DOJ Goes Way Overboard: Demands All Info On Visitors Of Anti-Trump Site

from the the-doj-going-too-far?-what-a-surprise dept

Not all search warrants are bad. Indeed, most of them are perfectly legitimate, and meet the qualifications under the 4th Amendment that there is probable cause of a crime being committed, and the warrant is narrowly tailored to seek out evidence to support that. But... not always. As Ken "Popehat" White explains in a recent blog post, the Justice Department has somehow obtained the mother-of-all bad search warrants while trying to track down people who were involved in protests of Donald Trump's inauguration back in January. The government has brought felony charges against a bunch of protestors from the inauguration, and now it appears the DOJ is going on a big fishing expedition.

As Ken notes, it's quite likely that some protestors committed crimes, for which they can be charged, but prosecutors in the case have decided to go ridiculously overbroad in trying to get any info they can find on protestors. They got a search warrant for the well known hosting company DreamHost, which hosts the site disruptj20.org (as an aside, the fact that a site like that doesn't default to HTTPS for all connections is really, really unfortunate, especially given the rest of this article). The warrant basically demands everything that DreamHost could possibly have on anyone who did anything on disruptj20, including just visiting. As White notes in his post, it's not that unreasonable that the DOJ sought to find out who ran the site, but now they're requesting basically everything, which likely includes the IP addresses of all visitors:

a. all records or other information pertaining to that account or identifier, including all files, databases, and database records stored by DreamHost in relation to that account or identifier;
b. all information in the possession of DreamHost that might identify the subscribers related to those accounts or identifiers, including 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;
c. all records pertaining to the types of service utilized by the user,
d. all records pertaining to communications between DreamHost and any person regarding the account or identifier, including contacts with support services and records of actions taken.

DreamHost, quite reasonably, found this to be somewhat overbroad and refused to immediately reply, instead having a lawyer ask the DOJ to clarify the request, while making it clear it felt the warrant was likely both vague and overlybroad. The DOJ then asked the court to compel the company to hand over the info, insisting there is "no legal basis for failing to produce" the requested information. DreamHost has now responded in court, saying that the warrant violates the 4th Amendment and appears to endanger the 1st Amendment rights of protestors. They also claim that it violates the Privacy Protection Act and that there are some jurisdictional issues with it as well. DreamHost also has a nice blog post about the whole thing:

This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.

Or, as the filing notes:

Where a search warrant endangers First Amendment interests, the warrant must be scrutinized with “particular exactitude” under the Fourth Amendment. See Zurcher v. Stanford Daily, 436 U.S. 547, 565 (1978). “The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.” Int’l Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672, 701 (1992) (Kennedy, J., concurring). The government’s search warrant (“Search Warrant”) here requires non-party DreamHost, LLC (“DreamHost”) to turn over every piece of information it has about every visitor to a website expressing political views concerning the current administration. This information includes the IP address for the visitor, the website pages viewed by the visitor, even a detailed description of software running in the visitor’s computer. 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. The Search Warrant also includes a demand that DreamHost disclose the content of all e-mail inquiries and comments submitted from numerous private e-mail accounts and prompted by the website, all through a single sweeping warrant.

The Search Warrant cannot survive scrutiny under the heightened particular exactitude standard required by the presence of the First Amendment issues. It fails to identify with the required particularity what will be seized by the government. It also fails to provide DreamHost with any assurance that the government will return or destroy the large portion of the information irrelevant to the government’s criminal case or cases. These features render the Search Warrant unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. In addition, the Search Warrant violates the privacy protections of the Privacy Protection Act, a statute enacted specifically to address such instances, and is without a jurisdictional basis.

As Ken White points out, this fishing expedition by the DOJ should concern us all:

The Department of Justice isn't just seeking communications by the defendants in its case. It's seeking the records of every single contact with the site — the IP address and other details of every American opposed enough to Trump to visit the site and explore political activism. It seeks the communications with and through the site of everyone who visited and commented, whether or not that communication is part of a crime or just political expression about the President of the United States. The government has made no effort whatsoever to limit the warrant to actual evidence of any particular crime. If you visited the site, if you left a message, they want to know who and where you are — whether or not you did anything but watch TV on inauguration day. This is chilling, particularly when it comes from an administration that has expressed so much overt hostility to protesters, so relentlessly conflated all protesters with those who break the law, and so deliberately framed America as being at war with the administration's domestic enemies.

