DreamHost said the warrant is "a clear abuse of government authority."

The Justice Department is seeking the 1.3 million IP addresses that visited a Trump resistance site. The search warrant is part of an investigation into Inauguration Day rioting, which has already resulted in the indictment of 200 people in the District of Columbia. DreamHost, the Web host of the disruptj20.org site that helped organize the January 20 protests, is challenging the warrant it was served as being an "unfocused search" and declared that it was a "clear abuse of government authority."

A hearing on the dispute is set for Friday in Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

"The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses—in addition to contact information, e-mail content, and photos of thousands of people—in an effort to determine who simply visited the website," DreamHost said in a blog post. "That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind."

Chris Ghazarian, DreamHost's general counsel, said (PDF) in a legal filing that the July 12 search warrant "not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website.”

The search warrant says the information is "evidence and instrumentalities of potential rioting." Among other things, the warrant (PDF) demands information related "to the development, publishing, advertisement, access, use, administration or maintenance" of the disruptj20.org site.

DreamHost, based in Los Angeles, said it has been engaged in a behind-the-scenes and months-long battle with the Justice Department over the search warrant. "We intend to take whatever steps are necessary to support and shield these users from what is, in our view, a very unfocused search and an unlawful request for their personal information," DreamHost said.

In a related development, Facebook is fighting a gag order prohibiting it from telling users about search warrants connected to the January 20 rioting.

The protest site is registered to a group called "The Movement" in Washington, DC. The site did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.