I've been offering free e-mail services to people through cock.li for almost 5 years now. Through this I've encountered two police raids on my server, and harassment from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection whenever I travel back to the United States. One thing that has never stayed from its seemingly sacred process is the means by which U.S. law enforcement sends subpoenas to retrieve information from the site.
Every single subpoena I've ever received from a law enforcement agency in the United States has been civil, targeted to one user, for metadata only (registered ip + 48h ip connection logs), and for good reason. I think there's something to be said about that process -- I have interacted with local law enforcement agencies of towns of 2,000 people, and I have also interected with the FBI, DoJ, and Secret Service. Every single one of those agencies have acted professionally, courteously, and within the law to do their job. It is their professionalism that is why cock.li has never rejected a subpoena.
Recently I received a subpoena from the DoD Office of Inspector General that blows that out of the water:
Fuck off. There is no way I am handing over metadata because someone was mean to you online. I have enlisted the help of Jesse Binnall, the same lawyer who helped Lavabit and that whole clusterfuck, to battle this subpoena. I have also sent an unedited copy of the subpoena to the target, as it is their right to know when their information is targeted.
Firstly the subpoena is being rejected on the grounds that "insulting and prejedicial comments" is protected speech, dude. Cock.li itself is insulting and prejudicial, where u steppin 2 subpoena that shit? The first amendment provides the foundation cock.li was started under, and international freedom-of-speech laws which generally all agree "you just need to chill the fuck out" allow its continued existence.
Secondly, the Carpenter v. United States decision granted protections to location information as it pertains to cell phone records. In this case the Stored Communications Act was used to retrieve location information belonging to cell phone numbers of robbery suspects. The Stored Communications Act is the authority by which nearly every subpoena of an online service is based under. Under this decision, information that could lead to a cell phone user's physical location requires a search warrant to access. Since the subpoena is also demanding IP address information, which can easily be traced back to a physical location, we are considering this user's IP address logs protected information, which will require a search warrant to access.
Cock.li may be a free service, but its cost is nothing compared to the friends I've made along the way. That's worth fighting for.
I'm not currently seeking fundraising for this case. If you'd like to help buy liquor at the cock.li party this DEFCON (e-mail me for info), BTC: 14GN4cHtYWvekx6TW2wmWzNUHKVTws5eNn.
But why deal with all this trouble? All of cock.li's hardware have been in Romania for over two years now, and so have I. The reality is that cock.li's owner and operator is still a U.S. citizen, and there are laws specifically regarding subpoenas for citizens abroad. Since I am the only one who can possibly comply with this subpoena (and I don't feel like going to jail when I enter the U.S.), I am still legally required to comply with valid subpoenas from the United States. Usually it's no biggie but this time idk