TechFreedom: DreamHost Warrant Is Illegal

Tech policy think tank TechFreedom has joined others in standing with Web hosting company DreamHost against a government warrant seeking information on visitors to an anti-Trump web site, a warrant DreamHost and TechFreedom say is overly broad.

The Department of Justice has obtained a search warrant for 1.3 million IP addresses of an anti-Trump protest web site.

In addition to the addresses, says DreamHost, Justice wants "contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people" who simply visited the site. DreamHost challenged the warrant, and DOJ has now sought a court order to compel it to produce the information, says the company.

TechFreedom agrees with DreamHost that the warrant fails the Fourth Amendment requirement that the government specifically identify the person or place being searched.

“The Founders outlawed general warrants precisely to prevent governments from harassing their political opponents en masse,” said TechFreedom president Berin Szóka. “If the DOJ can unmask over a million Internet users simply for visiting a website, without any further alleged connection to criminal activity, then no American is safe to use the Internet to access dissident speech. The fear of being unmasked — and subjected to harassment, or far worse — will chill the speech of millions more.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.