USA Today pushes back against FBI demands for reader IP addresses
USA Today is pushing back against the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as it attempts to uncover the IP addresses of readers who read a certain article during a specific time frame. According to Slate magazine, the demand is part of an ongoing investigation for which the FBI has issued a subpoena.
The publication reports that the law enforcement agency's request is very specific as the demand breaks all the way down to a certain time of day when the article was released on Feb. 2. That article offered details about the series of events that unfolded when agents in Sunrise, Fla. attempted to serve a warrant at a local apartment complex. The situation reportedly escalated into a shooting that claimed the lives of two agents, identified as Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, and left three other individuals wounded.
The shooter, later identified as David Lee Huber, killed the agents before turning the gun on himself.
Per Slate magazine:
"The subpoena, which demanded the information of those who accessed the story during a 35-minute window starting at 8:03 p.m. on the day of the shooting, was issued in April but only became public recently as Gannett, USA Today's parent company, fought it in court."
In addition to IP addresses, the bureau is also requesting mobile identification information. According to the subpoena, the article is being targeted because the information reported by the publication was supposed to be part of an investigation and kept "under wraps 'indefinitely,'" Slate reports.
"The FBI has failed to demonstrate compliance with the United States Attorney General's regulations for subpoenas to the press—regulations that President Biden himself recently pledged the Administration would follow," the company's lawyers wrote.
In response to the FBI's demand for info that could identify readers of a USA Today story, @rcfp Exec. Director Bru… https://t.co/Z4kc7kcMbt— Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (@Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) 1622855035.0
However, USA Today is pushing back against the request. According to USA Today publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth, the bureau is attempting to force the news outlet to "tell the government who reads what on our websites is a clear violation of the First Amendment."