Apple may have quietly signaled that it’s received a secret Patriot Act order

“Under the Patriot Act, the US government can demand information from companies and ask them to keep the order secret, but there’s a clever legal feint that can sidestep this: a so-called ‘warrant canary,'” Colin Lecher reports for The Verge. “Now it appears Apple may have sent up the signal.”

“In its first transparency report, where it documents legal requests, Apple included this footnote: ‘Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us,'” Lecher reports. “Many believed this to be a canary — a line that would disappear if and when Apple received a Patriot Act order, silently (and, although it hasn’t been tested in court, perhaps legally) informing close readers.”

Lecher reports, “Apple’s last two transparency reports, which include the last half of 2013 and first half of 2014, dropped the canary — or at least changed the language in it — suggesting the company may have been ordered to hand over records under the Patriot Act. Now the report only reads this: ‘To date, Apple has not received any orders for bulk data.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Would you trade privacy for national security? Most Americans wouldn’t – August 6, 2014


  1. Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act is absolutely totalitarian and abusive thing, even though authors seem to mean well and now go against government’s abuse of this law.

    The most dangerous thing about it is that if Apple did receive such order, they can not confirm it legally. Even more: companies are encouraged to deny it.

    This law has to be called off. Should we wait for the likes of Rand Paul to become President of USA (what may never happen), or there are chances that corrupt Washington will throw the law away before that?

        1. I like the Paul’s’ stand on civil liberty and reluctance for war. It’s just that they are against unions, which is a recipe for an extreme wealth gap in this country. If the working class has no say on pay and working conditions or any rights, and must depend on Noblesse oblige, that’s ridiculous.

      1. If there is no real change in the way the country is managed things are going to change by other means . It is called revolution and happens sometimes . It should be peaceful but when the ruling elite does not care about anything else but their own interests then the violent way prevails. Hope the USA returns to the values of the Founding Fathers.

    1. When it comes down to Safety vs Freedom hhhhmmm which one should I pick? This “Patriot Act” BS must be put to an end. “War on terror” more like a war on American Liberty.

      “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stewart Mill

        1. I agree with the sentiment of this quote, but it implies a false conflict.
          If you are not free, you are most certainly not “safe.” Any supposed safety that comes without freedom is just your master being nice to you. They can decide on a whim to no longer be nice. That’s NOT safety.

  2. Counterpoint:

    No, Apple probably didn’t get new secret gov’t orders to hand over data
    Rare warrant canary vanished, likely due to new 2014 Justice Dept. guidelines.

    The newest transparency report states in a table that Apple received “0-249” National Security Orders from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014. That precise band of numbers matches precisely the government’s suggested guidelines….

    “Reporting that band does not mean that they received a Section 215 order, it just means that they changed their practice to conform with the [Department of Justice]’s guidance.”

    Tim Cook discussed EXACTLY this in his interview with Charlie Rose on PBS this past week.

  3. Considering any FBI agent can pull a National Security Letter out and put you in essentially a legal gag, one can never be so sure about these things. Even though the Feds have “reformed’ the act to limit abuses, any agent can act now and you might get it lifted sometime later.

    The ACLU, EPIC and the EFF have been fighting this Fascist law and have been long before many were paying attention. Those of you who deride the ACLU might want to do your homework and revise your position. The ACLU has stood with citizens against the Feds when people were literally swept off the streets incommunicado for no reason, without charge, without discovery, without counsel and without presentment before a judge in the days after 9-11 a.k.a. the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Powell National Security Fiasco.

  4. Zieg heil. They fight against us because they want to destroy our freedom, inshallah. You’re either with us or against us cos we’re bipolar and batshit paranoid. Rise up America. your time is up. Hen how, sheh sheh. 😷

  5. Any judge that doesn’t see the Patriot Act’s order to keep a government’s order for information secret as being a clear violation of the First Amendment, should be required to go back to law school.

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