The Department of Justice has reached a new low. According to DreamHost.com, the Department of Justice has requested the IP addresses of 1.3 million users of disruptj20.com, a website used by political activists to organize demonstrations, including ones against the government
With this information, the Department of Justice could identify people for using their first amendment right. This could lead to the wrongful charges of thousands of people for felony rioting, a crime that is often wrongfully distributed to peaceful and law abiding protesters.
While DreamHost has continued to fight for the right to privacy of its millions of users, the fact that the government is actively pursuing peaceful protesters and their right to organize is nothing less of terrifying. With an administration that is already pushing the boundaries of legality, this effort serves as an allusion to the fictional world of 1984, or the true reality faced by millions under dictatorships like that of North Korea.
DreamHost has pledged to fight for their users, and is actively fighting the request brought forward by the Department of Justice. According to their blog post about the incident: “Internet users have a reasonable expectation that they will not get swept up in criminal investigations simply by exercising their right to political speech against the government.”
While the request has currently been unsuccessful, it nonetheless serves as a precedent for future actions under the current presidential administration. While more infringements of the rights of the citizens are bound to happen, it is the job of concerned citizens to speak up for themselves if there is to be any hope of resistance against corruption.