Of course, the DOJ overreaching is nothing new. We just spent eight years highlighting DOJ overreach during the Obama administration (and another eight of overreach under the Bush administration). But it is particularly scary to see just how far this overreach is and that it's coming from an administration that has shown itself to be significantly less tolerant of the First Amendment rights of protestors than basically any predecessor.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 2:29am

    "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

    ... I'm not the only one surprised that this didn't come with a gag-clause and suspecting that the only reason there isn't one is that someone in the DOJ forgot to include it, right?

    I'm not sure which is the worse possibility, that they are deliberately asking for everything in an attempt to make an example of the site, they actually believe that they are owed everything, or they're too lazy to narrow the focus down to only what they need and figured they'd save time by demanding everything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 3:58am

      Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

      Why_not_both.gif

      Or more correctly all 3.

      Scare people from going to any anti-trump site.
      We're the Government, you have to obey.
      If they demand everything they can punch that data into a list and see what the great big haystack holds about those people.

      Who would dare talk about disliking Trump when some nice men in suits show up at your job or home & make a spectacle as a regular course of action?
      People on Twitter have a love hate relationship with trying to get people fired for saying things they dislike, to see the DOJ stooping to this level is scary.

      I am glad however that we have won the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Fraud, the War on ID Theft... otherwise seeing these resources brought to bear on people who merely might have read something would be a horrific vision of that slippery slope we kept talking about in hypotheticals coming into being.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Cowardly Lion, 18 Aug 2017 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

        "...who would dare talk about disliking Trump when some nice men in suits show up at your job or home & make a spectacle as a regular course of action?"

        I'm betting that's their game plan, to instill fear. I'm also betting that the nice men in suits ratio to Trump malcontents is so low that most of the job vacancies for nice men in suits remain unfulfilled.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 6:19am

      Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

      Has it ever occurred to you that this warrant could have been created by an anti-Trump individual in order to embarrass Trump.

      Remember the people Washington DC are 100 % Democrat with the most radical Social Justice Warriors in the country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 15 Aug 2017 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

        Never assume your audience is more stupid than you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:08am

          Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

          Politicians prove that it is safe to assume that your audience is more stupid than you quite often.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

        Has it ever occurred to you that it doesn't matter whether a D or an R issued the order? It's equally bad no matter who is behind it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

          has it occurred to you that most people here judge actions based entirely on their own politics?

          For example, I bet that no one cares that GoDaddy revoked a nazi site domain registration, but cheered the shutdown of a bakery when they refused to serve at a gay wedding.

          You see, as long as it aligns with MY politics, it is okay to harm others physically with violence like punching a nazi or through legal remedy, including legal remedies particularly proscribed by the Constitution.

          Our society is unraveling because we all simultaneously say we are for tolerance while being intolerant of anyone else with a differing view. In our pursuit to build a multi-cultural nation, we must rid ourselves of the cultures we don't like.

          Like a pendulum, one side sends it swinging and cutting towards the other, slowly being lowered eat time until we are all being carved up by it!

          No one desires peace, they desired the destruction of their enemy!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

            I generally agree with you but the nazi example was terrible.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

              That is the EXACT point and why I used them.

              We use the worst humans among us to justify removing rights so we can deal with them sooner. The rules and laws must be applied equally so that everyone is treated the same under the law.

              No group of people should experience the law differently from another group. If you know for a fact that the police, the courts, and public opinion are going to cheat to put and end to you, are you going to let them take you peacefully? No, most people prepare for their last stand. And when it happens often enough, the entire group that thinks like them prepare for a massive one, one much more difficult to deal with without loss of life.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 8:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                Your claim is "For example, I bet that no one cares that GoDaddy revoked a nazi site domain registration, but cheered the shutdown of a bakery when they refused to serve at a gay wedding."

                Except that this isn't what happened. They revoked the site for publishing personal attacks on the woman murdered at the Nazi rally in an attempt to justify the murder.

