DOJ Wants Info on 1.3M People Who Visited Anti-Trump Site

Government files warrant to get IP addresses, more
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2017 3:58 PM CDT
In this Jan. 20 photo, police fire pepper spray at protesters during a demonstration after the inauguration of President Trump. US prosecutors are trying to force a company to turn over what it says is...   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(Newser) – The Department of Justice is demanding the IP addresses of more than 1.3 million people who visited an anti-Trump website, TechCrunch reports. According to Fortune, that information—along with photos, email content, and more being sought by the DOJ—could be used to identify anyone who visited DisruptJ20.org, which was used to organize protests during President Trump's inauguration. DreamHost, which hosts DisruptJ20.org, was served a warrant by the DOJ in July, but the warrant wasn't made public until Monday when DreamHost filed arguments to fight it, the Guardian reports. DreamHost says the warrant "chills free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution" and "should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone's mind."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the DOJ warrant unconstitutional and a "fishing expedition." The digital rights organization, which is advising DreamHost, says “no plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible." Similar warrants have been used to go after websites disseminating illegal content, such as child pornography, but DreamHost says DisruptJ20.org was only used to facilitate legal political speech. 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. (Read more Department of Justice stories.)

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