back to article Judge says US govt has 'no right to rummage' through anti-Trump protest website logs

A Washington DC judge has told the US Department of Justice (DoJ) it "does not have the right to rummage" through the files of an anti-Trump protest website – and has ordered the dot-org site's hosting company to protect the identities of its users. Chief Judge Robert E. Morin issued the revised order [PDF] Tuesday following a …

Anonymous Coward

This court case has nothing to do with getting information it's about fear, trying to strike fear in the hearts of people that want to protest.

Curious though, what if someone posted "It they want a riot we'll give them a riot"? would that be enough to get their information?

33
0
Silver badge

I'll bet that if those very same people happened to be protesting against the opposition, suddenly their personal data would be fair game.

We're supposed to believe that this ruling is politically impartial.

7
52
Anonymous Coward

by the same token was the ruling against trumps Muslim ban politically impartial?

If the judiciary ever fully submits to the government then everyone is in the shit and you would be living in a country called Trumpton.

30
0
Silver badge

"Curious though, what if someone posted "It they want a riot we'll give them a riot"? would that be enough to get their information?"

Yes, easily.

FYI: In the london 2011 riots there were two cases of under 18 year olds posting basically that what you've said, plus posting a time to meet IRL on facebook. The people responsible were arrested before the time/date, bail was refused and they got sentances of over four years imprisonment in a young persons institution. Nobody turned up at the locations beyond a couple of hundred police.

People over 18 who did similar are still in jail 6 years on. I'd suggest that advocating riots as opposed to peaceful protests is not a good idea, especially since the criminal justice system in the USA is if anything known quite well for being rather harsher than ours.

14
0
Silver badge

"If the judiciary ever fully submits to the government then everyone is in the shit and you would be living in a country called Trumpton."

Trump is not the government. He's a carefully-chosen figurehead of the government (and an annoying one at that!), but he's not in charge. If he was, he would not have had to back down on his anti-war manifesto.

Then there's this, and this. I'm quite sure we will see which case merits what the FBI terms "public interest" in due course, won't we?

3
3
Anonymous Coward

Trump is the head of the executive. The other elements of the US government are the judiciary and the legislators.

In this it differs from the UK model where the executive is made up of a subset of the legislators and can be called to task by the rest.

8
0
Silver badge
Joke

> Curious though, what if someone posted "It they want a riot we'll give them a riot"? would that be enough to get their information?

My screen name on the site was 'pat_riot'. Am I going to be arrested or not?

5
0
Silver badge

that's way more time then most people would get for inciting a riot over here in state side. The kids might get a max of 18 months.

3
0
Silver badge

The DoJ has not commented on the order.

I suspect there's lots of comments inside the DoJ and the administration like "curses... foiled again." along with volumes of profanity.

27
1
Anonymous Coward

I suspect there's lots of comments inside the DoJ and the administration like "curses... foiled again." along with volumes of profanity.

Whereas I imagine it went more along the lines of "Curses! Nevermind, people. We'll get them another way."

15
0
Silver badge

Ministry of Truth

The DoJ appears to be the Department of anything but.

26
1
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

You are mistaking the ministry of truth for the night watch. They are different departments.

In any case, may I remind you that we have rewritten the dictionary (*)

Nod in the direction of J. Michael Straczynski and Babylon's 5 rehash of ideas from 1984

22
0
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

In any case, may I remind you that we have rewritten the dictionary

The government is trying to rewrite (or shred) the Constitution. It's ironic that the U.S. is actively trying to undermine the Venezuelan government, while our "president" and his clique are suggesting the same rights-violating tactics be applied at home.

33
2
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

@Florida1920 - The ferals have been trying shred the Constitution for decades now and to a certain extent they have succeeded. Every once in awhile one of sleeping non-entities in the courts wakes up enough to veto the latest grab but goes back to sleep soon after.

5
5
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

" Every once in awhile one of sleeping non-entities in the courts wakes up enough to veto the latest grab but goes back to sleep soon after."

Have you spent much or, indeed, any time actually watching real judges at work in courts?

Disclaimer - my experience of this excludes US courts.

