The Trump Administration and the Department of Justice have a new tactic in fighting off their rivals with news of warrants being served to Facebook for users associated with the "disruptj20" Facebook page. At first glance, it appears that the DOJ and Trump may be overstepping their constitutional authority, but it is still too early to know for sure, considering certain details of the DOJ warrants have not been released yet.
As reported by CNN, the Department of Justice seeks information on the Facebook page, "disruptj20," which is ran by the Facebook user, Emmelia Talarico. There are also two other users that are at the center of this probe being conducted by Trump and the DOJ: Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour. But that is not to say that they are not fighting back, trying to get some constitutional grounds to maintain their privacy and disrupt government overreach.
It appears as though the American Civil Liberties Union has also gotten involved with the matter and filed motions with the court to quash those DOJ warrants, but there has been no word yet just how successful they have been. It might also be worth noting that these warrants that Trump and the DOJ obtained were issued to Facebook back in February, 2017, with a strict gag order that forbade them from notifying the users, which was lifted in September.
DOJ Seeking Info on 6,000 People Who 'Liked' Anti-Trump Facebook Page https://t.co/nBpcR8y32I pic.twitter.com/BkSCCVHDhOThe warrants specifically say that the DOJ and Trump are targeting these three specific Facebook users who are "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies."
— LawNewz (@law_newz) September 28, 2017
Among the obvious reasons that these Facebook users and the ACLU are worried, the constitutionality of the issue is perhaps most critical. Talarico said that if the DOJ and Trump are successful with this, they could collect her own personal data, along with all of her lists and invitations to people for many political events that the Facebook page sponsored.
An attorney with the ACLU, Scott Michelman, also noted that there is much more at stake than just exposure to a government entity.
"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," Michelman told CNN.
Trump administration lawyers are demanding Facebook account info of "anti-administration activists," documents show https://t.co/45hprHB65r pic.twitter.com/FdKHMP86z0Additionally, the DOJ warrants for web provider DreamHost also sought to collect user data for the people who signed up with the disruptj20.org website. If they are successful, they will be able to collect data from all users of the website, including those who had simply clicked on the website as well as their e-mail addresses.
— CNN (@CNN) September 29, 2017
Neither the DOJ, nor Facebook have responded to requests for comment at this time.
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