Justice Department Wants Facebook Anti-Trump Users' Accounts

Trump protests at the center of insanely broad government requests for Facebook data

The Justice Department has obtained three warrants to search the Facebook accounts of people associated with protests of Donald Trump's inauguration and an anti-Trump Facebook page they used to organize the demonstrations.

Facebook was served with the warrants in February 2017 which included a gag order which prevented Facebook from informing the three users of the warrants.

The page, now called "Resist This" is public, but the warrant seeks the names of people who planned to attend organizing events and those who "simply liked, followed, reacted to, commented on, or otherwise engaged" with the Facebook page, according to the ACLU.

The revelation that DOJ ordered Facebook to turn over the account information for Carrefour and MacAuley and Talarico's anti-Trump page led to the current court battle that ACLU is taking part in.

The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies".

United States government lawyers are trying to get private information held on the Facebook accounts of three anti-administration protesters, according to court documents posted online.

Facebook has yet to say if they will comply with the warrants, and the Justice Department has yet to comment on the request.

"What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to have their political associations and views scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting", ACLU attorney Scott Michelman told CNN.

The other two warrants pertain to the individual Facebook accounts of two others, Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour.

Requested data would go back to November 1, 2016, a week before the presidential election. One of the targeted activists said in a filing that the government would have access to information about her long history of unrelated political activity, including posts identifying others who participated in various marches and sit-ins.

"The enforcement of the warrants would chill future online communications of political activists and anyone who communicates with them, as they will learn from these searches that no Facebook privacy setting can protect them from government snooping on political and personal materials far removed from any proper law enforcement interest", the filing warns. The DOJ had gone to Dreamhost first in its attempts to retrieve users' personal information, as the DisruptJ20.org website ran off its servers. DreamHost fought DOJ in court and succeeded in having limitations put on what information it has to give the government.

The ACLU claims prosecutors are seeking information that isn't relevant to the investigation. A court order prohibited Facebook from talking about, he said.

The government has already attempted to gain access to 1.3 million IP addresses of people who visited the DistruptJ20 website.

The digital address of visitors and unpublished posts on the forum were protected from government prying, LawNewz reported.

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