Statement on Justice Department Demands on Dreamhost

On August 15, 2017, May First/People Link issued the following statement:

The demand by the U.S. Department of Justice on Dreamhost, the Internet service provider, represents an outrageous escalation in the government’s recent history of violation of citizens’ rights and should draw a militant and resolute response of resistance.

Dreamhost announced this week that the Justice Department is demanding that it turn over the IP addresses of all visitors to a website – http://www.disruptj20.org/ -- used to organize protests at Donald Trump’s Presidential inauguration. The number of visitors exceeds 1.3 million IP addresses and the order (called a “request” in legal language) also stipulates contact information, email content and even photos, according to Dreamhost.

While demands made on providers for user information have become common over the last few years, this one represents a new level of violation. Visiting a website can’t be a crime nor does it indicate that one has been committed. Demanding information about all visitors to a website is an invasion of privacy and a police-state tactic that would have been unthinkable up until the recent past.

There is simply no way anyone can consider this legal or constitutional.

Under the constitution, we all have a right to visit any website we want with the full expectation that any visit and any information gathered about us during that visit will be kept out of the hands of the government. The rights (under the First and Fourth Amendment) on which that expectation is based have been increasingly violated since the 911 attacks. With this action, they have been completely obliterated.

What’s more, this action isn’t isolated. It is part of a coordinated and rapidly implemented program of repression emanating from this administration in response to the protest and resistance in this country – arising from the continuation of intolerable living and social conditions.

Dreamhost frequently collaborates with the government in these types of requests. We at May First do not. However, Dreamhost is resisting the order and we believe our entire movement should support that resistance and promote the resistance of any such order in the future. We at May First pledge that we will always do so.

May First/People Link has resisted every legal request like this one since 2008 (see https://support.mayfirst.org/wiki/legal). We are glad to see Dreamhost fighting this one. And, we believe our entire movement should support that resistance and promote the resistance of any such order in the future. We at May First pledge that we will always do so.

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