DreamHost wins data battle but the war is not over.
News broke yesterday (22 August) that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a reply to modify its original request for information connected to disruptj20.org, a DreamHost-powered site.
In a blog post, DreamHost wrote that the DOJ had asked the court to exclude “any unpublished media, including both text and photographs that may appear in blog posts that were drafted but never made public … [and] any HTTP access and error logs, meaning visitors’ IP addresses are largely safe”.
‘A huge win for internet privacy’
Right to protest
Government lawyers said that they now “had no interest in records relating to the 1.3m IP addresses”, according to court documents sourced by BuzzFeed News journalists.
“The government values and respects the first amendment right of all Americans to participate in peaceful political protests and to read protected political expression online. This warrant has nothing to do with that right.”
It added that it was not trying to “identify political dissidents of the current administration”.
The government clarified that it was now requesting information from 1 July 2016 to 20 January 2017 as well as the days of the protests.
The request modifications come after DreamHost began a crowdfunding campaign to help with incoming legal bills relating to the case.
The fight is not over for DreamHost
DreamHost reacted to the filing in a statement, describing it as “a huge win for internet privacy”.
It continued: “We absolutely appreciate the DOJ’s willingness to look at and reconsider both the scope and the depth of their original request for records. That’s all we asked them to do in the first place, honestly.”
Concerns remain for the company despite this win, as there are still issues with the DOJ’s request that DreamHost describes as “problematic for a number of reasons”. It is presenting a file to address the remaining – and allegedly constitutional – elements of the request made by US president Donald Trump’s administration.
The hearing is set to run as scheduled in Washington DC on 24 August.