Apple has placed a hidden warning in the official report

    US law The Patriot Act provides that authorities can send Internet companies a secret warrant to spy on a user. Moreover, part 215 of the law provides that the company does not have the right to disclose the existence of such an order.

    This is a situation known as “trick 22”. Fortunately, there is one way a company can elegantly circumvent such a ban. This is the so-called “evidence of the canary” ( warrant canary ), when information is transmitted through silence or denial.

    In a Transparency Report published yesterday , Apple classically demonstrated this method.

    On page 5 of the white paper, a note on the table for the number of requests for information contains the phrase “Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of The Patriot Act. We are likely to challenge such an order if received. ”

    If you receive a classified order, Apple has the right to challenge it, but it does not have the right to disclose the receipt of such an order. But! In this case, the above phrase will disappear from the next report.

    Other companies may apply such methods of combating secrecy. For example, Internet service providers can daily notify users that they are not being covertly monitored. Alternatively, the user may at some time be notified of dates when he was not under covert surveillance.

    The idea of ​​transmitting messages through silence or the absence of denial has been proposed recently in connection with a discussion of the problem of mass surveillance in secrecy. Unfortunately, this idea has not yet been tested in court, so its legality is not yet guaranteed.

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