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DoJ Narrows Warrant Seeking #DisruptJ20 Info From DreamHost

The U.S. Department of Justice has narrowed the scope of a warrant regarding the #DisruptJ20 website used to coordinate protests of the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January. The government originally required the site's host, DreamHost, to hand over information about the 1.3 million people who visited #DisruptJ20. Now the warrant is focused more on those who actively planned the inauguration protests.

DreamHost said earlier this month that the warrant would have required it to reveal the IP addresses—and therefore the general location—of 1.3 million people. The hosting service provider would also have to hand over contact information, email addresses, and photos of thousands of other people. The sheer amount of personal data covered by the warrant prompted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to call it a "clear threat" to Constitutional rights, with the rights organization and DreamHost alike raising concerns about First and Fourth Amendment protections.

In a court filing, the Justice Department said it was unaware of just how much information was included in the original warrant. It also pushed back against warnings about the warrant violating the First and Fourth Amendments, or that the government was targeting people for their political views. Here's one section of the filing, which amended the warrant to restrict the amount of info DreamHost would have to provide:

The Affidavit, the indictment that was returned by a Grand Jury, and the government's repeated statements made during public hearings in the pending criminal cases make clear that the government is focused on the criminal acts of defendants and14their co-conspirators, and not their political views - and certainly not the lawful activities of peaceful protesters. Similarly, the government is focused on the use of the Website to organize,to plan, and to effect a criminal act - that is, a riot. The government has no interest in seizing data from the Website that does not relate to this limited purpose.

The DoJ also said it didn't know DreamHost had so much information when it filed the warrant. It seems like the scope of the original warrant could be attributed more to ignorance than to malevolence. (Though we aren't sure that's a good thing, considering how many warrants are likely served to companies like DreamHost on a regular basis.) The amended warrant seeks to get the pertinent data without collecting too much else.

DreamHost responded to the news in a blog post, which reads in part:

We see this as a huge win for internet privacy, and we absolutely appreciate the DOJ’s willingness to look at and reconsider both the scope and the depth of their original request for records. That’s all we asked them to do in the first place, honestly. [...] But we’re not done.

The company said it plans to move forward with a filing "to address the remaining First and Fourth Amendment issues raised by this warrant" because "there are still a few issues that we consider to be problematic for a number of reasons." Despite its new limits, the warrant is still looking for info about political protests, and it seems the DoJ and DreamHost don't see eye-to-eye on the Constitutionality of that search.

A hearing about this back-and-forth is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on Thursday.

  • Math Geek
    i'm pretty sure political protests are covered by the Constitution. Explicitly no less. can't imagine how this even got approved the first time around and sure hope the courts wake up and shut this down when they get a second look.
    Reply
  • Sveg
    Your privacy rights end the moment someone gets hurt, or property damage goes beyond the scope of a simple random accident.

    You can advocate all the vile crap you want. But the moment you rally a group that directly causes damage or harm, your privacy ENDS, and the rights of the people in harms way or with damaged property supersedes.
    Reply
  • Non-Euclidean
    SVEG has it, and the 2 Snowflakes don't.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    20095500 said:
    Your privacy rights end the moment someone gets hurt, or property damage goes beyond the scope of a simple random accident.

    You can advocate all the vile crap you want. But the moment you rally a group that directly causes damage or harm, your privacy ENDS, and the rights of the people in harms way or with damaged property supersedes.

    Problem here is, the DoJ is assuming guilt by association. Just simply accessing or participating in the site (creating association), doesn't make someone responsible for the actions of protestors. The DoJ is asking for the records with intent to prosecute people that violated laws. The problem here is the fact that not everyone that would be identified, committed a crime and as such, still have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Under law, the only ones that can be prosecuted are those that committed criminal acts and those that acted in such a manor as to promote the criminal acts. Simply accessing or participating in such a site doesn't prove promotion of criminal acts nor does it imply guilt in any way. Based on actual laws, which only permit those suspected of committing a crime to be investigated or prosecuted, the subpoena from the DoJ is a vast overreach.
    Reply
  • wiyosaya
    20097316 said:
    20095500 said:
    Your privacy rights end the moment someone gets hurt, or property damage goes beyond the scope of a simple random accident.

