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How to foil NSA sabotage: use a dead man's switch

mspohr (589790) writes | about a year ago


mspohr (589790) writes "Cory Doctorow has an interesting idea published in todays Guardian on how to approach the problem of NSA "gag orders" which prevent web sites, etc. from telling anyone that they have been compromised. His idea is to set up a "dead man" switch where a site would publish a statement that "We have not been contacted by the government" ... until, of course, they were contacted and compromised. The statement would then disappear since it would no longer be true.
He points out a few problems... Not making the statement could be considered a violation of disclosure... but, can the government force you to lie and state that you haven't been contacted when you actually have?"

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Red herrings for everyone. (1)

cmarano (2798479) | about a year ago | (#44799705)

And what's to stop the government from just sending out vague general requests to ALL the sited that might be of interest? Certainly the Federal Government is large enough to do this. If every ISP, hosting, cloud, email or blogging site got a letter then Cory's strategy would fail. We couldn't know which providers were actually being targeted and which were merely being used as distractions.

Good luck with this (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#44799939)

Don't expect a prosecutor to buy this argument. Anything you do that alerts others to a gag order will be treated as a violation. You may win in court, but you will be thousands of dollars in debt defending yourself unless the EFF or ACLU come to your rescue.

All The Options Are Bad (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44800637)

1. Attempt Cory's idea, spend years in court (or jail).
2. Be a martyr and just go dark. Pull the plug. Yes, everyone suffers, but they can't force you to stay in business.
3. Be a good little tool and play along, suckering your users and sacrificing every shred of integrity.
4. Make a lot of press noise and pound your chest for show, but privately surrender.

Until we have a change in the law, providers are pretty much at Big Brother's mercy.

I've got Doctorow beat (1)

unitron (5733) | about a year ago | (#44800651)

Websites should have a line of text on the main page that says:

"We are currently under a secret, government-imposed gag order which we are forbidden from disclosing"

When the time comes that they actually are placed under one, they would, of course, be legally obligated to remove that statement from their site.

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