The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking personal information, including IP addresses, of all visitors to a political website called disruptj20.org. In total, This past Monday, Dreamhost unveiled details about their ongoing legal battle with the United States government to protect the IP addresses and therefore identities of the 1.3 million website visitors. Dreamhost first received the search warrant in July and has been fighting vehemently against the government request using the First and Fourth Amendment. Dreamhost sounded the alarm in a blog post:
“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”
Dreamhost’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian stated in their motion:
“This specific case and this specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach by a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions. You should be concerned that anyone should be targeted simply for visiting a website.”
The first hearing in DC court is happening on Friday, August 18th.
The best way to protect your IP address is with a VPN
This request for a list of IP addresses is interesting because it contrasts with another known method for the government to siphon up IP addresses of visitors connecting to a particular website. The Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA keeps a log of visitors to websites such as the Linux Journal, Tor, and Tails OS and labels them as extremists. In the current political climate, it seems that your IP address is available to those that seek it – one way or another.
Activists, wherever they may fall on the political spectrum, especially need to make sure they use a virtual private network (VPN) when