It's been widely reported that Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Trump administration has issued warrants to Facebook, demanding that they hand over detailed information from three account users. Those accounts belong to anti-Trump protesters who organized protests during his inauguration. Initially, when the DOJ started the process of their investigation against anti-Trump protesters, they claimed had violated the law during the event.

Going after everyone, starting with specific accounts

The violations the Department of Justice are looking to prosecute protesters for are related to property damage and rioting.

But the DOJ's demands for that information has been called a "fishing expedition" as it also targets people who might not be associated with those violations, suggesting that the Trump administration is trying to create a database of anti-Trump activists. This was confirmed in a report by Reuters.

The information they've requested goes past their initial demands, which now includes others who liked the anti-Trump Facebook event page DisruptJ20 who, again, might not necessarily have been involved in violent protests. This would affect what is said to be approximately 6,000 users who liked the page between November 2016 to February 2017.

Specifically, the DOJ issued three warrants, one of them demanding that the page's moderator, Emmelia Talarico, give up details of people who are on their non-public lists.

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Those lists would have the accounts of people who most certainly would have attended political events and the names of those who even commented on any of the content on the DisruptJ20's Facebook page.

ACLU intervenes to block warrants

Two other warrants were obtained by the Justice Department targeting the accounts of Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour, two other DisruptJ20 activists. Those warrants demand their friend lists, comments, photos, status updates, private messages, and other information that broadens the scope of the DOJ's federal probe. The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) DC division filed against the warrants on September 28 with DC's Superior Court, saying that because the warrants were asking for more information, that it was broad enough to not only threaten First Amendment speech but violate the Fourth Amendment.

This was a similar case with the web-hosting company, DreamHost, that hosted the DisruptJ20.org website. The Department of Justice issued a warrant against DreamHost a few months ago demanding information about the site's registered accounts, only to follow up with a warrant for the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited the site. The ACLU fought the DOJ in court forcing them to amend their demands to leave out the IP addresses of site visitors, as well as unpublished posts.