American web host and domain name registrar DreamHost today announced that a warrant for it to hand over private site visitor information to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has been turned down, as the company believes such a move goes against the country’s constitution. The DoJ had requested information on approximately 1.3 million visitors to disruptJ20.org, a website used to organize protests against US President Donald Trump.
DreamHost claims that complying with the warrant would amount to handing over around 1.3 million visitor IP addresses, contact information, business information, email details, payment and service details, information about any domain name registrations and possibly photos of visitors of the website to the US government.
In a blog post, DreamHost explains its current stance on the matter:
The internet was founded — and continues to survive, in the main — on its democratizing ability to facilitate a free exchange of ideas. 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.
Last month, the DoJ filed a motion in the Washington, D.C. Superior Court asking for DreamHost to be compelled to present necessary information. The warrant aimed at collecting any information about violations of the D.C. code regarding felony riots. More than 200 people were indicted on felony rioting charges in connection with the protests in Washington on President Donald Trump’s inauguration day.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 18th, in Washington where DreamHost’s general counsel, Chris Gharzarian, is expected to represent the company.