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Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists

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posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:26 AM

Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists

(AP / CBS)In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:26 AM
I don't know what to make of this. This CBS blog was brought to my attention through a tweet, and this site in question is a news aggregation site, meaning they only collect news stories previously published elsewhere. , according to the story, is a left of center site, and to tell you the truth I had never heard of it. However the justice dept. requesting all of this info from the site, claiming that telling anyone about the subpeona would cause harm to some one, then withdrawing it when challenged seems a tad odd to me. What thinks you?
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:29 AM
Here is the site, looks rather straight-forward to me as far as I have looked into it.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:49 AM
For some people who may be targets for surveillance, the internet has become a kind of secure means of communication.

If you want to get a message to someone without revealing a person's identity or location then you can post online, often with coded messages.

Try contacting someone on a phone when you do not want to reveal that person's identity or location.... That is exactly what they want you to do.

The internet is the last domain for secure communication..... Posting on large discussion forums and in comments sections where there are a lot of readers will make it difficult for them to find the person(s) a message may have been meant for... Hiding in plain sight!

They can obtain the IP information from everyone that may have read a post, but can they investigate every one that accessed a message if that number was in the hundreds or even thousands?

Face it, they will, in time, find ways to monitor and control the internet.

Even here at ATS.

How big is the "visitors list" here at ATS on an average day?

For some people this type of communication could be a matter of life and death.

They are watching you.

+6 more 
posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:52 AM

Originally posted by Walkswithfish
How big is the "visitors list" here at ATS on an average day?


We do not have or retain server logs... so there is nothing to give if such a request were to come our way.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:52 AM
I would visit the site but I am busy right now logging on to!

It sounds to me like the Justice Department doesn't like the concept of independent news.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:52 AM
I agree wholeheartedly, and unfortunatley it is the truth. I am just wondering what was so important on this subpoenaed day and time to attempt this.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:56 AM
I agree with Walkswithfish or atleast the concept that I picked up

The internet has become a communication device much better than simple letters in the mail, voice conversations etc... because if you can think it, you can send it one way or another.

I see a problem with power, who gets the right to check such sites- what can be done with that information. I believe there should be checks and balances.

Also there are terrorist attacks every day being foiled. The people do not know this because of the successfuly jobs being done by our Government (as corrupt as they may be sometimes). Yet their role in protecting us still remains unchanged. There is a need sometimes for the ability to check up or follow up on somethings. The big issue is WHO CAN DO THESE THINGS! That is what truely frightens us.

I think its ok that they have done this, I also think quite possibly the reason for so much fear is the nonunderstanding of why they needed to do so.

edit to add:

the link to a comment made about the Ft Hood Attacker.

He sounds like he is Pro attacking american citizens. MAYBE thats why??

[edit on 10-11-2009 by rjmelter]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

I thought that legally website were supposed to keep records with topics like the ones ATS discusses? I mean indeed there are some people on here that have rogue ideas that make one go

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 09:00 AM
Here is the porblem though, as a former employee of DHS, I am well aware that any type of info request subpoena is to be done in person and 9 times out of 10, is. This is to impress the necessity of compliance as well as non-disclosure and to maintain investigative integrity. Most journalists left and right and center, understand this premise and generally will do whatever they can to help stop a terrorist attack. This wasn't the case here. This was sloppy and almost sounds like a power-play /intimidation tactic. If this WAS truly a matter of national security or an attempt to prevent an attack, then I will digress. However if it was that then someone needs to be sent back to investigative classes and reoriented on policies and porcedures of investigative integrity.

[edit on 10-11-2009 by djvexd]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 09:08 AM

Originally posted by rjmelter
I thought that legally website were supposed to keep records with topics like the ones ATS discusses?

Not that I'm aware.

The laws specific to the retention of access/user information apply to Internet Service Providers, not content providers.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 09:15 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

That is good to know, but even if they could obtain such a list and information, the numbers alone prohibit probative efforts.

Mind you, this really only works for one way communications... It sucks but it is better than nothing.

One day, hopefully this will enable the truth despite all efforts to eliminate it.

Few things are as dangerous as a corrupt agency seeking something or someone... An agency with powers.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 10:03 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

You telling me this site dont even log the ip of his users ?

I was sure all site owner do it to prevent hacking ?

[edit on 10-11-2009 by Dolby_X]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 10:25 AM
reply to post by Dolby_X

Your internet provider can provide your personal information and your online activity regardless of any log here at ATS or other sites... Proxy servers do not provide anonymity either, in fact their use can flag your activity.

Of course, every time you log in to any site your IP info can be recorded. Cookies for advertisers etc. Online anonymity doesn't exist period... don't be fooled.

But like any system there are flaws to exploit.

One way only.

They can't find the other party if you are clever enough.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 11:21 AM
From the original news item in the OP...

Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant

U.S. attorneys in Morrison's office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena -- claiming it "may endanger someone's health" and would have a "human cost."

If this doesn't give you an idea of just how serious these people are, and how far they will go to get what they want ... Nothing will.

These "threats" seem kind of mob like no?

Because they are!

Don't mess with these people.... It is deadly serious.

A concerned and friendly warning.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 12:51 PM
The mob rules...

How long before we adopt this European internet monitoring?

You guys wish you had these tools now, don't you?

It wouldn't change a thing... You're not going to locate them.

Good luck.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 04:48 PM
Stirring the pot....

Making this investigation more mysterious is that is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there's no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded.

Sound familiar?


Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general's office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that's correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the "express authorization of the attorney general" for media subpoenas -- and

it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved.

I wouldn't be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that.

Internal investigation?

Not a word about the threats that were made?

Getting thick enough for you yet?

Trust no one.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 05:05 PM
Actually I saw a copy of the subpoena. They showed it on Beck tonight, an Asst. US ATTY sign his paw prints to it.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 05:19 PM
reply to post by djvexd

They are not going to give up... Just because their "legal" efforts failed.

Though less favorable much more sinister tactics are available to them.

There are people they badly want to find, and can't... All they have done was try to find them on one website.


posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 05:20 PM

If I was a criminal, i would use a chain of proxy servers or infected computers to post my messages. It is obvious this request was targeting civilians not criminals..

[edit on 10-11-2009 by Romanian]

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