Decide Will not Let Feds Have Full Entry to Names of Folks on Anti-Trump Website

Burned limoCarol Guzy/ZUMA Press/NewscomA decide has added new limits to a warrant the Justice Division is utilizing to attempt to observe down the anti-Trump activists who disrupted Inauguration Day actions.

As a part of an effort to determine any protester who did something unlawful in D.C. the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the Division of Justice served a warrant towards the online host DreamHost. The warrant was absurdly broad, trying to get non-public knowledge on anyone who had a lot as visited, a web site used to prepare anti-Trump protests. Based on the corporate, the warrant as initially submitted would have required it at hand over the IP addresses of greater than 1,000,000 guests to the location.

DreamHost introduced it was resisting the warrant, calling it a very broad fishing expedition and a risk to free speech. It definitely might trigger a chilling impact if the federal government had been capable of merely demand the names of anybody who visited a web site vital of the president. Simply right this moment, Trump was fairly clearly suggesting that he’d like to seek out some technique to retaliate towards media retailers whose reporting he dislikes.

The Division of Justice then retreated and said it would refine the request. Superior Court Judge Robert E. Moran approved a more limited warrant and ordered the Justice Department to put protocols in place to limit access to private information that had nothing to do with a criminal investigation.

Yesterday Judge Moran put out a final order that made it clear he’s not going to let the Justice Department just wade through personally identifiable private information without any probable cause. DreamHost will be permitted to redact user information, and the Department of Justice won’t be able to access it unless it can show that a particular user is suspected of criminal activity.

“While the government has the right to execute its warrant,” Moran noted in his order, “it does not have the right to rummage through the information contained on DreamHost’s website and discover the identity of, or access communications by, individuals not participating in alleged criminal activity, particularly those persons who were engaging in protected 1st Amendment activities.”

Kudos to DreamHost for putting up a fight here. As a third party host, it’s not the one being investigated for misconduct, but it’s using the revenue it earns from its customers to help protect those customers’ privacy from an overreaching government.

Scott Shackford

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