Raising an eyebrow in Arizona

The Phoenix New Times is facing grand jury subpoenas of all sorts of crazy crap after publishing a county sheriff’s home address.

Read the whole story (warning – your IP address might end up part of these legal proceedings) in the New Times for all the sordid details, but the rather absurd money quote is the following:

“The subpoena demands: ‘Any and all documents containing a compilation of aggregate information about the Phoenix New Times Web site created or prepared from January 1, 2004 to the present, including but not limited to:
A) which pages visitors access or visit on the Phoenix New Times website;
B) the total number of visitors to the Phoenix New Times website;
C) information obtained from ‘cookies,’ including, but not limited to, authentication, tracking, and maintaining specific information about users (site preferences, contents of electronic shopping carts, etc.);
D) the Internet Protocol address of anyone that accesses the Phoenix New Times website from January 1, 2004 to the present;
E) the domain name of anyone that has accessed the Phoenix New Times website from January 1, 2004 to the present;
F) the website a user visited prior to coming to the Phoenix New Times website;
G) the date and time of a visit by a user to the Phoenix New Times website;
H) the type of browser used by each visitor (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, etc.) to the Phoenix New Times website; and
I) the type of operating system used by each visitor to the Phoenix New Times website.’
Special prosecutor Wilenchik wants this information on each and every New Times reader online since 2004.”

Without touching on the wild angles that are in play in this story (Minutemen, alleged assassination plots, Mexican drug dealers), it’s clearly a crazy notion that a grand jury could subpoena 3.5 years of user data from a news organization, right? Right?

I figure this is worth bringing to light and throwing some attention at.

via the Online News e-mail list.

[UPDATE: Two Village Voice Media execs spent the night in jail, arrested for publishing the subpoena. By the time I get to Arizona…]

[UPDATE: Charges dropped, special prosecutor fired, all is well, reason prevails, nothing to see here, YMMV…]

Published by Ryan Sholin

I'm that guy you know from the Internet.

3 replies on “Raising an eyebrow in Arizona”

  1. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    It’s just absurd. I’d like to know exactly how all that data could be relevant to a single case.

  2. Thats crazy but that whats going to keep happening. The courts will cast a wide net because they really don’t understand or care about who’s rights are being crushed.

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