The Department of Justice has obtained three search warrants from a D.C. court to rifle through the accounts of three Facebook users who it says were involved in protests on Inauguration Day.
Among them is Emmelia Talarico, manager of the disruptj20 page. Liked by 6,000 in individuals who may participated in the Jan. 20 demonstrations, DOJ will have access to the names of all those people, plus anyone who marked themselves as attending disruptj20’s protests, if a civil liberties organization is unsuccessful at halting or narrowing the Trump administration’s warrant.
Court documents that CNN obtained say the warrants pertain to ‘anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.’
The Department of Justice has obtained three search warrants from a D.C. court to rifle through the accounts of three Facebook users who helped organize protests on Inauguration Day
Among them: Emmelia Talarico, manager of the disruptj20 page. Liked by 6,000 in individuals who may participated in the Jan. 20 demonstrations, DOJ will have access to the names of all those people if a civil liberties organization is unsuccessful at stopping the Trump administration
Two other Facebook users were slapped with search warrants, too: Lacy MacAuley, left, and Legba Carrefour, right
The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting the warrants in court on the grounds that they are overly broad and an invasion of privacy.
‘Most of the material demanded bears no relation to the government investigation for which the government sought the warrants,’ ACLU’s court filing says.
In addition to information ‘the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page,’ Talarico argued in court that the government would have access to her ‘personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information.
‘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 lawyer Scott Michelman told CNN.
DOJ’s case against the activists relates to Inauguration Day arrests. More than 200 people were arrested in the nation’s capital city for felony rioting.
Talarico and two other Facebook users slapped with search warrants, Lacy MacAuley, and Legba Carrefour, were not charged in those riots, LawNewz reported.
Carrefour is also pushing back on DOJ’s warrant, CNN says. He argued in court documents that his Facebook account ‘contains a significant amount of private material concerning my personal life.’
He also denied that he was involved in the Washington, D.C. riots associated with Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The activist says he ‘participated in or helped to organize dozens of demonstrations and events of various types in service of political causes’ but not the riots in question.
None of the three individuals the government is seeking information were aware that they’d been targeted when DOJ first tried to snoop through their Facebook accounts because of a government gag order that’s since been lifted, the ACLU says.
Trump’s Department of Justice first sought the information it’s asking from Facebook in February, Michelman told CNN. A court order prohibited Facebook from talking about, he said. The gag order was lifted in mid-September but the proceedings are still sealed.
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 are part of a broader to obtain information on activists who do not support the administration, LawNewz says.
DOJ hit DreamHost with an order to turn over data for DisruptJ20’s website earlier this year. DreamHost fought DOJ in court and succeeded in having limitations put on what information it has to give the government.
The digital address of visitors and unpublished posts on the forum were protected from government prying, LawNewz reported. Government officials were further prohibited from sharing information that is gleaned, even with other agencies.
It was mostly a windfall for the administration, though, CNN has reported. DC Superior Court Judge Robert Morin granted the government’s request for a membership list and the email addresses of the site’s users.