Tuesday, August 15, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Tech Companies Fighting for User Privacy

DreamHost:

The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website. (Our customer has also been notified of the pending warrant on the account.)

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.

[…]

As we do in all such cases where the improper collection of data is concerned, we challenged the Department of Justice on its warrant and attempted to quash its demands for this information through reason, logic, and legal process.

Mitchel Broussard:

Apple, Twitter, Snap, Facebook, Microsoft, and a collection of other technology companies have filed a legal brief this week, aimed at the Fourth Amendment and its “rigid analog-era” protections that lag behind protecting users in the modern age (via Reuters).

Update (2017-08-23): Kate Conger:

The US Department of Justice is rescinding its request for IP logs that would have revealed visitors to a website used to plan a protest during Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Update (2017-08-24): Robert Iafolla:

A District of Columbia Superior Court judge on Thursday approved a government warrant seeking data from an anti-Trump website related to Inauguration Day protests, but he added protections to safeguard “innocent users.”

Some on Hacker News think this may be related to the DDoS that DreamHost is currently experiencing.

Update (2017-08-28): See also: these two DreamHost posts and The Register.

Update (2017-10-11): DreamHost:

Under this order, we now have the ability to redact all identifying information and protect the identities of users who interacted with disruptj20.org before handing over any data to the court. Chief Judge Morin acknowledged that the government “does not have the right to rummage through the information contained on DreamHost’s website” to “discover the identity of . . . individuals not participating in alleged criminal activity.”

[…]

As it stands today, the sum total of requested data in this case very closely aligns with hundreds of other government requests that DreamHost has received, and complied with lawfully, in the past.

We do not intend to appeal the court’s ruling.

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