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DOJ Demands Personal Info on Anti-Trump Supporters

by Countable | 8.17.17

What's the story?

The Department of Justice is demanding that a web host release the personal information of visitors to an anti-Trump website.

Last month, federal investigators convinced a judge to issue a search warrant for DreamHost, demanding that the company turn over the contact data of the 1.3 million visitors that clicked on DisruptJ20, including what each visitor viewed or uploaded.

DisruptJ20 helped organize protests for President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The website provided numerous materials to aid protesters, including maps to organize blockades, printable protest signs and tips for legal observers. While the majority of protests were peaceful, a small group – referred to in various outlets as the "black bloc" of the anti-fascist movement Antifa - engaged in violent protests. More than 200 people were charged.

Why does it matter?

Prosecutors are trying to prove that demonstrators conspired to riot in advance; they argue that DisruptJ20 "was used in the development, planning, advertisement, and organization of a violent riot that occurred in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2017."

In a blog post published on Monday, DreamHost summarized the matter: "At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration. While we have no insight into the affidavit for the search warrant (those records are sealed), the DOJ has recently asked DreamHost to provide all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors."

DreamHost said it’s been working with the DOJ for several months on its request, which the company believes is a "a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority." DreamHost argued that the information the DOJ is requesting “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.”

DreamHost is currently challenging the search warrant and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday in D.C.

What do you think?

Were the protests on Inauguration Day citizens exercising their First Amendment rights? Or were they riots worthy of a DOJ crackdown? Should DreamHost release the data of its users? Tell us in the comments section, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: srdjann111 via iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(175)
  • John
    08/17/2017
    ···

    If there is information posted on the website urging people to commit violent protests, go after the website legally. If there were protestors arrested for violent acts during the inauguration, go after them legally. To require carte Blanche access to all site visitors, absolutely not. That is a direct violation of first amendment rights and smacks of big brother attempting to scare people and subvert their constitutional rights to free speech and right to privacy.

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  • Clara
    08/17/2017
    ···

    Why don't you ask to register and get the names of all the KKK, white nationalist and white supremist! ??????? Add Trump, Bannon and miller to the top of that list!! Then the top GOP members

    Like (77)
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  • Ticktock
    08/17/2017
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    This is nothing more than political intimidation. What we going to do next arrest political opponents, have political trials and then imprison them. Why not just get to it and do what Putin does, assassinate anyone that apposes Trump, his Administration or Republican Congress. This just goes to prove that Trump and his Administration and many Republicans in Congress are nothing more than alt right fascist. I haven't visited that sight yet but do you think that they can investigate, arrest, and incarcerate 4 or 5 million people? The fact is that if there is information they want they have the means to get it already. Allowing this to go public they hope will intimidate anyone who will appose their extreme right agenda. This is a tactic that would be used in Russia or China.

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  • Kodiwodi
    08/17/2017
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    This is one of the most frightening things I've seen Trump do. It is a play straight out of Hitler's book and will be a first step in taking this country into fascism. Making an enemies list is totally inappropriate and harkens back to Joe McCarthy and his Commie scare. These people are no credible threat to Trump. They simply visited a resist Trump website. There is no crime in that but there is in illegal search and seizure and suppression of free speech. Try checking for people who do like 45. It will be a much shorter task. Stop this fascism from happening.

    Like (54)
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  • Matthew
    08/17/2017
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    Violation of our first amendment rights. Here's a thought, if you are SOOOOO upset people loathe you for your bigoted ideas, your sexist ways, your xenophobic beliefs, your Russia lust filled relationship, your get richer and screw over everybody else mentality, screw our allies, and your blatant stupidity THAN QUIT!!!!

    Like (27)
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  • Pru
    08/17/2017
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    No information on anti-Trump participants, this is outrageous. Spineless Republicans, should denounce him and his white supremacist views. Divider in chief, is this the best you can do??? Dismantle healthcare, build a stupid wall, sell off parks, poison water and air?????

