Reddit May Be Under Government Surveillance: 'Warrant Canary' Deleted Today

Jayce Wagner

Cybersecurity hawks may have noticed today that the popular '"front page of the internet," Reddit, has officially deleted its "warrant canary," passively signaling to users that it may have received a secret surveillance subpoena from the U.S. government.

Warrant canaries are used by security-minded websites in order to reassure users that their private information, including private message details, IP addresses, and other secure information that is stored on the site have not been compromised or requested by any government entity. The deletion of the Reddit warrant canary has been interpreted by some users of the popular website that their information is not safe, and that someone – or many someones – in the Reddit community are currently under secret U.S. government surveillance.

Reddit has, reportedly, not responded to any requests for comment on the matter, further suggesting that the "front page of the internet" has been ordered to hand over private information on its users – or at least one of those users.

As a result, sites like Reddit started using warrant canaries to passively inform users when their data may have been compromised by a U.S. government agency using national security letters to request private data on users of the sites in question.

"I've been advised not to say anything one way or another. Even with the canaries, we're treading a fine line," said a Reddit administrator, speaking with VentureBeat today.

According to tech blog BoingBoing, the Reddit warrant canary all but confirms that "the front page of the internet" has received at least one national security letter, or FISA court subpoena demanding disclosure of private information on one or more users of the popular website. The private information disclosed to the U.S. government is unknown, but it could include anything stored on the Reddit servers – private correspondence, browsing habits, post and view history, anything Reddit has access to.

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