Nearly two weeks after web hosting provider revealed federal prosecutors were trying to access visitor logs for a website that organized protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a District of Columbia court has ordered DreamHost to comply with a revised Department of Justice warrant. According to The Hill, Chief Judge Robert E. Morin of the Superior Court of Washington D.C. ruled the company must adhere to the amended warrant’s stipulations regarding visitor information for the website disruptj20.org, which supported several inauguration day protests that turned violent.
Per The Hill’s report:
Morin outlined what he described as “added protections” to guard the data of innocent visitors to the website. He directed the government to submit information to the court about its method for searching through the data and minimizing data on innocent third-party visitors to the site.
On Tuesday, prosecutors walked back their initial warrant in a new filing, saying, “The government has no interest in records relating to the 1.3 million IP addresses that are mentioned in DreamHost’s numerous press releases and Opposition brief.” Much of the data the company claimed to possess, the filing continued, “Extends beyond the government’s singular focus in this case of investigating the planning, organization, and participation in the January 20, 2017 riot.” The DOJ was simply concerned with “a small and focused group of individuals” regarding the website and the day’s protests.
Despite the exclusion of the 1.3 million IP addresses, DreamHost attorney Raymond Aghaian remains cautious:
“We think that having the government review the records, having the government have access to the information of the public and as the court has deemed, the innocent third party users, having them see that information and identify who these political dissidents were is problematic. When it comes to sensitive First Amendment issues such as this one, it should not be the case where the government gets to rummage through material to determine whether something is valid or not.”
Neither Aghaian nor anyone else affiliated with the company’s legal team signaled whether or not they would appeal Morin’s decision.