That’s what DOJ is doing to DisruptJ20.org, which organized Inauguration Day protests last winter. Its web host, DreamHost, is fighting a DOJ search warrant demanding more than 1.3 million IP addresses, e-mails, subscriber names and addresses, photos, and other content. DreamHost is defending its customers against what it calls “investigatory overreach” and “abuse of government authority”:
Chris Ghazarian, our General Counsel, has taken issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand that chills free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution.
…The internet was founded — and continues to survive, in the main — on its democratizing ability to facilitate a free exchange of ideas. 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.
We intend to take whatever steps are necessary to support and shield these users from what is, in our view, a very unfocused search and an unlawful request for their personal information [DreamHost, “We Fight for the Users,” corporate blog, 2017.08.14].
I don’t want the Trump-feds trolling for user data from the websites of Inuaguration Day protestors any more than I would support their wholesale scanning of every byte from every user who has visited the vile blog of Jason Kessler, the white-supremacist scum who organized the Nazi/Klan hate-fest in Charlottesville. We must not allow Trump’s law-and-order rhetoric (on everything from racism to opioids) to excuse violations of rights to privacy and protest.