                GoDaddy was willing to host the Nazi site and all their ideology. It's the personal attacks on a specific person that violated their terms of service.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 8:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                  You missed the point I was trying to make.

                  I have no problem with GoDaddy delisting them for that reason. I am okay with GoDaddy delisting them for any reason. As far as I know GoDaddy is not under any legal governmental stewardship of DNS so they have no binding to adhere to the 1st the way the Government does.

                  The Bakery was taken to court and told they had to participate in something they religiously or morally disagreed with "or else" and the pro-gay crowd cheered. Would they now cheer if the nazi scum took GoDaddy to court and forced GoDaddy to relist them? I am betting not. Would everyone Cheer if GoDaddy shutdown out of refusal to service that site? That is what I am getting at when we decide that our political philosophies should be able to interfere in other peoples activities as part of the law of unintended consequences.

                  I am definitely okay with GoDaddy saying, yea, we don't host your DNS records you pack of shit stains!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:11am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                    The cake is a lie.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                    You maybe might should lookup the meaning of public accomodation laws before you start making strawman out of cake and lies.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:44am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                      You are grossly ignorant of the subject at hand.

                      http://www.citizensource.com/History/20thCen/CRA1964/CRA2.htm
                      "SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

                      Neither of these cases are applicable to these laws for they are not based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

                      The strawman is of your creation.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Bergman (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:53pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                      Where in public accommodation laws is there a requirement that an artist create art or that a public speaker speak in favor of things they oppose?

                      Hint: you won't find one because if there was one, the law would be unconstitutional. Speech, particularly artistic or political speech, cannot be compelled.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Bergman (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:54pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                        WTB Edit button.

                        While baking a cake and applying simple frosting is a service, decorating it is art. The distinction is quite clear, even if the art is sold.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                    The bakery is open to the public. They're not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender or sexual preference. The same goes for GoDaddy. (Nor did GoDaddy discriminate based on Nazi ideology. Obviously the record shows this.)

                    But if a same-sex couple walked into the bakery and demanded cakes decorated with personal attacks on anyone - let alone murder victims - then the bakery could have refused service. Just like GoDaddy. It's highly unlikely that anyone here would disagree. They might even cheer.

                    You're trying to claim a double-standard where none exists.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:52am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                      "You're trying to claim a double-standard where none exists."

                      No, I am pointing out clear hypocrisy, which abounds at this site and especially with persons like you.

                      I am making the case that all businesses can and should be able to refuse service for any reason that offends their screwy politics and wacky religious beliefs unless it directly physically/economically harms someone, you are the one saying, well except for the Groups I specifically think should be protected from "emotional" harm but screw those other guys. You are clearly cognitively dissonant on the subject.

                      Every time you see your group disparaged or unfairly treated, remember that you helped to enable/justify it by allowing another group be disparaged or unfairly treated.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:27am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                        No, I am pointing out clear hypocrisy, which abounds at this site and especially with persons like you.

                        And yet in your example - the bakery vs. GoDaddy - you're unable to give a valid example of any such hypocrisy.

                        Again, if a same-sex couple walked into the bakery and demanded cakes decorated with personal attacks on anyone - let alone murder victims - then the bakery could have refused service. Just like GoDaddy.

                        I am making the case that all businesses can and should be able to refuse service for any reason that offends their screwy politics and wacky religious beliefs unless it directly physically/economically harms someone,

                        That's different, but a valid argument. I disagree with you on it, of course. We've had enough of the "blacks must move to the back of the bus" rules.

                        Many communities are served by only one bus system. Only one phone system. Only one high-speed internet system. Only one grocer, bank, insurance office, eye doctor or many other privately run essential services. They should not be able to refuse service based on the CEO's personal phobias and bigotry.

                        you are the one saying, well except for the Groups I specifically think should be protected from "emotional" harm

                        I'm arguing for equal treatment. You're making stuff up.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 11:22am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                          "I'm arguing for equal treatment. You're making stuff up."

                          No, you are arguing for UNequal treatment to balance out what you believe to be a wrong.

