Overview

Canary (by Juan Emilio [CC BY-SA 2.0])
Canary (by Juan Emilio [CC BY-SA 2.0])
In violation of the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the United States government has embarked on truly frightening and dangerous efforts to stifle Internet speech and seize private information without due process. In many cases, the victims are not even aware that they are being monitored. The ‘legal’ process for obtaining search warrants, at least when a national security interest can be claimed, takes place entirely in secret. Those served with these warrants are often prohibited from even disclosing that they have received one.

And this is all happening on top of the preexisting copyright-related domain seizures and DMCA take-down requests that have been threatening the Internet for years now. Federal abuses of power with regard to the Internet are, sadly, becoming commonplace.

There is very little that I can do here on Off on a Tangent to protect you, my readers, or even to protect myself. I now encrypt all traffic over secure ‘https’ connections, but that will be little help if government agents are able to gain access via my Internet service provider.

I have suspended all account registrations and comment features on this site. In light of recent federal subpoenas directed at media outlets demanding that they produce information about people who leave comments on their site, I have decided to steer clear of this minefield entirely. I will have no information to provide, and there will be nobody to target. I do collect some very basic tracking information via Google Analytics and other services, but it is nothing beyond what is tracked on pretty much every other site on the Internet.

Off on a Tangent is published in Loudoun County, Virginia, and is subject only to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America. As such, I will comply with any properly executed orders, subpoenas, and warrants served under the valid, constitutional authority of those governments. Any order, subpoena, or warrant issued by any other government, whether it be another U.S. state or a foreign nation, will be challenged for lack of jurisdiction and will only be complied with if so ordered by a Virginia or United States court. Any improperly or unconstitutionally issued order, subpoena, or warrant will be challenged on the basis of its specific flaws. Any gag-order or restriction on publishing the details of any order, subpoena, or warrant will be challenged on First Amendment grounds.

Below are different categories of orders, subpoenas, and warrants that we could possibly receive. It will be updated periodically. Each section includes an ‘as-of’ date. If one section is mysteriously not updated when the others are, that is a good hint that we have received something in that category but have been restricted from reporting it.

U.S. National Security Letters

As of January 27, 2017, Off on a Tangent has received zero U.S. national security letters.

U.S. Subpoenas

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has received zero U.S. federal subpoenas.

Virginia Subpoenas

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has received zero Virginia subpoenas.

U.S. Search Warrants

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has been subject of zero U.S. search warrants.

Virginia Search Warrants

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has been subject of zero Virginia search warrants.

Orders from Other U.S. States

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has received zero legal orders from other U.S. states.

Orders from Foreign Governments

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has received zero legal orders from foreign governments.

DMCA and Copyright Claims

As of January 27, 2017Off on a Tangent has received twelve copyright claims, each relating to video content posted on YouTube. All such claims are invalid and have been disputed under ‘fair use’ or other provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Notices From Hosting Provider

As of January 27, 2017we have received no notification from DreamHost, our hosting provider, that we have been the subject of any orders, subpoenas, or warrants that they may have received. DreamHost reports on orders, subpoenas, and warrants in their annual transparency report (see their legal page).

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.