DOJ drops request for info on anti-Trump site visitors

The sheer amount of personal data covered by the warrant prompted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to call it a "clear threat" to Constitutional rights, with the rights organization and DreamHost alike raising concerns about First and Fourth Amendment protections.

The government's brief seeks to exclude unpublished content on the site, and also data related to general access of the DisruptJ20 site, meaning most user info will no longer be included in the DOJ warrant.

The Department of Justice on Tuesday proposed amending the scope of its warrant in a filing with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Criminal Division, which is slated to hold a hearing over the dispute on Thursday morning. In addition, DOJ said, "the government is focused on the criminal acts of the defendants their co-conspirators and not their political views.The government has no interest in seizing data from the Website that does not relate to this limited objective". Prosecutors obtained a search warrant in July ordering the company that hosted the website, DreamHost, to turn over information about use of the site. That's around 1.3 million IP addresses in total, and DreamHost's lawyers said the request was too broad. The warrant is focused on evidence of the planning, coordination and participation in a criminal act - that is, a premeditated riot. "That's all we asked them to do in the first place, honestly". "That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone's mind", the group wrote in a blog post earlier in August.

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DreamHost, the web hosting provider that was hit with the request, has been fighting back against what it characterised as an over-broad warrant that would have forced the company to hand over "all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors".

According to the brief, the warrant "was not meant to be used, and will not be used, to 'identify the political dissidents of the current administration, ' Nor will it be used to 'chill free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution'".

The DoJ's response paints DreamHost's stance as borderline hysterical.

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A warrant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to reveal every person who visited an anti-Trump website.

It is not interested in any information that is not relevant to ongoing criminal investigations against protestors, the DoJ claims.

Like most technology companies, DreamHost receives numerous requests for information from law enforcement each year.

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