Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Grand Jury Subpoenas against 'Phoenix New Times' Seek Online-User Info

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Grand Jury Subpoenas against 'Phoenix New Times' Seek Online-User Info

Article excerpt

In what it claims is a "breathtaking abuse of the Constitution," the alternative weekly Phoenix New Times is being targeted with grand jury subpoenas seeking documents, source material, and even online user information related to coverage of a local sheriff.

In a story posted on the paper's Web site, New Times reports that its coverage of Sheriff Joe Arpaio since his election in 1992, which ranged from scrutiny of prisoner treatment to questionable real estate investments, has sparked the legal action.

"This newspaper and its editorial staff -- both current and former -- are the targets of unprecedented grand jury subpoenas dated Aug. 24," the paper reported. "The authorities are also using the grand jury subpoenas in an attempt to research the identity, purchasing habits, and browsing proclivities of our online readership."

Specifically, the paper claims subpoenas are seeking:

* "All documents related to articles and other content published by the Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times Web site, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Jan. 1, 2004 to the present."

* Information on all those who have accessed the New Times site, including: "which pages visitors access; the total number of visitors to the Phoenix New Times website; information obtained from 'cookies,' including, but not limited to, authentication, tracking, and maintaining specific information about users; the Internet Protocol address of anyone that accesses the website from Jan. …

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