The FBI is trying to get IP addresses and phone numbers of people who read a USA Today article

The bureau seeks information about who reads a specific article at a specific time.

The FBI is trying to obtain a list of the IP addresses, phone numbers and other information of people who are using a . read United States of America today Article about the death of two of its agents (Via politician) summons (PDF) says it pertains to a criminal investigation, and is seeking information from readers who accessed the article in a specific 35-minute time frame, but it is unclear who or what the bureau intends to track. is trying. United States of America today Calling the request unconstitutional, it is fighting against handing over the information.

“We were surprised to receive this subpoena, especially in light of President Biden’s recent statements in support of freedom of the press. The subpoena also contradicts the Justice Department’s own guidelines regarding narrow circumstances in the news media. summons may be issued to United States of America today Publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth said in an emailed statement The Nerdshala.

article in question One was published on February 2, 2021, describing a shootout that occurred during FBI agents tried to execute the search warrant In a child pornography case that resulted in the deaths of two FBI agents and the suspect. The summons, filled out by an FBI special agent, requests a large amount of information about the devices that published the article from 7:03 p.m. ET to 7:38 p.m. ET.

Part of the summons, which was sent by the FBI to a closed office.
Image: court listner

It is unclear why the request was made, given that the suspect described in the article was reported to be dead by the time the article was published. Whatever the FBI is looking for, United States of America today They say in your court filing (PDF) that the request violates the First Amendment, citing several rulings in previous cases where the government was not allowed access to similar records. It also argues that the FBI may have a chilling effect on its journalistic efforts by accessing the general records of those who read a story – as cited in a 1953 motion by a Supreme Court justice seeking such information. The government can make people feel like someone is sitting on their shoulders and reading.

Perez Wadsworth said in a statement that United States of America todayU.S. attorneys attempted to contact the FBI before proceeding to contest the summons in court. Despite these efforts, we never got any concrete reply nor any meaningful explanation of the grounds laid down for the summons,” she said. “We intend to fight the demand for subpoenas to identify information about individuals who viewed USA TODAY news reports. The government is being forced to disclose who reads what is on our websites. There is a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

He said USA Today has asked the court to cancel the summons “to protect the important relationship and trust between USA Today readers and our journalists.”

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