The Stream - Why do US authorities want protestors' Facebook accounts?

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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 DisruptJ20.org 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.

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