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

Dr Syntax, applause. I have seen lawyers and judges at work, and can only assume the commentards here have not had this experience, or they would not be slagging off those who work in a system that is the safeguard and foundation of our society: the rule of law. Are some lawyers ambulance-chasers? Yes. Are some judges a disgrace? Yes. Are some IT people dishonourable BOFH? Yes. Are most of those in each group decent people dedicated to their jobs? Yes.

11
0
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

The first thing that wannabe lawyers are taught in any tertiary institution is that there is no such ting as a "Justice" system. It's a "Legal" system and justice doesn't enter into it.

6
0

Re: Ministry of Truth

We have always been at war with Oceania.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Ministry of Truth

there is a justice system, but it's just for us (them)

2
0

@OP: Agreed. This was intended to have a chilling effect on protests with a few people (of the millions of visitors trawled ) highlighted for show-trials. Enough to make some people think twice in future about engaging with something like this. Or just force it completely underground and let the hardcore idiots run the show. Which would also play into the hands of those who seek absolute control and obeisance.

The order itself though seems incredibly well-thought and formulated to allow the law to be served whilst actively avoiding undermining the lawful privacy of others. Something like this should (in a world considerably saner and nicer than this one) be used as a template for all such requests from the filth for internet records.

Not that it will be of course. Sane results like this directly undermine their attempts to wage economic espionage on a cowed and fearful populace.

40
0
Silver badge

"Not that it will be of course. Sane results like this directly undermine their attempts to wage economic espionage on a cowed and fearful populace."

The way case law works suggests that this will be cited in the future, at least in the US. The great pity is that it's less likely to be useful in the UK.

7
0
Silver badge

They've committed the terroristic offence of bruising Trump's delicate little ego. He cannot tolerate anyone who doesn't worship and grovel to him.

38
1

It is distinctly possible that the DoJ has a number of quietly please career lawyers today. Just because the political appointees want something does not mean that the people tasked with getting them that thing are happy about it. Of course, I'm sure some are unhappy, but ask yourselves how may career lawyers would have been happy about many of the Trump/Sessions "policies" .

11
0
I3N
Devil

Sorry, the forces of the Universe were against us ...

When time came for performance evaluations, as a careerist, that was the best of all outcomes ...

as opposed to a funding cut, which somehow, we were held responsible ....

4
0
Anonymous Coward

What puzzles me is why organisations like this (disruptj20) make such problems possible.

I can see why commercial data thieves (FB etc.) like to have robust mechanisms to personally identify users, but not protest organisations or web hosts.

By analogy, when designing a prison security system you start with the premise that you're in a cellar, with your family, and several coke addled psychopaths with blowtorches that want you to help spring the boss. You then design the system so that you cannot comply. There is no way to place parameters on the degree of coercion that may be applied (governments, like psychopaths, can disregard laws at will) so the only defence is to ensure that coercion cannot achieve anything. The same logic underlies hard drives with thermite charges. You can't expect an individual to refuse to hand over a password so you have bomb disposal experts design the hard drive to physically destroy itself if tampered with.

What that means in cases like this is that the logs in question simply should not exist in a retrievable form. I can see no valid reason for a hosting service to retain data about inbound connections to a given site. It may need to keep aggregate data about bandwidth usage and possibly some specific connection data keyed on hashed IPs, but I can't see any defensible reason for logging anything in a reversible form unless the connection in question is obviously nefarious (e.g. resolving to a .gov domain).

14
1
Silver badge

Re: What puzzles me is why organisations like this (disruptj20) make such problems possible.

I can see no valid reason for a hosting service to retain data about inbound connections to a given site.

How about, for instance, traffic analysis, threat identification, forensic investigation?

0
0
Silver badge

Expect future 'protest' domains to be run by...

...Trump et al....

3
0
MJI
Silver badge

I am still surprised that

Someone hasn't put him out of everyone elses misery.

4
0

Re: I am still surprised that

I'm not. Most of the likely suspects for that sort of thing seem to agree with him!

9
0
Silver badge

Re: I am still surprised that

And those who would help his >ahem< early separation from office along are even more disturbed by the thought of Pence taking over.

2
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: I am still surprised that

And those who would help his >ahem< early separation from office along are even more disturbed by the thought of Pence taking over.

Ah, you mean like why the allies wouldn't kill hitler?

0
0
Silver badge
Windows

This one should be on *everyone's* radar.

