Justice Department demands IP addresses of visitors to anti-Trump site

The web host provider of a website that organizes protests against President Trump has cried over a Justice Department request to hand over personal identifying information of all of the site's visitors.
By Leon Clarke | Aug 17, 2017
The web host provider of a website that organizes protests against President Trump has cried over a Justice Department request to hand over personal identifying information of all of the site's visitors. Dreamhost, the provider, said that it will challenge the Justice Department's request in a court hearing in Washington, DC, this Friday.

Dreamhost criticized the request in a blog post Monday, in which it said that the Justice Department was asking for visitors' IP addresses, contact information, photos, and contents of their emails. It argued that the request would take a huge amount of time to compileit could involve as many as 1.3 million unique visitorsbut that it would also dangerously intrude on visitors' personal privacy.
"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," DreamHost wrote in the blog post on Monday. "That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone's mind."
The website, www.disruptj20.org, organized anti-Trump demonstrations on Inauguration Day. After some protests in Washington turned into riots, more than 200 protesters were indicted on felony rioting charges.

The Justice Department approached Dreamhost to request information about the website's visitors. Dreamhost balked, prompting the Justice Department to obtain a search warrant from a D.C. judge for the information.

Chris Ghazarian, Dreamhost's general counsel, said in a legal argument that the warrant aims to identify political dissidents and "understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website." Dreamhost plans to challenge this search warrant during its hearing Friday.

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