by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
A legal storm is building after a D.C. judge ordered a web hosting company to give the government a broad swath of data about individuals connected to an anti-Trump website despite arguments that doing so would impinge on their First Amendment rights and stifle online political discourse.
At a hearing Thursday morning in D.C. Superior Court, Chief Judge Robert E. Morin insisted he would put restrictions on how the government reviews the material in order to protect those rights. The government must disclose to the court who will search the material and what process they will use. They must also develop a plan to minimize the search of material unrelated to criminal activity.
You have a First Amendment right to speak.
You do not have a First Amendment right to riot, engage in vandalism or otherwise conduct criminal activity and coordinating, bragging, or announcing intent to do so on the Internet is direct and admissible evidence of intent and thus not only can be used to evidence guilt in an instant case it can also be used to support a charge of conspiracy, mob action, racketeering or similar crimes which involve the coordination of actions by multiple people.
When I ran MCSNet we quite routinely got subpoenaed for various information; there was not one instance in which I considered the subpoena to be worthy of fighting. That’s not to say there couldn’t have been one during that time, just that it never happened in my experience.
This particular issue, in my opinion, falls into the “give it to them” category. It’s clear that the people in question coordinated and communicated using this system and then went on to commit criminal activity; there are 200-odd said people who are currently charged and in the dock.
As such this is not a fishing expedition (which I would oppose); it’s aimed directly at the prosecution of said people.
So yeah, folks, if you’re going to do illegal things it’s a bad idea to do it online where there is virtually always a record kept. In fact on the blog here said records are kept for routine business and operational reasons (e.g. interdicting spam, etc) and if subpoenaed such a demand certainly looks both reasonable and lawful to me.
What I find even more-amusing are the claims that encrypted communications or acts (e.g. Bitcoin) make one secure. The exact opposite is in fact true; an encrypted communication is by definitionadmissible evidence because it is mathematically impossible for it to be emitted by anyone other than the keyholder; ergo, unless your key is stolen the fact that such a transmission exists and verifies against your public key means you sent it, period. When it comes to things like Bitcoin it’s even more-amusing because the conclusive, admissible evidence is intentionally published to the world on an irrevocable basis and thus it is absolutely able to be tied to whoever holds that private key half forever into the future. If whatever that transaction evidences is illegal and that key have can be tied to you at any point in the future you’re done.
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