                          I am not saying that either side is right/wrong, I am just saying that you are clearly for unequal treatment when it suits your politics, and claim that that is wrong to allow for unequal treatment.

                          The only right thing to do, is to ensure that the playing field is level. It is impossible to end injustice in this world and fighting injustice too aggressively only creates more injustice.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Bergman (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:59pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                          A good example of why the bakery was right to decide the way they did is that while baking a cake and applying basic frosting is a simple service, the decorations that make it suitable for a wedding are artistic expression beyond any doubt.

                          Such decorations are not a matter of rote application. They are the product of artistic skill just as any painting worth admiring is. The formulation of the artist's paints should not change expression that cannot be compelled into expression that can be.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:10am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                      wow, even TD agrees with me here.

                      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170814/15422237996/defending-hateful-speech-is-unpleasant-e ssential-even-when-violence-is-end-result.shtml

                      "As he points out, the left -- despite its reputation for tolerance of all races, creeds, colors, and sexes -- is a frequent supporter of government regulation of speech. Many on the left still cling to the mistaken belief the government has already outlawed "hate speech," when it has done nothing of the sort."

                      "You're trying to claim a double-standard where none exists."

                      ha ha ha ha

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:37am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                        Funny how you left out the preceding sentence: "Glenn Greenwald has a long post at The Intercept detailing the misguided attacks on the ACLU as a result of its defense of the white nationalist protesters."

                        The ACLU is the embodiment of the "radical left" for many on the right. And here it is defending the freedom of speech rights of white nationalists on the right.

                        You've replaced straw-man arguments with cherry-picking, but you're still trying to claim a double-standard where none exists.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 11:35am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                          "You've replaced straw-man arguments with cherry-picking, but you're still trying to claim a double-standard where none exists."

                          Really? Your double-standard is as clear as the day is long. You don't even do a half-hearted job of hiding it let alone a decent or competent one.

                          All you have in your bags of tricks is "nu huh, you are the liar"

                          Would falling off a building be enough evidence for you to accept that gravity is real if one of your political leaders said it did not exist?

                          There is not a single human that does not have a double standard, and there is most definitely no political demographic that exists without MULTIPLE double standards.

                          Try again friend!

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Bergman (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                      The bakery is open to the public, yes. But while baking a cake and frosting it is a service, cake decorations you'd actually want on the cake are artistic expression.

                      Artists often create artwork through painting or sculpting that conveys a political message. Why would it be any different when their paint is made of sugar instead of acrylics?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:27am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                    As far as I know GoDaddy is not under any legal governmental stewardship of DNS so they have no binding to adhere to the 1st the way the Government does.

                    "Legal" does not always mean "okay".

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:31pm

                    t;dr - No, they were not.

                    The Bakery was taken to court and told they had to participate in something they religiously or morally disagreed with "or else" and the pro-gay crowd cheered.

                    You need an education you on the actual facts of this case.

                    Colorado has an anti-discrimination law that protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. In short, a public-facing business in Colorado cannot refuse equal service to a gay person that it would otherwise offer to a straight person.

                    Masterpiece Cakeshop, however, refused equal service to a gay person in 2012. The bakery’s owner refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple and cited his religious beliefs as the reason why. But his business was open to and purported to serve the general public; by turning away a gay couple from a service he offered to straight couples, he broke the law.

                    The Colorado Civil Rights Commission filed a case against the bakery. It won that case at every court in which this case has appeared. The Supreme Court put off hearing this case numerous times before, too. The difference between then and now is the new appointee to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch, a conservative judge and the man most likely to have offered the vote needed for this case to come before the Supreme Court.

                    In a similar case in that state, Azucar Bakery was sued under Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws for refusing to bake a “religious” cake. The gist of what happened in this case seems similar to the Masterpiece case: A Christian asked Azucar Bakery to make a cake with religious iconography and messaging, and the bakery refused. But the details tell a different story: Azucar was willing to bake a cake in the shape of the Christian cross, but was not willing to decorate it with the anti-gay messages that the customer wanted on that cake. The bakery also offered to sell the customer whatever he needed so he could decorate the cake however he wished. In the end, Azucar was found not to have violated the law because it did not treat the customer any differently than any other customer based on their religious beliefs—the bakery had a policy against putting any kind of hateful message on any product, and the bakery also tried to accomodate the customer as best it could have in the situation.

