The US government is apparently trying to emulate Russia these days as the DOJ is asking a web hosting provider to hand out all possible details on a certain site and its visitors. Surprisingly or not, that site is disruptj20.org, which was used to organize anti-Trump protests across the United States on the President’s inauguration day, on January 20.
According to DreamHost, the DOJ issued a search warrant back in July allowing investigators to seize data from its servers regarding this particular site – source code, logs, databases, email accounts, and so on. The search warrant also implies that they hand over some 1.3 million IP addresses of the people who visited the site.
Naturally, the web host provider hasn’t complied and is fighting the search warrant in court with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who is known for offering help in cases where the government is stepping over constitutional boundaries.
They’ve already tried getting the DOJ to narrow the scope of the data they were looking for, but to no avail – the government refused.
Just as EFF’s Mark Rumold said, there’s no plausible explanation for the DOJ to emit a search warrant so broad. “The Fourth Amendment was designed to prohibit fishing expeditions like this. Those concerns are especially relevant here, where DOJ is investigating a website that served as a hub for the planning and exercise of First Amendment-protected activities,” he added.
What it seems like here is that the DOJ is trying to create a database of sorts with people that are not fans of Donald Trump and who protested during his inauguration day. It hasn’t exactly been a secret that Trump isn’t exactly a fan of people who, well, aren’t fans of his. He’s been whining and griping about the media exposing his lies and wrongdoings since before he was even elected president. He believes he is treated poorly when in reality the media only portrays the truth about his presidency.
There is no plausible explanation for the government to be looking into the visitors of a site that helped organize peaceful protests, as per given the right by the Constitution.
The data they demand would allow prosecutors to create an accurate database of the people who do not agree with Trump. Mix in logs and timestamps with millions of IP addresses, and you get a pretty exact list of Trump opposers. “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,” said DreamHost’s spokesperson.
If this is the direction the United States is going, then the American dream is truly dead. Having the government try to round up those that oppose the commander in chief is straight out of the history books of Eastern Europe. After the second world war, as new politicians rose to power, it became an environment where you were afraid to speak your mind even in the privacy of your own home, for fear that your neighbors might hear and tattle on you, or to speak on the phone for fear it was tapped. Many have spent years in prison for expressing views the leaders of the countries agreed with, persecuted for having a distaste for the president, the ruling party, or the intelligence agencies.
And yet, as the Americans often “throw stones” into the ideologies of the Europe of the past, claiming to be well above them, we see situations such as this, where the government tries to find out the identities of those who hate Donald Trump, a president that is known for having an overly-inflated ego that gets scratched easily by those who show even the slightest of opposition.
Perhaps the people of the United States need to open up those history books, as well as the Constitution, and see what’s happening around them.