The government would allegedly get enough information to pick out the exact computers that visited the website as well as what their users viewed. The website was subsequently used as a conduit for organizing protests around Trump's inauguration - some peaceful, some not so. DreamHost says that while it doesn't have information on the affidavit for the search warrant, the DOJ has requested "all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors". Additionally, the warrant demands for DreamHost to "disclose the content of all email inquiries and comments submitted from numerous private email accounts ... all though a single sweeping warrant".
DreamHost said it is approached regularly by law enforcement to provide information on customers who are subject to criminal investigations, and those requests are looked over by its legal department. "The search warrant is not only dealing with everything in relation to the website but also tons of data about people who visited it".
Hundreds of protests were held nationwide during the inauguration weekend, January 20-22, including the massive women's marches, largely without incident.
The government, in turn, could use that activity against the person, he said.
At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration.
Dreamhost is already filing an opposition letter, arguing, amongst other things, that as well as violating peoples right to free speech in the first amendment, it also violates the fourth amendment right to avoid unreasonable searches and seizures. A hearing is scheduled this Friday in Superior Court in Washington, DC.
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The Search Warrant can not survive scrutiny under the heightened particular exactitude standard required by the presence of the First Amendment issues.
Numerous cases are still ongoing, and in various stages of investigation and prosecution.
But Cattanach said he was skeptical that the data would be used only for that. That may be a collateral benefit.
Civil liberties group The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is helping DreamHost fight its case, said: "No plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible".
DreamHost, she said, is part of a years-long backlash by technology companies against the government's collection of consumer data, an issue exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked documents showing how the agency secretly breached company networks.
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