1) " Should not keep logs...." In any website - DDOS, hacking, etc - you *DO* need the logs. Keeping them for more than 90 days, or at least some variation of your billing cycle is imperative. Pretty much, once some legal entity has clubbed you with a warrant of any sort, you need to keep them until the case is done. (I do recall a case in reasonably recent history where 'the logs were deleted as part of our normal maintenance' resulting in a corporate type spending some time in jail for contempt).

2) DOJ 'chilling affect' 'witch hunts' 'captive populace'

Education has been slaughtered on the altar of the dollar for the last 40 years. "The Media" have always been tilted one way or another politically, but in the last 40 years, the number of and variety of tilts have been reduced and thinned and mergered down to about three. The basic principle of live and let live (forgive your fellow man) has been sacrificed on the altar of ego (ME! ME! ME!) and then buried by the legal profession itself (Think you've been slighted on the train to work? CALL ME NOW! I don't charge you till I WIN!).

The people in the US have no faith in one another any more, only faith in $$ and ${DEITY}, and good grief, if you don't agree with my politics then you must be a terrorist! There are too few that know *why* this is happening or that this polarization and stratification of groups is being enacted. There are too few that are cognizant of the *number* of tools being used to apply this. And far too few of them are resistant to these tools, AND willing to attempt to correct the direction the society is headed .

(when you are surrounded by enemies who are greater in number and power, feed them to one another, with gentle lies.)

3) DOJ hunting down users of website:

I don't know this judge. I've done no research or history ... This judge would have my vote to move up the chain, simply for providing a clear concise interpretation of 'privacy' in this case. And being willing to take on *THIS* much work (and it is a crapton) in this case to *PROTECT* that privacy. That said, there is more to come and we should keep an eye on it. Because, someone, somewhere will apply leverage to get this case out of this judges court, and or to someone with less foresight.

10
0
Silver badge

Re: This one should be on *everyone's* radar.

"3) DOJ hunting down users of website"

This is the real 1984-like scary thing. Especially if they wanted details of visitors, rather than (or as well as) registered users.

3
0
hj

This is another huge win

not just for DreamHost, but for internet users around the world,

Uh no, just for the US, the rest of the world has nothing to do with American case law...

0
2
Silver badge

Re: This is another huge win

"the rest of the world has nothing to do with American case law"

It wouldn't necessarily be binding on other jurisdictions but it could still be put before a judge as a model of how to handle such a case. If the judge accepted it that might then set a precedent elsewhere.

3
0
Silver badge
FAIL

This is how it is supposed to be done:

DOJ: We would like all available information on the user going by the pseudonym <pseudo> on website <website> as we have grounds to suspect the netizen of criminal activity. Dear judge, here is the evidence against the netizen so far ...

Judge: [decides, based on available evidence] criminal activity on another site with same pseudonym of course does not count.

That is akin to: Dear judge, please provide us with the call history of number 555 3535, we have reason to believe that the holder of the line is engaging in criminal activity, here is the evidence so far .... which is how it has been done for decades ...

Here, they are asking the judge for all SMS records in County Dade and judge says sure, with numbers redacted. You can then request the details of the interesting ones.

Very bad precedent for our USian friends.

0
1

Shell Game!

The NSA just gets the data - and fsck you. Why ask?

0
0
Silver badge

Someone has to try to stop the jackboots from stomping around unhindered.

2
0
Silver badge
Happy

Another Winner Judge For The Orange Dotard

If the Orange Idiot was unhappy with the 'Mexican' judge, this judge, a woman to boot, should really wind him up.

It's good to see some countries have stand-up judges, rather than settling cases down at 'the club' somewhere in 'the city'.

There must be a moral in this somewhere, something about showing respect for one of the three legs of the US Government.

4
0

It'd be funny if it turned out #45 campaign staff were shit posting on the board, filling it with anecdotes of illegal acts so that probable cause was created.

0
0
Meh

Witch hunts

Witch hunts show a lack of both good sense and good civility. Sad to see the U.S.'s right-wing defacto gov't getting involved in such an activity. I remember how the alt+left recently sorely burnt Eich over some donation he made years and years earlier - very sad state of affairs in politics right now - very unclassy people.

2
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017