    You can advocate all the vile crap you want. But the moment you rally a group that directly causes damage or harm, your privacy ENDS, and the rights of the people in harms way or with damaged property supersedes.

    Problem here is, the DoJ is assuming guilt by association. Just simply accessing or participating in the site (creating association), doesn't make someone responsible for the actions of protestors. The DoJ is asking for the records with intent to prosecute people that violated laws. The problem here is the fact that not everyone that would be identified, committed a crime and as such, still have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Under law, the only ones that can be prosecuted are those that committed criminal acts and those that acted in such a manor as to promote the criminal acts. Simply accessing or participating in such a site doesn't prove promotion of criminal acts nor does it imply guilt in any way. Based on actual laws, which only permit those suspected of committing a crime to be investigated or prosecuted, the subpoena from the DoJ is a vast overreach.
    What a refreshing post by someone who actually gets it. Freedom of speech ends when there is a clear basis that any particular speech is likely to lead to violence. If there is no such indication, then freedom of speech cannot be hampered. As you said, if the DOJ had evidence that any visitors to this site they would be well within the law to seek the data that pertains only to those they suspect. Right now, this sounds like a fishing expedition with a political basis, IMO.
    Reply
  • Alabalcho
    20094867 said:
    Now the warrant is focused more on those who actively planned the inauguration protests.
    All talks about privacy, freedom of speech, right to assemble - I don't have any memories of "violence" during DJT' inauguration.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    20100713 said:
    20094867 said:
    Now the warrant is focused more on those who actively planned the inauguration protests.
    All talks about privacy, freedom of speech, right to assemble - I don't have any memories of "violence" during DJT' inauguration.

    Nor do I.

    This unconstitutional move by the DoJ is far too similar to that of the (unconstitutional) voter fraud commission that was requesting vital records and complete voting history for every US citizen. The only reason to request the information that the DoJ and the "Voter Fraud Comission" have requested, is purely for voter suppression. Courts have already ruled that an IP address can not be used to identify a person. In this case, the DoJ is trying to use IP addresses to identify 1.3 million people that they can't prove committed a crime. It's an authoritarian move.....
    Reply
  • Rob1C
    > "It seems like the scope of the original warrant could be attributed more to ignorance than to malevolence." .

    That is irrelevant. If you are ignorant, mentally deficient, deaf and blind, stupid, forgetful, whatever your excuse then you had better hope that the other person didn't have reason to suspect that you are wrong - it's old Case Law, don't know don't do but the one charged has the weight of the Law slightly favored towards them.

    EG: Your car alarm goes off, you look out the window and see someone walking down the street, you attempt to detain that person; they don't have to inquire about anything and are entitled to attack you without warning and do enough damage to ensure that you don't repeat what they presume to be your error - because surely they will be charged if they injure you most severely, and that makes the argument slightly in their favor over whatever you thought you were doing.

    Similarly getting blanket info about people who might have visited a website due to a mis-click, viral program/clickjack/clickbait AD, or did visit purposefully with no INTENT of wrongdoing are not to be subjected to State Surveillance (in North America, in other countries you could be hung for littering).

    The reason we have such Rights has been tested in the Courts of Canada and the United States frequently. Here's one example: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/01/15/when-victims-become-criminals .

    The Right to speak, even about stupid/wrong things is protected, it's really only an extension of the Right to defend oneself and one's home.

    Being physically present during a Riot isn't illegal until the Police give a speech officially declaring it a riot and ordering everyone to disperse.

    People not enjoying North America Laws waste their thoughts on deaf people protesting in this Forum. Go to your Lawyer or pay for Law School and undo decades of Case Law - otherwise: decide not what you know not.

    It's like people who wouldn't go out at night but they know it's safe on the Internet night or day, your ignorance can't save you.
    Reply