                    Oh, and coincidentally: The Colorado Civil Rights Commission did concede that Masterpiece could have lawfully declined to write messages on the cake with which the bakery’s owner disagreed. Masterpiece got in trouble because the owner outright refused to sell even a non-descript wedding cake to a gay couple—something that likely would have been done for any straight couple.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            stderric (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

            More people here would probably prefer the company of people who visited disruptj20 than those who visit stormfront, but very few are fans of general warrants no matter who the target is.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

              "but very few are fans of general warrants no matter who the target is."

              So many of these have occurred that I doubt your statement reflects the reality of what has happened in court of late. A good faith exception often beats every challenge made against these things. The police can lie in court, cheat the system, steal/take property, and remain ignorant of the laws they enforce, and regularly get by with it all under the auspices of "good faith". Even while good faith is clearly not supported by the Constitution.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

              This wasn't a general warrant. It was very specific: it essentially wants the access logs related to that web site. I really don't understand the fuss. You can read the take of Fourth Amendment expert Orin Kerr here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/08/15/a-closer-look-at-dojs-warrant-to -collect-website-records/

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                stderric (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 4:04pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                The 'two stage warrant' bit is really interesting - especially the 'particularity', as it has a little resonance with the NSA and foreign bulk collection with domestic incidental collection.

                (It's a side note, but my point about TD readership not generally being fans of government overreach -- regardless of the target -- still holds.)

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 1:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                "Give us everything you have on everyone that's visited/used your site and we'll narrow it down from there" does not strike me as 'specific' in the slightest, and if that gets a pass because that's just how they've been doing it I'd say that's a sign that the standards have been slipping quite a bit over the last few years.

                How about instead the DOJ does some gorram work, finds any suspect and/or potentially illegal posts and then requests the data regarding those items, rather than grabbing everything and sorting through it at their leisure?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

            "You see, as long as it aligns with MY politics, it is okay to harm others physically with violence like punching a nazi"

            Do not denigrate our fallen soldiers of WWII, you disgrace yourself and are an embarrassment for others.

            Has it occurred to you that humans are not perfect and they do stupid things periodically - and yes all of them including yourself. Now, some humans do stupid things more often that others and wag their fingers but it is the way beyond stupid shit that needs to be stopped and you know it so stop being pedantic.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 8:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

              "Do not denigrate our fallen soldiers of WWII, you disgrace yourself and are an embarrassment for others."

              That comment is reflected back at you. What good are we if we become like those we seek to defeat? If wagging a finger and ensuring that liberty and rights are afforded to the very last of us is a "pedantic" act, then you have made it clear that you are more okay with becoming like those nazi scum than I am.

              If you hate someone or something so bad that you will take a part of their own evil and incorporate it into yourself to see to their destruction, then you need to re-evaluate your position.

              As the supreme court shockingly recently stated...
              [paraphrased]
              "it is the offensive speech that is specifically protected by the 1st Amendment"

              The same justification used to oppress the Nazi, is being used to oppress the anti-Trump protestors. Both, regardless of social justification have a legal right to peacefully assemble and protest without fear of reprisal from the law.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

                "That comment is reflected back at you"
                - Typical deflection/projection.

                "peacefully assemble"
                - Perhaps this is what is misunderstood?

                "fear of reprisal from the law."

                I doubt many feared the law in Charlottesville, they were in the audience apparently.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re: "You know what, just hand over the computers. All of them."

        Has it ever occurred to you that this warrant could have been created by an anti-Trump individual in order to embarrass Trump.

        That's a good point, but I think it also very possible that whoever requested this is just in the habit of lazy seize-it-all warrants and would've used the same thing even if they like Trump, because there's really no downside for the government lawyers to demanding more than they are statutorily due.

