The FBI Is Trying To Get IP Addresses And Mobile Number Of People Who Read A USA Today Article
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is trying to get a list of IP addresses, phone numbers, and other information on people who read a USA Today article about a deadly shooting in February near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that left two FBI agents dead and three wounded, as reported by Politico.
The subpoena (PDF) says it relates to a criminal investigation, and is seeking the information of readers who accessed the article in a specific 35-minute timespan, but it’s unclear who or what the Bureau is trying to track down. USA Today is fighting back against handing over the information, calling the request unconstitutional.
“We were surprised to receive this subpoena particularly in light of President Biden’s recent statements in support of press freedom. The subpoena is also contrary to the Justice Department’s own guidelines concerning the narrow circumstances in which subpoenas can be issued to the news media,” USA Today publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth said in a statement emailed to The Verge.
In a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, lawyers for Gannett (Newspaper publisher) said the demand violates the First Amendment. They also complained that the FBI appears to have ignored the Justice Department’s policy for seeking information from the media.
“A government demand for records that would identify specific individuals who read specific expressive materials, like the Subpoena at issue here, invades the First Amendment rights of both publisher and reader, and must be quashed accordingly,” attorneys Charles Tobin and Maxwell Mishkin wrote on behalf of Gannett.