- There was a warrant and a properly worded FOIA request will eventually dredge it up
- There was a warrant and it's under court seal
- DigitalOne fabricated part or all of the story
- There was no warrant
I will lawyer up if necessary but I think it's very early to be saying that there was a warrantless search.
If an FOIA request does not retrieve a warrant, there was no warrant for the purposes of public justice, even if there was a warrant. I hope that sentence was clear.
If it was a warrantless search, it was a crime, and every participant engaged in a felony (presuming they were armed.) US Code 18-242 makes it a felony to violate constitutional rights under color of law (while armed. If unarmed I think it is not a felony, a lower penalty applies.)
If the constitution is the highest law of the land then no subordinate organization (namely congress) can make a law that violates the constitution. Congress was authorized to make laws, and the government was given limited, enumerated powers in the enumerated powers section. If a particular law is not under and enumerated power, or involution of the constitution, it is never a valid law. The moment it is signed, it is null and void-- according the the supreme court in Mabury v. Madison.
Thus, a law authorizing a "court seal" for warrants, which violates the fourth ammendement, even if it exists, is null and void, and does not need to be struck down by any court to be null and void.
Without this law, without any presented warrant, the search is thus illegal, and every participant is a felon (if they were armed.)
I say all this to point out, just how far from obeying the law our government is.
Of course, it is absurd to expect that any prosecutor in the justice department will bring any of these people up on charges (presuming that an investigation reveals the facts to be as supposed in the context of this discussion.)
Since the government is not operating within the bounds of the law, the government doesn't have the protection of the law, and the government is, itself, a criminal organization (to the extend that the previous two clauses are true.)
Denial of this-- which is not really an opinion so much as legal fact-- is why americans are constantly surprised when things get worse and worse. (For instance: The TSA is not valid under the law, all of their searches are illegal. But nothing was done about them, so now they are molesting children in public.)
Things are going to get much worse until people start standing up to the government.
I don't trust the DigitalOne people at all and so far everything we know about the raid has come from them. If I have to I'm willing to throw some money into the legal system to get some answers for our users.
Pretend I have Oracular knowledge about this case. What could I possibly tell you that would be more important to your users than your next three weeks of regular operations? Is "The FBI had a warrant for someone other than you." that information? Is "The FBI did not have a warrant but thought they had exigency, targeting someone other than you?" that information?
Buying colo (or especially higher level stuff like managed hosting or even worse, EC2 or PaaS) from a single vendor with multiple sites doesn't protect you from:
1) Them going out of business
2) Them deciding to bounce you as a customer
3) Them getting raided by FBI/Al Qaeda/etc. at multiple sites
You ALSO want to make sure the providers you pick don't share much physical infrastructure (e.g. don't use SoftLayer AND Internap at the same physical buildings...).
The hassle is it means 2+ sets of support numbers, 2+ sets of provisioning procedures, 2+ sets of billing and contractual relationships, etc., but it's worth it. This is why having standardized provisioning procedures across vendors is awesome (everyone uses x86 now, but having standardized management tools and APIs would be nice, especially for cloud stuff).
You don't need a lawyer to file a FOIA request, there's even a handy letter generator tool linked to from that page.
Or, the DoJ misfiled something in their "Central Records System".
Or, the warrant is sealed.
Or, the infamously lossy FOIA system just said "fuck it" to this particular attempt to find the warrant.
And, the FBI didn't conduct a "raid on Instapaper". Instapaper and Pinboard were collateral damage for a different raid and, according to Arment, his drives were never in FBI custody.
So, my question right now is: what specific records did this particular FOIA request specify?
There is another FOIA request still outstanding here: http://www.muckrock.com/foi/view/united-states-of-america/wa...
I am curious to see the results of that second request, which is more broadly worded.
Edit: Just was there are more FOI requests on that site for the same information
We need some grownups in government.
What happens when you say "Most Americans" in this way is the creation of a mythical Other. "I'm American, but I'm different from _those_ Americans." (I am aware that I'm assuming you're American.)
Anyone else remember the Steve Jackson Games episode? http://www.sjgames.com/SS/
You can't generally sue them unless they physically maim or kill you. Government privilege.
For instance, I doubt the constitution provides for this immunity.
I think that this immunity is not legal.
But maybe I missed some text in the constitution that grants it.
About as close to the Star Chamber as exists in the US judicial system. Basically the rules of FISA warrant include "you cannot talk about FISA warrant."
If a FISA warrant were served, it would kind of excuse DigitalOne's behavior in the whole thing to some extent.