More than 200 people were arrested during the violent riots that broke out in DC during Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th.
The White House has largely blamed “DisruptJ20” – a website that describes itself as a group of people “building the framework needed for mass protests to shut down the inauguration of Donald Trump and planning widespread direct actions to make that happen.”
According to a warrant approved last weekend by a Superior Court in DC, the White house has ordered DisruptJ20’s hosting provider DreamHost to cough up information about anyone who visited the site.
Fully complying with the request would mean giving the feds more than 1.3 million IP addresses as well as “contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people.”
“The search warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” says DreamHost.
This is not how search warrants work.
A warrant must be aimed at specific people. You can’t just say, “Give me all the private information on everyone and I’ll decide who is guilty.”
“Internet users have a reasonable expectation that they will not get swept up in criminal investigations simply by exercising their right to political speech against the government,” argues DreamHost general counsel Chris Ghazarian.
DreamHost considers the request a “strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority” and plans to fight the search warrant in court.
A hearing about the request has been scheduled for August 18th.
Author’s Note: This is a massive overreach by the government, and the breach of privacy strongly outweighs whatever good might come of the investigation.
Editor’s Note: Anyone who reads the Punching Bag Post knows we generally support the Trump administration, because frankly they are doing a good job. And we are tempted to say this website deserves to be hit hard with an investigation. However in this case the privacy of a million people, is taking a back seat to a criminal investigation. You don’t investigate crimes by demanding that all citizens provide private information. This is a wrong approach and we call on the Trump administration to respect privacy and move to institute laws to protect privacy.