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Justice Department Pulls Back on Anti-Trump Website Warrant

Justice Department Pulls Back on Anti-Trump Website Warrant”

The website host that was given the request, DreamHost, has said the warrant for the 1.3 million IP logs was too broad and would have required the company to provide "all information available to us" about the site,

The Justice Department is defending its request for information about an anti-Trump website that prosecutors allege was behind destructive Inauguration Day protests.

"That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution's First Amendment".

The department proposed asking the court to amend the warrant, and said that DreamHost "should not disclose the contents of unpublished draft publications" or "HTTP request and error logs". "This Warrant has nothing to do with that right", wrote Phillips.

Dreamhost had gone public with its fight against the US DOJ request last week. "That's all we asked them to do in the first place, honestly", DreamHost said in a blog post.

A hearing is scheduled for August 18; the DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But prosecutors wrote Tuesday that "what the government did not know when it obtained the warrant - what it could not have reasonably known - was the extent of visitor data maintained by DreamHost that extends beyond the government's singular locus in this case".

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As part of its case against the site, the DOJ served a sweeping warrant [PDF] on web-hosting company DreamHost, seeking virtually every piece of information DreamHost might have about DisruptJ20 and its visitors.

A hearing is still scheduled for Thursday at 10 Superior Court in Washington.

The government clarified that it was now requesting information from 1 July 2016 to 20 January 2017 as well as the days of the protests.

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

"The website was not just a means to publicly disseminate information (as many websites are created to do), but was also used to coordinate and to privately communicate among a focused group of people whose intent included planned violence", the reply, which was sent to reporters on Tuesday, states.

The DOJ backing down is certainly a victory for civil rights, but the fact that the rest of Phillips' statement amounts to the government admitting it hadn't anticipated that there could be so much data surrounding the 1.3 million visitors it wanted to snoop on is a bit unsettling. DreamHost said in a blog post that it still plans to challenge certain "first and fourth amendment issues raised by the warrant" at the hearing.

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