DreamHost to appeal ruling on DOJ request for data on anti-Trump site

DreamHost to appeal ruling on DOJ request for data on anti-Trump site

The web hosting company ordered to produce data on an anti-Trump website to the Department of Justice said Tuesday that it will appeal the order. 

DreamHost said in a court filing that it “intends to appeal, although it is still examining the issues,” and proposed that a stay be issued pending an appeal.

The company was thrust into the spotlight last month after raising concerns over a search warrant requesting information and data on the website disruptj20.org, which was used to organize protests against President Trump on Inauguration Day. The company initially said that complying with the request would amount to turning over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the federal government. 

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The Justice Department has since dropped its request for these IP addresses, saying that it is solely focused on information that could constitute evidence of criminal rioting tied to the Inauguration Day protests. The government has requested what is viewed as a broad swath of information and data related to the website, but is only allowed to seize information that could be evidence of violations of D.C. criminal code governing rioting, according to the amended search warrant. 

However, lawyers for DreamHost argued at a hearing in D.C. court on Aug. 24 that the government’s revised warrant still raises First and Fourth Amendment concerns, given that it would allow the government to obtain email lists and correspondences between the website managers and third parties. 

Chief Judge Robert Morin of the Superior Court of D.C. ruled, however, that the government could move forward with its amended search warrant under the court’s supervision.  

“While the Court ultimately ordered DreamHost to provide the records to the government, there is a significant chance that an appellate court might rule that disclosure of such records violates the First and Fourth Amendments,” DreamHost wrote in the Tuesday filing. 

“This Court has ordered DreamHost to disclose what is tantamount to names and a membership list of a political advocacy group and has also authorized the government to obtain content from various different email accounts with one search warrant without any specificity or identification as to each of the email accounts at issue,” the filing states. 

“DreamHost believes it has a high probability of success on the merits, at least on these issues, if not others.”

The government has already filed its own proposed order.

More than 200 people have been indicted in connection with the Inauguration Day protests.