    Like (19)
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  • Clara
    08/17/2017
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    NO NO NO NO NO NEGATIVE!!! Absolutely not!! PERIOD

    Like (15)
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  • Deanna
    08/17/2017
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    Why is it that they want our personal information, when they refuse to hand over theirs? Yes, people do not and will not like everything people do, but our private information is just that, PRIVATE. It should not be any of the governments business who we vote for or what our views are, but it is the business of the American people to know who is supposed to be running our country. So instead of digging into personal information of the people of the United States, show us who you are. We want tax returns, we want your true views of this country. We want to know why this administration is hell bent on destroying our democracy, our livelihoods and our privacy.

    Like (10)
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  • A
    08/17/2017
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    This is a bit fascist. If there are credible threats against the life of a sitting president, then they have every right to investigate those individuals. If citizens are merely speaking out against the president's policies, that speech is explicitly protected under the first amendment and the DOJ should not waste our tax payer dollars.

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  • Carol
    08/18/2017
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    Constitutionally unacceptable.

    Like (9)
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  • Brian
    08/17/2017
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    Corruption at the highest level and there is no need for anti trump people to be singled out in this way

    Like (8)
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  • Vanessa
    08/17/2017
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    Wow....Sessions is proving again, he works, not for the people, but a reality star. How does he sleep at night??

    Like (8)
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  • Catharine
    08/17/2017
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    Please stand up against any attempt by the DOJ to bully DreamHost into handing over people's personal information. This is an infringement on the First Amendment.

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  • William
    08/17/2017
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    This a total travesty!!! And yes there are sources trying to overthrow our democracy and our American way of life- TRUMP, BANNON and others like them. Russia is sitting back laughing at us right now!!! They're getting EXACTLY what they they want with the help of these autocratic fascists!!! IMPEACHMENT NOW!!! Congressmen and Senators, are you going to stop this or are you simply going to let democracy fade into the sunset!!!!! VERY SAD!!!! HISTORY WILL REMEMBER YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO!!!!

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  • Gerald
    08/17/2017
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    It is an invasion of privacy. The government identifying the site I visited and the pages I viewed is the criminal, not me. Just your average nazi techniques applied electronically instead of kicking the door down in the middle of the night. Trump probably already counted the protesters as part of his inauguration.

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  • Nils
    08/18/2017
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    No. No, no, no. How about asking for personal info of white supremacists, Nazis, and Confederates instead?

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  • Bluewitsend
    08/17/2017
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    America is seeing the country torn apart by an incompetent leader who fuels fires of racism and bigotry. He has no moral compass or ability to understand history or what our country has always stood for at its core. Where are our legislators? What do you stand for? Why are you letting this happen? Stand up for this country and its constitution!

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  • S
    08/17/2017
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    Merely opening the web site will cause your personal information to be released to the DOJ. If you did nothing more except click on the web site you are considered guilty until proven innocent. EVERY user can and visitor to that web site will be scrutinized. What you looked at. How long you spent there. What opinions did you express. This is more than an invasion of privacy it is the suspending of our guaranteed right to free speech under the constitution and God help you if you're on the DOJ's watch list simply for doing nothing except opening the web site. "Ve vill get you you filthy animal. Seig Heil."

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  • Marisa
    08/18/2017
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    America is becoming one of its worst selves under this administration. He is destroying personal freedom, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech. This is disgusting. If this passes what will they do with the information? Prosecute people exercising their rights? Send the KKK to threaten them? This is a step towards a police state, towards what happened in Nazi Germany, under Mussolini, under Franco. Stand up to him!!! Stand up for your people.

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  • Pat
    08/17/2017
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    Protesters against Trump were and are exercising their constitutional rights. For the DOJ to try to get personal information on them is unconstitutional. But, many things the current administration is doing is unconstitutional. The government needs to back off this.

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