DOJ under fire for warrant attempting to collect anti-Trump website visitor data

August 23, 2017


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The US legal system gets another reality check as the Department of Justice (DOJ) completely flops its attempt to get the IPs of 1.3 million visitors of anti-Trump website,

Under the claims of “organizing protests of Trump’s inauguration”, the DOJ requested personal information, including contact information, email content and pictures from Dreamhost, a web host based in the US.

Following Dreamhost’s refusal to comply, in a desperate attempt the DOJ filed a motion to the DC superior court, requesting to force Dreamhost to comply.

Resulting from Dreamhost’s reasonable argument against the ludicrous nature of the warrant, the motion was naturally denied. This cornered the DOJ into reinventing its warrant by limiting it to information about content and activities from July 1, 2016 to January 20, 2017.

In US Attorney Channing Phillips’ desperate attempt to justify the motion he claimed that DOJ issued a lawful warrant, but claimed that the additional facts Dreamhost presented “were unknown to the government at the time it applied for and obtained the warrant…”

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind,” said Dreamhost.

While the DOJ reassures that any information Dreamhost provides will be placed under seal with the court, the motion is expected to be denied, much like previous attempts, in the hearing set for August 24.

After several offers from internet users to contribute to Dreamhost’s legal fees, the page set up a crowdfund campaign. However, the company execs plead the users to not feel obliged to contribute and reassure them that “We got this.”

On a different front in the “internet freedom for all” war, another arm of the government, the FCC finds itself in somehow, a brighter spotlight on the net neutrality issue.

Besides the oppressing nature of opposing such a law, parties involved are being nothing short of suspicious on the matter, especially when they collectively agreed to be no show to a hearing concerning the matter.

As it stands, the FCC is currently stalling the exposure of over 47,000 complaint letters related to the matter, to which Chairman Ajit Pai’s spokesperson stated that “currently, commission staffers are in the process of reviewing these documents and redacting any personal information. We anticipate releasing another batch of documents by the end of the week and will release the remainder as soon as we can.”

The FCC’s response comes in contradiction with previously claiming it was too “burdensome” to redact personally identifiable information from all 47,000.

In the middle of a bombardment of social and security matters rising on daily basis, ranging from Neo-Nazis, to a nuclear world war threat, all the way to radical racism, I find myself inspired to quote a tweet I came across one day, that read: “Only during Trump’s first year in administration would you find yourself in the middle of Nazis and a possible world war.”

Adding mass surveillance scandals and restrictions against freedom of speech, simply because it opposes the current administration – to the mix, one tends to let go of “how could they dare to do this?” thought.


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