(August 15, 2017)
Web hosting provider Dreamhost is fighting a Dept of Justice order to release broad-ranging data about visitors to a website that organized protest rallies in Washington DC on January 20, 2017. That was Trumps inauguration day, and saw large protests, which the Dept. of Justice's Search Warrant called riots, against Donald Trump. The information demanded by the DoJ is "highly untargeted" and includes visitor IP addresses, along with contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people. According to Dreamhost, the web hosting provider, the DoJ's search warrant is an attack on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.
Last weekend a protest by NEO-Nazi white supremacists in Charlottesville Virginia was intended to "protect" a statue of Civil War leader Robert E. Lee. That protest turned very violent, including an incident of a car used as a battering ram to drive into a crowd of peaceful anti-fascist protesters, killing one and injuring dozens of other people. In the wake of that protest the Daily Stormer website, billed as the most Genocidal website on the planet, has taken offline by web hosting provider GoDaddy over Terms of Service violations. Reportedly the Daily Stormer's staff has tried to shift web hosting to other providers, but has yet to find an agreeable hosting provider. Seems that publishing a website encouraging people to violence is against the terms of service.
What's common from these extreme ends of the political spectrum is the role the web hosting provider plays in implementing our right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.
Any group denied the ability to host a website cannot speak their message to the world. Guaranteeing freedom of Speech and the other freedoms means guaranteeing that freedom for everyone, including those with whom you disagree.