Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Government wants info on 1.3 million visitors to 'Anti-Trump' website

The US Department of Justice has demanded that a website host hand over 1.3 million IP addresses of people who visited a page that organized inauguration day protests against President Donald Trump, the hosting company said.

A search warrant issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia requests DreamHost to provide “all” information available to them about disruptj20.org, the page for organized protests against Trump’s inauguration on January 20. The warrant, dated July 12, was made public on Monday.

It would involve the host handing over 1.3 million IP addresses – in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people, DreamHost said.
The hosting company is attempting to fight the DOJ’s “highly untargeted demand,” saying that it views the warrant as “a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

“In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” the company’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, said in a legal filing challenging the request.
Inauguration day saw massive protests in Washington, DC. In places, the protests spilled into violence and riots.

Over 200 were indicted on rioting charges in connection with the protests, including five journalists who were covering the events.

Charges against four reporters were later dropped. However, Aaron Cantu, a freelance writer who now works at the Santa Fe Reporter, still faces charges in connection with the protests. If convicted, he could face up to 75 years in prison.

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