US Department of Justice demands details of anti-Trump protestors


The US Department of Justice (DOJ) wants DreamHost to hand over the 1.3 million IP addresses of everyone who visited the the website.

The Los Angeles-based company said it challenged the Justice Department's warrant through "reason, logic, and legal process" but the government responded by filing a motion in Washington, D.C. Superior Court on July 20 asking for an order to compel DreamHost to turn over the records.

In addition to the IP addresses, DreamHost said that the DOJ requested the contact information, email content and photos of "thousands of visitors".

DreamHost's legal brief said the company previously turned over data in response to a subpoena on the organiser of the website, but that the additional information sought by prosecutors would "endanger the First Amendment interests of the innocent third parties who viewed or communicated with the website".

DreamHost, the web service provider, is refusing to agree to the DOJ request and will be in court later this month.

'That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone's mind'.

At the center of the requests is, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration.

Citing a D.C. law regarding rioting or inciting to riot the purported search warrant encompasses 1.3million IP addresses along with the contact information email content and
US Department of Justice demands details of anti-Trump protestors

Dreamhost said its general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, had "taken issue" with the demand's untargeted nature.

This request is nothing new and DreamHost made this clear. The DOJ has been serious about prosecuting anti-Trump protesters; one indictment filed in Washington DC following inauguration protests charged more than 217 people with identical crimes.

In a blog post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called the government's "digital dragnet" unconstitutional, adding that the move was a "fishing expedition".

The government's prosecution of January 20 protesters is troubling enough, Daskal said, "but this warrant is seeking data about a whole host of individuals who have not been criminally charged and for whom there doesn't appear to be any legitimate basis for investigating, other than the fact that they accessed a website where the protests originated from".

A hearing on the matter has been set for Friday, Aug. 18.

"But the Fourth Amendment was created to prohibit fishing expeditions like this", Rumold said. "Those concerns are especially relevant here, where [Justice Dept] is investigating a website that served as a hub for the planning and exercise of First Amendment-protected activities".

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