Is Reddit Under Secret Surveillance by the Government?

LJ Ellis

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Mar 3, 2016
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Is Reddit Under Secret Surveillance by the Government?

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Something is going on at Reddit. What's happening exactly, we may never know.

At the end of their 2014 transparency report, Reddit wrote this [https://www.reddit.com/wiki/transparency/2014]: "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed."

However, that statement was missing from their 2015 transparency report that was posted on Thursday [https://www.reddit.com/wiki/transparency/2015].

The statement from 2014 is known as a "warrant canary" and was used as a signal to Reddit users. As long as that "canary" appeared, it meant that Reddit wasn't under any type of secret surveillance. However, now that it's gone, it means things have changed.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman all but confirmed the speculation by refusing to talk [https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/4cqyia/for_your_reading_pleasure_our_2015_transparency/] about it.

Said a Reddit user: "That's the entire point of the canary, he isn't allowed to say anything about it, the fact it was removed means that a gag order has been issued. 100% final, no discussion."

Responded Huffman: "I've been advised not to say anything one way or the other."

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Eric the Orange

Gone Gonzo
Apr 29, 2008
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Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.
 

Remus

Reprogrammed Spambot
Nov 24, 2012
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But reading it would involve work. The gov doesn't operate that way - they need to create a complicated program that watches for key words and phrases. Something like simply reading the forums would be very time consuming and labor intensive. With that in mind, I say "Hello NSA"
bomb
dirtybomb
allah
muhammad
jihad
nuclear
hezbollah
ammonium nitrate

What do these words have in common? They're all words I've never used in complete sentences.
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.
 

Fireprufe15

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Nov 10, 2011
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Eric the Orange said:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.
There is such a thing as a private subreddit as well as PMs.
 

VirOath

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Jan 16, 2009
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Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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Apr 3, 2020
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Oh no!!! The government will learn of my viewings of funny gifs from infomercials and Jurassic World strats... You monsters! You'll be finally be able to take down the infamous Elfgore!
 

RedDeadFred

Illusions, Michael!
May 13, 2009
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VirOath said:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.
Ah yes, I can see it now. Obama speaks on international television: "it was just a prank, bro."
 

Wrex Brogan

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Jan 28, 2016
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Eric the Orange said:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.
Ah yes, but now they can read reddit while at work and claim they're not slacking off. Ingenious really, they could spend all day on the Titty Drop subreddit and claim they're doing 'research'.

'Sir, I must observe each of these titty drops closely, just in case they're dropping terrorist plans or bomb threats."
"Excellent work Johnson. I want a... detailed report on my desk tomorrow. Tell me everything about the titty drops. Everything."
 

Neverhoodian

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Apr 2, 2008
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At this point, the bigger story would be what the government ISN'T snooping on. Let's face it folks, the Fourth Amendment is dead and buried by now.
 

Riddle78

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Jan 19, 2010
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...I thought the Internet came about in order to make a legally neutral territory,that no government can muck with? Someone needs to tell the Alphabet Agencies that they're out of their jurisdiction.
 

Buckets

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May 1, 2014
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I Would imagine all elements of social media are being monitored in some capacity or other. both blatantly and secretly.
 

The Enquirer

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Apr 10, 2013
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Eric the Orange said:
Ah Reddit, the hotbed of terrorist activity.

But seriously why would the government need a warrant? aren't all Reddit threads open to the public? If they wanted to watch what people are saying they could just read it like anyone else.
The way I read it (heh) is that they're trying to find information about users. Plus, without knowing the inner workings of said hive of scum and villainy, I'd imagine there's a private messaging system or something akin to that.
 

Fat Hippo

Prepare to be Gnomed
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I don't know much about reddit, but if this is how it actually happened, it's quite a clever system. Huffman gets to say what he wants to without technically breaking the gag order and thereby the law.

I mean, it's quite sad that he HAS to set something like this up just to tell his users if they're being monitored, which it seems like they should have a right to know one way or another. But at least he gets to keep himself out of prison.
 

Saelune

Trump put kids in cages!
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Apr 4, 2020
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If I ever become important enough for people to interview me, I'm gonna just be like "I cannot confirm nor deny" random obvious things, that way when its real, people will not immediately think the bad thing. Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? "I cannot confirm nor deny which I prefer" *slowly sips Coke*
 

Neurotic Void Melody

Bound to escape
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Apr 3, 2020
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Oh crap, best delete all those terrorist recruiting threads i made. And my terrorist sympathising user profile. And my terrorist bomb ingredients list. Oh and that star-gazing cat one too, just in case they connect it to feline sympathetic towards potentially hostile alien races. Cheers for the heads up. ...And screw you, US government! I'm outta your jurisdiction! *Smugly devours terrorist pasty*
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Sep 6, 2009
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Remus said:
What do these words have in common? They're all words I've never used in complete sentences.
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.
The search engine has been upgraded. It only flags results when those words are used in conjunction with other keywords, in coherent sentences. The NSA was apparently tired of getting trolled by keyword lists.

OT: Why Reddit? Why not 4chan. Now there's a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Perhaps it's the one place on the Internet that even the terrorists are afraid of going to?
 

LJ Ellis

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Mar 3, 2016
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Eric the Orange said:
But seriously why would the government need a warrant?
Information that isn't visible to the public, like private messages and private subreddits. Go one step further and invisible from almost everybody is IP addresses.

Remus said:
Big Brother is watching, you're welcome.
Psssh, as if Big Brother cares about evidence. Do we ever see any evidence used to convict somebody in 1984? No, we don't. Why not? Because there are no trials. Why are there no trials? Because the people are either too afraid of the government to try and hold it accountable, too ignorant to do so or they agree with the government's actions. You don't need to go very far to see that this is quickly becoming normalized in the government. Guantanamo Bay, with people being detained for over a decade without any sort of trial. Chelsea Manning was treated horribly in prison so that she'd plead guilty and give up the fight and most of the population didn't care. Snowden is still holing up outside of the US in countries without extradition treaties and relatively nobody cares about the NSA or what they were doing anymore. States are creating legal provisions that allow to detain people without arresting them for longer and longer, some stretching to almost an entire week and relatively nobody cares.

Big Brother doesn't need or care about evidence. All Big Brother needs is a population that doesn't question it when he points to a person and says "they're a bad guy". One of the greatest flaws of the court system based on jury verdicts is that in an oppressed society your peers will always convict. Sure, there might even be an actual trial but it has about as much credibility as an election where you get thrown into a concentration camp if you don't vote for the incumbent politician.
 

Leg End

Romans 12:18
May 2, 2020
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Hello NSA.
In other news, the sky is blue.
No but really, in other news so is every imageboard.

Adding that is you express anything remotely close to a libertarian opinion, or even that of a right wing, you're terror watchlist material.

VirOath said:
Let's wait until after April 1st to see if this is still up. April 1st is the worst day to publish legitimate news.
Bertinan said:
Pay attention to the date people.
The transparency report was posted before this date.