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USA Today fights FBI subpoena for info on readers of article – Riverside, California

Riverside, California 2021-06-04 20:44:21 –

The FBI subpoena seeks information about some people who clicked on an article about a child pornography suspect who shot and killed two FBI agents.

Washington — The FBI has issued a subpoena requesting investigators to provide information to agents to track readers of USA Today’s article on suspected child pornography cases. Shot dead two FBI agents in February..

A subpoena submitted to the company in April was revealed by media companies this week Documents to be submitted In federal court, the judge was asked to invalidate the subpoena. The Justice Department’s actions were immediately condemned by defenders of press freedom.

The news came when the Justice Department revealed in recent weeks that it had seized reporter email and phone records in at least three individual cases during the Trump administration. This raises questions about what federal authorities have the freedom to use the press, journalists, and their work as research tools.

The subpoena asks for information about the person who clicked on the article for about 35 minutes from the day after the shoot. It looks for the location of your computer, the company or organization you belong to, and the IP address that may be used to identify its registration location, along with the identity of your mobile phone.

The subpoena does not specifically ask for the name of the person who read the article, but such identification could easily lead a federal agent to the reader.

Despite many other media outlets, including the Associated Press, reporting extensively on the shooting of Florida, one of the bloodiest days in FBI history, the FBI has provided information specifically on USA Today’s article. I don’t know why I asked for it.

Suspect Fired at the agent When arriving to request a federal investigation warrant in a child exploitation case. Two agents, Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwarzenberger, were killed and three were injured.

Maribel Perez Wasworth, publisher of USA Today and president of USA Today Network, wants the government to hand over “personal information” about readers to the press and is summoned to protect the relationship between readers and journalists. He said he was fighting the warrant. The company also contacted the FBI before asking the judge to revoke the subpoena, but she said she didn’t get “substantial answers or meaningful explanations about the alleged grounds of the subpoena.” Stated.

“We intend to counter the request for a subpoena to identify information about the individual who viewed the USA Today news report,” Wadsworth said in a statement. “Who is reading the content of our website?” Being forced to tell the government clearly violates the First Amendment. “

FBI agents who signed the subpoena to Ganette have worked for years in child exploitation cases, testifying in several criminal cases related to child pornography crimes, newspaper articles and other public records. is showing.

The first subpoena reported by Politico states that information is needed as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Federal authorities do not provide additional details regarding the investigation.

“This is an extraordinary request that approaches the heart of the First Amendment. For good reason, courts have usually denied government access to this type of confidential information, except in very rare circumstances. “Jameel Jaffer, Secretary-General of the First Amendment to the Knights Institute at Columbia University, said.

The Justice Department has revealed in recent weeks that investigators have secretly obtained journalist call records. Washington Post, New York Times And CNN To identify the sources that provided national security information released in the first few months of the Trump administration. President Joe Biden said the Justice Department would not seize reporters’ phone records, It remains unclear if it is that promise Can be kept.

“This subpoena, especially when viewed side by side with the subpoena made by the Justice Department under the Trump administration to obtain journalist records, requires stronger protection of records relating to freedom of speech and the press. Strongly suggests, “said Jafar. ..

The Justice Department has struggled to balance the constitutional rights of the media with the government’s interests in protecting sensitive information and collecting information on criminal cases in both Republican and Democratic governments.

During the 2007 investigation, FBI agents impersonated the Associated Press journalist while investigating the threat of a bomb at a high school in Washington State. When the agent communicated with the suspect online, he portrayed himself as an AP journalist, then sent a link to a forged AP news article, which the FBI could now locate the suspect. It was.

This strategy was announced in 2014 and two years later by the FBI. Restrictions imposed Regarding the ability of agents to pretend to be reporters, that didn’t eliminate that practice.

In 2013, federal investigators secretly seized the Associated Press reporter and editor’s two-month phone records, including 20 lines of phone records for both AP offices and journalists, including home and mobile phones. And seized.

The Justice Department then issued revised guidelines for leak investigations under then Attorney General Eric Holder, which required an additional level of review before journalists were summoned.

USA Today fights FBI subpoena for info on readers of article Source link USA Today fights FBI subpoena for info on readers of article

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