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snork.ca: Canary Page


A warrant canary is a way for service providers to somewhat indirectly inform users of the service that there has been a request for information [possibly] about them. The idea stems from the fact that some requests for information also include a gag order restricting the information holder from disclosing that a request had been made.

An example might be if you had an account at a web site called naughtyadultstuff.com (I just made that up), and the Mexican government sent the owner of that site a letter requesting information about its users and their activity. If the request includes a gag order then the site owner can not inform you that the request was made, or whether any information has been provided. If you are unaware of such a request then you may also continue using the service, unaware that further information may be being collected as well.

Through what is essentially a loophole of semantics, if the service provider sets up a notification system that informs users of a lack of such requests/orders, they can update users by "not updating" the notice or by indicating that the number of requests received is no longer zero. The potential gag order would keep them from disclosing anything about the request, but the canary would at least serve as a warning that some request had been made.

I first learned of this practice on April Fool's Day 2016, when Reddit apparently did not include their "canary" in their annual report about 2015. Even if it is an April Fool's Joke, I still like the idea and thought that I should consider the use of a canary page here at snork.ca. I think that the possibility of anyone formally requesting data from me is minimal, and the chances that it would include a gag order is even less likely. However, it is free to setup a canary, my efforts may encourage other more popular service providers to do the same, and anything that is designed to protect privacy is okay in my books.



Status of snork.ca and the server(s) on which these services reside:


thumbsup Booyeah.

As of April 19th, 2017: There have been no requests by any individual or organization for any information stored on the server(s) or computer/network infrastructure which hosts snork.ca, its related services, or any other domain name(s) which are also hosted using the snork.ca infrastructure.

Further, I am also unaware from any such request having been made to the direct upstream service provider which is being used to connect the snork.ca server(s) and services to the Internet.


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