A Coalition of 60 Organizations Sends Letter to Attorney General Re: Justice Department’s Demand for Protest Website Data
Note: AALL and ALA are two of the organizations who signed the letter linked to below.
Today, a broad coalition of over 60 public interest organizations sent a letter to the Attorney General expressing concern over the Justice Department’s demand for information associated with a protest-organizing website. While the Justice Department, in the face of mounting public pressure, has significantly narrowed its initial demand for data on every individual who visited the site, concerns remain over the fact that the government issued such a sweeping request in the first place – and that it continues to maintain that this request was legal and appropriate. Additionally, the information yielded by this demand could still allow the government to identify individuals engaged in constitutionally protected speech and dissent, as well as members of the news media and the public who simply participated in meetings or communicated with organizers whose email accounts are affiliated with the protest website.
In July, the Justice Department filed a motion with the D.C. Superior Court to compel the website provider DreamHost to comply with a search warrant seeking company records and information associated with the website www.disruptj20.org. According to the response filed by DreamHost, complying with this request would have amounted to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of visitors to the website. Two days before a scheduled hearing on the case, in the face of mounting public pressure, the Department narrowed its demand for information related to the website. In a new court filing, federal prosecutors dropped the request for visitor logs and limited the timeframe for part of the demand from July 2016 through Inauguration Day.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.