Bitcoin.com has announced its ‘Warrant Canary’ page and is encouraging all cryptocurrency related websites and related organizations to follow suit. This website owned by Saint Bitts LLC, and its related subdomains, feels that privacy is of great importance in this age of technology and that our users’ personal information should be at the top of that list. Contributors to the Bitcoin page have designated a special section on our domain to host the message. It reads:
“Since our beginnings in 2015, Saint Bitts LLC, Bitcoin.com, and all related subdomains, have received and complied with 0 (zero) government demands for information. If this notice disappears from our website, it will mean that we have been served with some sort of legal demand that requires our secrecy.”
A warrant canary is a method by which an online service provider informs its users that the provider has not been contacted by the government, primarily through the use of “secret subpoenas”. This measure was invented within the writings of 18 U.S.C. §2709(c) of the USA Patriot Act contains “gag orders” preventing online service providers certain criterias of disclosure to its user base. The warrants message can be used to hold dates and times if a communication provider has been contacted by officials. Warrant canaries are legal in the United States and most of the UK. However, Australia has issued a policy against certain types of warrants canaries. There are hundreds of tech companies which utilize these disclosures such as Adobe, Medium, CloudFlare and others. There are also services like Apple, who have once had a canary message on their site but have since removed it, causing alarm.
The first commercial use of the warrant canaries was by the tech company Wickr which is a private messaging service. Soon many companies followed the initiative such as rsync.net, who posted their own canary and also confirmed the action with a digital signature. In another instance, the private messaging service Surespot at one time had a warrant canary but then removed it from their site, receiving national attention. Due to this information, Surespot’s developers were questioned but remained silent this past June giving suspicion to surveillance. It’s not known exactly how many Bitcoin businesses are using these messages to inform their users, but Bitcoin.com has found that Coinfire.io has a dedicated canary on their website. We feel that Bitcoin websites and services should form in solidarity against unwarranted court orders as well as data collection. At Bitcoin.com, we feel that data collection is a very important subject today and thank leaders like Erik Voorhees for creating such efforts as Please Protect Consumers.org and his commitment to users. Voorhees said to the press: “The only way to be sure you don’t leak data is not to collect or retain it.” and we applaud him for this message. So just as we don’t agree with governments reaping consumers’ data without permission, we also want our users to know if these entities pry into your business.
This idea of posting such material as to thwart nondisclosure requirements of court orders and secretly served warrants was first initiated on the cypherpunk mailing list. Following the great cypherpunks and cyber-libertarians, the team at Bitcoin.com will continue to provide the utmost transparency on all things Bitcoin-related especially when it comes to federally enforced demands. If we do get threats imposed by officials you will know about this news immediately. As an online communications provider we feel it’s our duty to inform people about government’s wrongdoings such as massive data collections and meddling in the private affairs of journalism and businesses in general.
There is a full discussion happening on our forums about warrant canaries and Bitcoin companies who do and do not use them. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixbay, and Redmemes