It makes several years that this post is . There are reason to consider it won’t be in the upcoming years.
So whatever I can do, my account can be hijacked anytime because web browser plugins don’t exists on mobile (thus, no https everywhere). Once done, the attacker would be able to post any materials with the hijacked account (in my country, racial hate speech or terrorism propaganda can lead to prosecution under special circumstances).

The problem here is the user might have to prove although the posts would have been written with his account, he isn’t the author of them (in my case I don’t hide my identity so it’s possible to find me without asking ip address to Stack Exchange)

So will Stack Exchange accept to provide private logs showing unusual use of the accounts to justice from countries where speech is not as free as in the United States?

This question is purely hypothetical. I am not asking about a specific instance.

  • As long as that thing is still status-planned. There are many places in the world were writing on Stack Exchange is at risks. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 0:21
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    Dowvotes ? Why ? Although my country is far to be the best example where this can happen, there are other places were speech can be described as truly not free. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 3:20
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    Please contact us privately, we're going to need more information to give you an answer other than 'it depends', and I think that conversation is best handled out of the spotlight.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 8:08
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    @TimPost : my account was never highjacked, and as I told in the links tooltip, this is very unlikely. Due to the terrorist attacks of 2015, this article was moved tocode pénalwhich means I wouldn’t have access to a computer before the end of the trial. The real problem is since fixing this isn’t a priority a large audience of Stack Exchange users across many countries are concerned by this kind of legal threat. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 8:53
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    @Quill : the request wouldn’t come from a state agency, but from the lawyer’s of a regular citizen in a foreign country. That is, he would have asked it himself to his attorney. There is clearly no obligation to comply in that case (this would have the consequence to let the targeted user being wrongfully sent in prison). Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 9:48
  • I don’t know if this can apply too. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:04
  • Are you asking about a possible hypothetical future situation, or are you asking about a hijack that has occurred now? If you're asking about a possible hypothetical future situation, I think that's too speculative to really answer. If you're asking because you are in this situation right now, asking on Meta probably isn't the right path; instead, you should use the "contact us" link. Either way, you should edit your question to clarify which you are asking about.
    – D.W.
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 9:26
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    @D.W. : an hypothetical future situation of course ! I wouldn’t have used the worldifin the title otherwise. What does make you think this currently my case ?*(not to mention you normally don’t have access to internet in detention)* Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:52
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    @user2284570 I know you want an official response from SE, but if the user is asking for his own logs, not exposing the private data of any other user, and he's asking under duress (requesting information via a lawyer is a pretty good indicator), I don't see why SE would have a problem supplying the logs. There's nothing to lose.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 12:29
  • @DanBron That's if SE can prove that the lawyer does in fact represent the user in question.
    – Servy
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:35
  • @Servy Depends on how badly the user's overall internet accounts have been compromised. If it's just the SE account, then the team could request (eg) an email from the account associated with his SE profile, as they do today for merge requests.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:38
  • @DanBron That's assuming the hacker hasn't changed the associated email address. Additionally that would require you to give your email credentials to your attorney.
    – Servy
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:40
  • @Servy I don't think the 2nd issue you raise is really a barrier. You're putting your life in this guy's hands anyway, and he has a very public legal and ethical duty to you (not to mention in certain jurisdictions, all information he has or obtains about you is privileged and confidential). But if that's too big a barrier, I can't imagine that the state wouldn't let the accused access a computer for 5 minutes to send one email to help plead his case. For the 1st objection, the user is saying his account been compromised, so it's perfectly reasonable for SE to accept mail from prior accts.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:45
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    The correct answer to this question is, "It depends." The reality is that Stack Exchange will have to consult with its lawyers and in some cases they may, and in others they may not. There's no easy "yes" or "no" they can give here, and before they release any information to someone claiming to represent a user they're going to have a very high bar to meet to prove you are, in fact, representing that user. This adds complications that could also change whether the answer is yes or no. So you will always have to protect yourself, and assume that stackexchange might not help you.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


It bothers me this question didn't get an answer yet, so here are my thoughts on the subject.

The only correct answer is: it depends.

We can assume by now (also judging the previous answer of Robert) that SE will not always give that information to you. Whether SE will share such information will depend on so many factors there isn't a single answer to your question.

Take these bullets as an example (note that I am not a lawyer, just what comes in mind):

  • Sharing IP address information (which in some countries is seen as 'personal information') of possibly someone else (you assume you are hijacked) might lead to legal issues in the US or your country. This might even get SE blocked / banned in that country (which happened to others before);
  • Working together or supplying information of possibly US citizens to other (deemed hostile) countries might have legal implications too;
  • Such information can be hard to collect or disclose more information than SE wants to share with you. This may bring some costs or other issues, which SE might not want to take;
  • Despite the above points, SE might think they have a moral obligation to help you. They might try to see if and how they can bend things to give you the information you need. A SE lawyer is necessary in these cases.
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    As much as I appreciate you trying to answer this, I'm not sure it has any value. That "it depends" does seem to be the case, but any other personal thoughts, ideas, assumptions and what not hold no value. I think this is one of those posts which can (and should) be left unanswered until someone in the right position, backed by authoritative legal representation, can answer it. Even if that answer is "we can't answer that, contact us when you have specifics".
    – Bart
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 8:28

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