacking off. Ingenious really, they could spend all day on the Titty Drop subreddit and claim they're doing 'research'.

You joke, but I work for a design company and you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) of how many people want to put hookers, strippers, sirens, ext all over their brand. I have literally searched Google images for references of topless mermaids with my boss' permission.

happy_turtle:
This was first reported by Reuters, not a source known for making light hearted jokes. It was also posted on March 31st, so I think we can discount the April Fools Theory.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-reddit-idUSKCN0WX2YF

Well pranks have been known to occur a day before and after the first, so it's still a possibility.

thewatergamer:
Remember when the government wasn't overtly paranoid about every little thing and constantly pried into everyone's personal information? Those were the days...

So, not since maybe the 1700s?

VirOath:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.

This is exactly my thought actually. I hate the internet on April 1st.

That said, it seems confirmed as real.

For the record, I hate reddit.

Yeah - Personified Democracy? Hi, this is a concerned citizen speaking. Can I get a refund; it feels like you're turning vaguely Fascist behind our backs as time goes on...

The Western World: "But if we don't snoop on our citizens, ISIS wins! You don't want ISIS to win, do you?! Or maybe you're a commie pinko from Canada who thinks the world's all sunshine and buttercups, huh?!"

Hasn't it occurred to you that fear engenders fear? The more you squeeze the vice, the more disgruntled elements are going to fall out, get sucked into a competing ideology and assume that storming the gates with old AK-47s and leftovers from the conflicts in Bosnia in the nineties is actually a freakishly good idea.

The Western World: "Um... VOTE TRUMP AND KEEP WATCHING THE KARDASHIANS, SHEEPLE!"

Yeah. I guess I'll stay in Softcore Commie Pinko Land, where we think that a multilingual and multicultural society is a strong and generally unified one...

I was under the impression all media was under government surveillance anyway. Whats new?

008Zulu:
OT: Why Reddit? Why not 4chan. Now there's a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Perhaps it's the one place on the Internet that even the terrorists are afraid of going to?

Nothing stays on in 4chan's servers, but everything is recorded in screencaps and is always public. There's not really any good reason to be using 4chan for any illegal activity where the crime isn't in the content(i.e. what's being posted)

Riddle78:
...I thought the Internet came about in order to make a legally neutral territory,that no government can muck with? Someone needs to tell the Alphabet Agencies that they're out of their jurisdiction.

The Internet came about to link governmental and military agencies together to facilitate the flow of information if I recall correctly.

Besides, the servers and wires have to exist somewhere. And the NSA gives no shits about "jurisdictions".

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