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Justice Department's Dreamhost Subpoena Ramps Up the Police State!

Visiting a website could make you a subpoena target

 

If the U.S. Department of Justice prevails in a case against web-hosting provider Dreamhost, you can become the subject of a criminal investigation by visiting a website.

You don't have to re-read that. The problem is not with your eyes; it's with your government. If the courts uphold this Justice Department action, the erosion of your privacy rights on the Internet, a process that began with the Patriot Act and picked up full-steam under the Obama administration, will have been completed under President Donald Trump.

A major pillar of a police state will now be in place.

You visit. You are a target.You visit. You are a target.

The sorry saga starts last January when the Justice Department began investigating people who had been organizing protests at Trump's inauguration. In this unsavory combination of the federal government's increasingly intrusive actions and Trump's megamania, Justice lawyers presented Dreamhost with a search warrant on a website -- Disruptj20.org -- which was being used to organize those actions.

Did you click on that link? Oh fudge! I should have warned you. You're now a target of the Justice Department's search warrant. To explain...

First thing to understand: the search warrant that is at the center of this case is public but the affidavit that is presented to the court to obtain the warrant isn't. So we don't know what the government is actually investigating and why the data it requests is relevant to that investigation. In short, it's tough to challenge because you don't know what to challenge about it.

The communication with the target of this type of search warrant is accompanied by a series of "requests": demands for very specific information which emanates from the warrant (which is usually not very specific at all).

After its initial "request" to Dreamhost for the names, addresses and other information of the site's owners and managers, the DoJ upgraded its legal orders to acquire a lot of more information about the site including the database records of everyone who signed up for email notifications and particular actions and the IP addresses of all its visitors. The IP address is a number that is randomly assigned to you by your Internet connection provider when you go on-line. It follows you for your entire session on-line and can be used to identify you, where you log in from and what websites you've visited. So people who click on the link and are delivered to the site (like you if you clicked it) have their IP address logged by the server the site is on. You don't have to do anything else.

At last count, over 1.3 million IP addresses have been logged at that site. That's the information the government wants and it's information the government has never before requested from a hosting provider.



story | by Dr. Radut