        Another concerning issue, not addressed directly in the Techdirt editorial, is that this site may have received visitors from pro-Trump citizens who wanted to see what the fuss was about, learn about whether there were good reasons not to support Trump, post counterarguments to try to discourage protestors, etc. -- generally, actions that the administration should want its supporters to undertake. These people also will be swept up by the seize-it-all warrant and, if the DOJ is sloppy about who it harasses, harassed despite (previously!) holding a positive view of the administration doing the harassment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 4:02am

    Remember, this is the DOJ of a man who wants to “open up the libel laws” so he can sue people who print mean-yet-truthful articles about him. We should not be surprised when they demand information such as this—we should expect it and be ready to push back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ThaumaTechnician (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 4:47am

    http://www.disruptj20.org/

    Go there, be part of the millions (billions?). Pollute the data.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim, 15 Aug 2017 @ 4:52am

    Huh?

    I haven't heard of this, but, if remembered correctly, there were some unusual characters involved in the remonstrations that were found around the town then. But, their web histories? Cute. I thought all they needed was the street view, a good camera, and their facial recognization program to settle this, were the street view filled with too many participant's? Or just not looking at the camera?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 5:04am

    i be rollin'

    they be hatin'
    patrollin'
    tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 5:28am

    NSA already has it. This is for parallel construction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    stderric (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 7:25am

    “The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.”

    I didn't realize the First Amendment was privileged above the rest of 'em.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:00am

    Interesting - Tucker Carlson on Google

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/08/15/tucker-carlson-google-regulated-like-public-utility/?utm_s ource=facebook&utm_medium=social

    In Europe, Google has already been hit with a nearly $3 billion fine for violating antitrust law. Congress here and the Trump administration should go further than that. Since it has the power to censor the internet, Google should be regulated like the public utility it is to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information. To the rest of us, that needs to happen immediately. Too bad it’s come to this. A lot of us trusted Google not to be evil. Silly us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:06am

      Re: Interesting - Tucker Carlson on Google

      Google has no such power. I don't use Google, you don't have to either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:26am

      Re: Interesting - Tucker Carlson on Google

      "In Europe, Google has already been hit with a nearly $3 billion fine for violating antitrust law. "

      Interesting that Europe is enforcing US law, do we owe them anything for said service?


      "Since it has the power to censor the internet"

      Google != Internet ....... (LOL)


      "distort the free flow of information"

      LOL, wow! yer funny

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:33am

      Re: Interesting - Tucker Carlson on Google

      Your foxclown talking points were supposed to be treating parts of the Internet as utilities is a bad thing. Didn't you get the memo?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Interesting - Tucker Carlson on Google

      [Google] has the power to censor the Internet

      When did Google get the power to prevent me from publishing this comment or calling you an imbecile on any other platform I choose?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 9:33am

    Is this a joke Mike?

    There are hundreds of videos of anti-tump protestors attacking people at every Trump rally and destroying public and private property.

    I consider myself a Classical Liberal, but I'm ashamed to be apart of the left these days.

    Totalitarian Progressivism is destroying the left and now you're one of those who are pushing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:09am

    How would HTTPS help?

    as an aside, the fact that a site like that doesn't default to HTTPS for all connections is really, really unfortunate, especially given the rest of this article

    It's unfortunate, but what does it have to do with the article? It looks like Dreamhost was providing hosting, not colocation, which means they'd have all the requested data with or without HTTPS.

    What the site should have done is disable all logging, if they have that capability (a VPS would, simple web hosting might not; but they should also verify Dreamhost isn't storing metadata at the network level). And have a single HTTPS page with only 2 links: one saying how to install Tor, and the other giving a .onion address which would contain all the other pages.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thad, 15 Aug 2017 @ 10:09am

    Reposting what I wrote in the comments to that Popehat article:

    I've often observed the similarities between our current president and my former county sheriff, Joe Arpaio (in the news today as a potential Trump pardon, having recently been convicted for criminal contempt).

    Arpaio's office once requested that the Phoenix New Times (his chief critic in the press) turn over a record of every single person who had ever visited its website.

    They didn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:33pm

    NSA + Trump: what could go wrong?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2017 @ 12:28pm

    "Not all search warrants are bad. Indeed, most of them are perfectly legitimate..."

    That statement is patently false. You should be arrested for contributing to the delinquency of linguistics, and beaten as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.