A recent report published by Dreamhost says The Department of Justice has requested information on people who visited a website that helped organize protests against President Trump’s inauguration. Dreamhost has been working with The Department of Justice for months, but feels like the request is not legal.
Complying with the DOJ’s request means turning over an estimated 1.3 million IP addresses. In addition to this, the company must also hand over contact information, emails, and photos.
“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 their post on Monday. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”
The Hill reported on the issue and asked the DOJ to explain, but the DOJ “directed The Hill to the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment but provided the filings related to the case.”
Dreamhost is currently challenging the request for additional information.
“In essence, 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,” Chris Ghazarian, the company’s general counsel, wrote in a legal argument against the complaint.
The Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued a warrant demanding information about the site, its owner, and its subscribers. The warrant asks for “names, addresses, telephone numbers and other identifiers, e-mail addresses, business information, the length of service (including start date), means and source of payment for services (including any credit card or bank account number), and information about any domain name registration.”
The warrant, dated July 12, specifically uses the word “riot” in conjunction with the inauguration festivities that Dreamhost is accused of helping to organize. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday in Washington.