The DOJ Wants IP Addresses of Visitors to Trump Protest Website

If the president of the United States were to start collecting information on citizens who oppose him politically, that’d be cause for concern, right?

Okay, then it’s absolutely time to get concerned. The Department of Justice has formally requested information on internet users who visited a website called DisruptJ20, which organized protests of Donald Trump on Inauguration Day.

So far, the site’s webhost, DreamHost, has declined to cooperate with the DOJ. The company does not think it’s appropriate to hand over IP addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers and even photos of the approximately 1.3 million people who visited the site.

“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. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind,” DreamHost posted in a blog. “This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

The DOJ has yet to confirm why it is seeking information about DisruptJ20’s visitors, but it could be an attempt by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to show that he has the back of the president after all. The presumed “best” argument that the government might have for pursuing these IP addresses is that some demonstrators participated in criminal activity on Inauguration Day, with 200 people in D.C. arrested on that day for “felony rioting” and other related charges.

However, it’s not clear that the arrested protesters had visited the website in the first place, not to mention why it would be important for the government to have identifying information on all million plus people who so much as glanced at the website, most of whom probably never made it to D.C. or any protest for that matter.

It’s obvious that the Trump administration wants to make an example of those who protest against them. Most of the protesters arrested that day had additional felony charges tacked on later, leaving them facing serious sentences. Protesters aren’t generally charged with a single felony, so this move by the government looks retaliatory and aimed to scare the resistance movement.

Ultimately, the White House doesn’t even have to win this fight to have an impact on squashing dissent. With Trump’s vindictive streak already on full display, just by showing that the government is keeping close tabs on Trump dissenters, that’s probably enough to scare people from organizing against this authoritarian.

A hearing for this issue is scheduled for Friday, so we won’t know sooner than that whether or not DreamHost is forced to turn over the visitor logs. In the meantime, good for DreamHost for standing on behalf of internet users. As GQ points out, for all we know, the DOJ may have made similar requests of other sites, only they chose to quietly comply rather than wage battle with the powerful federal government.

Someone’s got to stand up to this out-of-control administration. Things will never get better for this country if people don’t have the ability to speak out against our leaders.

Photo Credit: Julia DeSantis

50 comments

Paulo R
Paulo Reeson17 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson17 days ago

ty

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE18 days ago

Thank you

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Shane K
Shane Kennedy29 days ago

Trump and his cohorts are so far up each others asses that they can taste each other's breakfast

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Jen S
Jen Sabout a month ago

Trump certainly knows the tools used by the National Socialists to take over Germany during the 1930s. This sort of behavior was used early and often in Germany.Even the Supreme Court should find this an unlawful request and unconstitutional. There are other similarities as well; neither leader was/is connected to reality. Indeed, like the White Queen, I suspect that both made/make a habit of believing six impossible things before breakfast. That said, he is extraordinarily paranoid and I am not prepared to sacrifice the Constitution for his pitiful, vindictive ego. Resist!

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowmanabout a month ago

How in God's name did these horrific messed up persons ever get into the White House, where all Americans asleep??

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silja salonen
silja sabout a month ago

that feckless wanker .... what can i say but RESIST

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One Heart i
One Heart incabout a month ago

Thanks!!!

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Debbi -W-
Debbi -W-about a month ago

The tRump said he would "run the country like he did with his company." Right into the ground. No other president ever went after everyone who criticized him. He's a bully and typical of bullies, can't take being criticized or made fun of.

We have a right to speak out. He certainly takes advantage of that right, ridiculing and sniping at anyone he doesn't like. He's spoiled rotten vengeful little boy who belongs in a rubber room.

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Jetana A
Jetana Aabout a month ago

Resist!

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