Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security

// // //

Final Decision in Dreamhost Battle With DOJ

In the legal battle between the Department of Justice and Dreamhost, a resolution and a victory.

In August, Security Now reported on the legal battle between hosting provider Dreamhost and the US Department of Justice. On October 10, the judge in the case made a final ruling -- and it looks as though Dreamhost got most of what it was fighting for.

Security Now covered the first salvoes in the battle and yesterday had a chance to correspond with DreamHost's general Counsel Christopher Ghazarian. Before our conversation, Dreamhost announced the judge's decision in a blog post titled, "The End of the Road." In the post, the company wrote, "Today Chief Judge Morin of the Washington D.C. Superior Court issued the court’s final order, and we’re elated to see significant changes that will protect the constitutional rights of innocent internet users worldwide."

How will those rights be protected? According to Dreamhost, "Under this order, we now have the ability to redact all identifying information and protect the identities of users who interacted with disruptj20.org before handing over any data to the court."

Asked about the specific information that Dreamhost may now remove from the information provided to the government, Ghazarian said,

  1. HTTP logs consisting of 1.3 million IP addresses of website visitors
  2. User identifying information of any non-subscribers who communicated through, or interacted with, the website
  3. Names, emails, addresses, member and email lists, IP addresses, etc.
  4. Unpublished draft publications, work product, and documentary materials under the Privacy Protection Act
  5. Info protected by attorney-client privilege

In addition, he said, Dreamhost will redact, "A ton of court-applied protections and procedures that were not part of the original warrant." And even some specific information that will be provided is subject to review. "#3 and #4 are subject to the Court's review, as we have to provide a log of these materials to explain why we’re not turning them over," Ghazarian said.

And that is an important point in all of this: There is material that Dreamhost will be turning over to the government under this ruling. Ghazarian said, "DreamHost will still provide some data, such as (1) data belonging to the account owner, (2) records and data that are outlined in the new Order (but with all identifying information redacted), (3) website database files, etc."

You're invited to attend Light Reading's 11th annual Future of Cable Business Services event. Join us in New York on November 30 for the premier independent conference focusing on the cable industry's continuing efforts in the commercial services market – all cable operators and other communications service providers get in free. 

As Dreamhost wrote in the blog post announcing the ruling, "As it stands today, the sum total of requested data in this case very closely aligns with hundreds of other government requests that DreamHost has received, and complied with lawfully, in the past." The essential disagreement, according to Dreamhost, was not with the government's warrant but with the scope of the information the Department of Justice was requesting under that warrant.

Dreamhost wrote, "To be clear, DreamHost has been deputized to redact sensitive information. No government employee will see this data until we’ve personally gone over it with a fine-toothed comb." For companies that collect personally identifiable information, this ruling is important because it does confirm limits on the government's legitimate interest in data that can be requested under a warrant. As interest in that information increases, limits will be critical for customer confidence -- and could be an essential consideration in compliance with international regulations such as GDPR.

Related posts:

— Curtis Franklin is the editor of SecurityNow.com. Follow him on Twitter @kg4gwa.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Improving Enterprise Cybersecurity With XDR
Enterprises are looking at eXtended Detection and Response technologies to improve their abilities to detect, and respond to, threats. While endpoint detection and response is not new to enterprise security, organizations have to improve network visibility, expand data collection and expand threat hunting capabilites if they want their XDR deployments to succeed. This issue of Tech Insights also includes: a market overview for XDR from Omdia, questions to ask before deploying XDR, and an XDR primer.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-02
NVIDIA DGX A100 contains a vulnerability in SBIOS in the BiosCfgTool, where a local user with elevated privileges can read and write beyond intended bounds in SMRAM, which may lead to code execution, escalation of privileges, denial of service, and information disclosure. The scope of impact can ext...
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-02
Zoho ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus MSP before 10604 allows path traversal (to WEBINF/web.xml from sample/WEB-INF/web.xml or sample/META-INF/web.xml).
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-01
An issue in the languages config file of HongCMS v3.0 allows attackers to getshell.
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-01
An issue in the /template/edit component of HongCMS v3.0 allows attackers to getshell.
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-01
GnuPG through 2.3.6, in unusual situations where an attacker possesses any secret-key information from a victim's keyring and other constraints (e.g., use of GPGME) are met, allows signature forgery via injection into the status line.