The Stream

Is the US trying to turn protesting into a crime? Part two

Authorities building a case against inauguration day protesters want access to their social media accounts.

As US prosecutors continue to build a case against the so-called J20 defendants, they’re asking for help from Facebook and DreamHost, a website-hosting company.

Earlier this year, the Washington DC police department subpoenaed Facebook, demanding the company hand over the profiles of 200 people arrested over a protest that took place during President Donald Trump’s January 20th inauguration. Prosecutors say coordinated rioting and they want the data to prove it.

Privacy advocates, though, call the demand a “fishing expedition” aimed at uncovering political dissidents.

The judge in the case has ruled in favour of the prosecution. However, Chief Judge Robert Morin ordered certain protections be put in place before authorities conducted any search. The judge also forbade investigators from sharing any information they gather with other government agencies. Judge Morin said his ruling protects the interests of all involved. But does it really? And does this case set a dangerous precedent for the sanctity of the information we all keep online?

The conversation continues in part two of our discussion on the J20 protests.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Scott Michelman
Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU

Baynard Woods @baynardwoods
Senior Reporter, The Real News Network

Lacy MacAuley @lacymacauley
DC activist

Stephanie Lacambra @wwsjl
Criminal Defense Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Read more: 

First trials begin for those charged over inauguration day rioting – NPR
All you need to know about the nearly 200 people facing 60 years in jail for protesting Trump – Yahoo News

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.