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DOJ demands that DreamHost hand visitor IP addresses

DOJ demands visitor IP addresses

A web-hosting and domain registration company, DreamHost, is now fighting the Justice Department’s warrant for information on people that have browsed one of the websites hosted by them and organized a protest against President Trump’s inauguration.

A lot of things have changed in the United States since Donald Trump announced that he would be running for President. While, as we all know, he ended up winning the election and becoming President, there are many people that still do not agree and protest against him.

In the United States of America, it is stipulated in the Constitution that any citizen has the right to express his opinion freely, but it seems that this right might not fully apply.

In the past couple of months, DreamHost has been working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to better understand and comply with the legal process. This includes a Search Warrant with which they are seeking information about one of DreamHost’s customer’s websites.

The website that is discussed here is disruptj20.org, a website that has organized participants for political protests against the present administration of the United States of America. The records that make up the premise for the search warrant are sealed and therefore DreamHost doesn’t have a way to further investigate the claim. The DOJ has asked DreamHost to provide all the available information about the website, information about its owner and all the visitors.

Just like most online service providers, DreamHost is regularly approached by the law enforcement for the means of acquiring information about the customers that might be the subjects of criminal investigations. While the requests aren’t uncommon, the DreamHost legal department makes sure to review every single request and when there is a ground for dismissal, to reject the order or challenge it.

The General Counsel of DreamHost, Chris Ghazarian, states that this specific search warrant that is so general goes against the free association and the right of free speech that Americans have been granted by the Constitution.

DOJ has requested that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million IP addresses of the visitors, their contact information, email content, and photos. All of this is done in order to determine who has visited the website. All the customers have been notified of this pending warrant.

Third parties can gain access to all of your information because you are not protected enough when you are browsing the internet. The monitoring of traffic/users that access certain websites has become a growing issue in recent times so it’s highly important to use a VPN service if you want to make sure that you are fully protected.

The information that DOJ seeks can be used to identify all the individuals who have used the website to express a political view and their opinion is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, making this a violation of basic rights and an abuse of the government’s authority.

DreamHost has challenged the DOJ on the warrant and has tried to come up with a solution by using logical, reasonable and legal arguments.

The DOJ filed a motion at the Superior Court asking for an order that would obligate DreamHost to hand over the information. Chris Ghazarian with the legal team of DreamHost filed legal arguments in opposition to the DOJ’s request for the IP addresses and other personal information of the website’s users. There will be a court meeting on the 18th of August in Washington, D.C where the case will be settled.

DreamHost believes in the internet and the way ideas are able to free-flow in this space in a democratic manner. People should be allowed to express themselves and even their political views on the internet without being afraid of the possibility that they might face criminal investigation for exercising their right to speak freely. This is why DreamHost will take any step which is necessary in order to help and shield the users of their website from any wrongful use of their personal information by any third party.

Of course, the simplest way to make sure that your personal information will not be accessed or used against you is to use a VPN service. If you were to use this then no warrant could be used to gain access to your IP address or other information and you would be completely safe while browsing the web and expressing your opinions.

VPN protects you from these attempts of monitoring because, in short, it creates an encrypted channel through which your data can freely flow from you to the websites you wish to visit and viceversa. VPN offers anonymtiy and security to those who choose to use it and therefore all your data and information is safe from those that would wish to gain access to it without your permission.

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Posted on by in Privacy

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