US Government Demands Data on Visitors to Anti-Trump Site

US Government Demands Data on Visitors to Anti-Trump Site

The US authorities are trying to force a web hosting firm to hand over details on over one million visitors to an anti-Trump site, in a move which has been branded unconstitutional.

DreamHost went public with the news after revealing that it’s been working with the Department of Justice for several months to try and seek a solution regarding its customer disruptj20.org.

That’s a site founded to protest the current White House administration.

Although it’s believed that some of its founders may have been involved in violence at the Trump inauguration, it’s unclear exactly what information the DoJ wants from DreamHost as its affidavit is sealed.

However, it has now demanded details not only of the site’s founders but also all visitors, as the hosting firm explained in a blog post:

“The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website. (Our customer has also been notified of the pending warrant on the account.)

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. This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

The Department of Justice most recently filed a motion in a Washington DC Superior Court requesting an order compelling DreamHost to hand over the information. The hoster has filed arguments in opposition, claiming that the move is “a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

Rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is helping DreamHost with the case. It claimed there was no other explanation for the breadth of the search warrant “other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible”.

The EFF added in a statement:

“But the Fourth Amendment was designed to prohibit fishing expeditions like this. Those concerns are especially relevant here, where DOJ is investigating a website that served as a hub for the planning and exercise of First Amendment-protected activities.”

Source: Information Security Magazine