You've probably never heard of a 'warrant canary', but it's just gone walkabout from Reddit's transparency report - and that's worrying news.
On 31 March, the vast web forum released its 2015 transparency report - a document detailing government and law enforcement agency requests for private information about its users. It was largely the same as its 2014 report - with one exception. The following paragraph had been deleted:
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.
The removal of this 'warrant canary' would suggest Reddit was requested to give customer data to FBI investigators.
A warrant canary allows a publisher to put out a notice stating that a warrant has not been served as of a particular date. Should that notice be taken down, users are to join the dots and realise that the publisher has been served with one. The publisher won't be able to confirm this, as any warrant will usually outline that the publisher can't speak about the order. However, they can't prevent alterations to transparency reports, such as Reddit's.
This is what CEO Steve Huffman (username 'Spez') had to say - or rather, not say:
So as to what kind of information Reddit might have shared with the US government... you'll have to guess. To read more on Hoffman's discussion of Reddit's privacy policies, head over to this comment thread.