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The Department of Justice sues DreamHost, a web hosting provider, for visitor I.P. addresses.

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http://www.voanews.com/content/united-states-justice-department-domestic-terrorism-new-position/3005935.html

Angelo Mitchell, Staff Writer

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In 2017 the Department of Justice (D.O.J) sues DreamHost.org for the logs of the website DisruptJ20. If the D.O.J gets these logs they will have access to the 1.3 million I.P. addresses of everyone who visited the website. This is a clear breach of our inalienable rights as American citizens.

“Sounds like a violation of our civil rights,” says Mr. Lofstedt , a social studies teacher, “without a warrant it breaks our civil liberties.” Ms. Heiser, another social studies teacher spoke on the topic as well stating, “It’s a blanket request of every one who visited the website rather than someone specific, and they should have a gotten a subpoena; they should have been more selective in their search.”

According to DreamHost.Org, the warrant requires them to turn over all the information collected by the website including, I.P. addresses of all visitors, the website pages viewed by the visitor, and 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 Department of Justice says,” [The] website was used in the development, planning, advertisement, and organization of a violent riot that occurred in Washington D.C., on January 20,2017.

DreamHost traveled to Washington D.C. to present their case, about the D.O.J records request, in front of Supreme Court Chief Judge Morin. Their case was scheduled on August 24 at 10 a.m.

On August 22 the D.O.J filed a reply with the court to modify its original request for information concerning DisruptJ20. The D.O.J has now asked the court to exclude from their original records request:

  • Any unpublished media, including both text and photographs that may appear in blog posts that were drafted but never made public.
  • Any HTTP access and error logs, meaning visitors’ IP addresses are largely safe.

This was a huge win for internet privacy, but the fight was not yet over. DreamHost still moved forward with the remaining First and Fourth Amendment issues raised by the new warrant and planned on voicing their concerns on 8/24.

That Thursday, 8/24, Supreme Court Chief Judge Morin ruled that the government’s access to DreamHost data would be limited. Chief Judge Morin confirmed the validity of the Department of Justice’s amended request, with some changes, and he is enforcing the D.O. J’s motion to compel.

This was an awesome victory for DreamHost. The protection of privacy is crucial to every Americans rights. This just goes to show, with a will there is always a way, as DreamHost never backed down and did not give up on trying to secure every website visitors data.

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The student news site of Howard W. Blake High School in Tampa, Florida
The right to fight!