The federal government issued warrants against three high-profile political activists on Thursday, hoping to access the personal records of roughly 6000 anti-government advocates. The warrants would allow the DOJ full access to the Facebook messages, profiles, and histories of the activists, their friends, their associates, and every person who ‘liked’ their anti-Trump FB page.
In response, the ACLU-DC filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Superior Court to challenge these warrants, suggesting they are too broad.
“The warrants make no provision for avoiding or minimizing invasions into personal and associational/expression information, for preventing such information from being shared widely within the government, or for destroying irrelevant material when the investigation is concluded.” -American Civil Liberties Union
This investigation is linked to anti-Trump protests in January, where over 200 activists were arrested at the presidential inauguration and charged with felony rioting.
While it is possible some these activists might have been looking to incite violence and may be worthy of investigation, we as libertarians should be troubled when the government casts such a wide net. If Facebook complies with these warrants, anyone guilty of visiting an anti-government FB page could come under federal scrutiny.
However you might feel about the anti-Trump demonstrations, we should agree that a person ought not to be judged by the pages they visit. We should fervently resist any attempt by the state to act against our constitutional right to dissent. This administration is trying to bully civilian opposition into silence; and worse, trying to keep tabs on anyone who dares speak against it.
You can read more by Kevin Shaw on Think Liberty here.