"the free speech wing of the free speech party"
June 21, 2018 10:24 AM   Subscribe

 
If they really want to play dirty, they should list them as "LinkedIn profiles of people who may have IT jobs open." I'd like to get off THAT list.
posted by randomkeystrike at 10:30 AM on June 21, 2018 [20 favorites]


Gosh, amazing how snappily these organizations move to remove stuff, when it's a matter of kowtowing to those in power. As compared to their shrugs and 'we can't do anything about it, freeeee speeeech' when it comes to women and PoC being harrassed.

(this is entirely separate from the question of whether they should have removed this stuff, it's that the difference in treatment is grating)
posted by tavella at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2018 [161 favorites]


At the same time, we should be seriously questioning the opening of the Pandora's Box of doxxing. This is a weapon that is more easily wielded against and more harmful to the powerless,and thus we should be very reluctant to legitimize its use.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:51 AM on June 21, 2018 [27 favorites]


This is a weapon that is more easily wielded against and more harmful to the powerless,and thus we should be very reluctant to legitimize its use.

Because if the alt-right is known for anything it's respecting common decency.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2018 [30 favorites]


  1. This isn't doxxing. These people are publicly listing themselves as employees of ICE, which is a government agency that taxpayers are supporting.
  2. This is not "opening the Pandora's Box", because reactionaries have been doxxing marginalized people for years using the exact same platforms (and Twitter et al. haven't done jack shit to stop it). This is using similar tactics against agents of the police state that have already been weaponized against members of marginalized communities.
posted by protocoach at 10:58 AM on June 21, 2018 [154 favorites]


Pretty sure the lid of Pandora's Doxxing Box has been torn off the hinges quite a while now.

And there's a pretty huge difference between making a list of public employees who you want to be held accountable for the job they are doing and publishing the private employment info of someone you want harasssed for reasons outside of the job they are doing.

Or: what protocoach said. Teach me to use MeFi on my phone.
posted by straight at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2018 [12 favorites]


Seconding "this is not doxxing." These are public profiles. Nobody's giving out private email contact and home address info. These are the profiles they want people to see when they're looking for a job, running for office, or become eligible for an award.

They just don't want people to see them when they're quietly complicit in child torture.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2018 [65 favorites]


Doxxing is revealing private information. It comes in two general flavors:

1) Publishing personal contact information of a non-anonymous figure. (E.g. "Bobby Hill's address is 84 Rainey Street, Arlen, Texas")
2) "Unmasking" pseudonymous figures. (E.g. "Rusty Shackleford is really Dale Gribble.")

Saying "Tom Smith works for ICE" is absolutely not doxxing. Especially not if Tom Smith said so on LinkedIn. Double-especially if Tom Smith is a government employee and his employment is a matter of public record.
posted by explosion at 11:04 AM on June 21, 2018 [49 favorites]


It's absolutely doxxing. The fact that I came from public information doesn't change that. What is the use of this if not for mass targeting of people for harassment? ICE is reprehensible, but that doesn't mean targeting anybody who works there is a good idea.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


It's absolutely doxxing. The fact that I came from public information doesn't change that. What is the use of this if not for mass targeting of people for harassment? ICE

If you take a phone book and retitle it "Mass Targeting of People for Harassment" and send it to professional harassment agents, while it may be mass targeting of people for harassment, it is not doxing.
posted by Jairus at 11:08 AM on June 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


[I'd like to ask folks up front to try and tackle this with a little more cool than it might naturally tend toward. This whole developing situation is at the intersection of several things that'd each be heated as a standalone topic, and all of which we've discussed on MetaFilter before, so to the extent that it's kind of A Big Thing as a juxtaposed internet/media/government phenomenon I think it's worth having a thread about but it would be enormously helpful to try and keep the discussion focused on the actual specific situation and it's details and development. Please don't just lapse into three different general arguments about the various subjects themselves. Thank you for helping keep this thread manageable.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


This isn't doxxing. These people are publicly listing themselves as employees of ICE, which is a government agency that taxpayers are supporting.

Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them? I know I wouldn't, which is why I don't find it acceptable on this side either.

If you find this strategy to be acceptable, that's one thing - but be honest about what you're doing.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2018 [20 favorites]


If you take a phone book and retitle it "Mass Targeting of People for Harassment" and send it to professional harassment agents, while it may be mass targeting of people for harassment, it is not doxing.

If you're extracting specific information from the phone book to enable direct targeting of individuals for harassment - yeah, that's doxxing.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Doxxing is horrible. These people deserve it, but the taboo is there for a reason. I'm sure I could be stalked using only publicly available data, and the point isn't that your identity and place of work is a secret - making it available in one handy place is transformative, and it's disingenuous to claim otherwise by talking about "people could engage in private harassment campaigns".

I mean, if you were on a list on the Internet along with your photo because of your unpopular job, you'd consider it doxxing, the fact that these people deserve worse doesn't change what it is.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:15 AM on June 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them?

That is basically what the right wing has been doing since the 90s.
posted by weed donkey at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2018 [31 favorites]


...which is why I don't find it acceptable on this side either.

I feel like the "I don't find this useful tactic acceptable on my side" sort of kowtowing to people who absolutely do not give a shit is how we got in this situation in the first place.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2018 [45 favorites]


If you're extracting specific information from the phone book to enable direct targeting of individuals for harassment - yeah, that's doxxing.

In no universe would I ever consider republishing data from user-supplied public profiles to be doxing. Especially data from a site that people have posted with the specific intent of telling people who their employer is.
posted by Jairus at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2018 [16 favorites]


It's the intent. Most doxxing comes from public sources... E.g., it's pretty easy to look up someone's home address from their name, using things like public county property records. The act of aggregating and publisizing changes things


Take the high road. This reeks of the harassment aimed at soldiers returning from Vietnam. Further, it paints these ICE employees as sympathetic victims in the alt right propaganda sphere. Case in point, my friend who's teetering on the edge of the alt right send me a link to this news story yesterday because it reinforced his belief that SJWs are bloodthirsty maniacs.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


ICE is reprehensible, but that doesn't mean targeting anybody who works there is a good idea.

I disagree. Strongly.

I am at the point in my life where it is more important to me to stop the monstrous actions of government agencies engaged in horrifying acts than it is to allow people employed at those agencies to have stress-free jobs. I believe that it is important to place caltrops wherever we can to minimize the harm and the damage to people that are being targeted right here, right now. And that means that increasing worker dissatisfaction of places like ICE, so that people feel ashamed to work there or wish to quit. It means making it harder for ICE to recruit good people. I'm certainly much more invested in pressuring those at the top than the bottom--don't get me wrong--but I want people to be ashamed by the concept of other people knowing that they work for ICE.

All the man is doing is saying "These people work for ICE." If that's something to be ashamed of, good.
posted by sciatrix at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2018 [108 favorites]


FWIW, whether or not this counts as "doxxing," there's value in this knowledge aside from potential harassment.

I imagine most ICE agents at this point (if not before) describe themselves to acquaintances as "police officers." A lot of Americans still trust the police. However, they probably would be horrified to learn that the "friendly officer" who lives down the street is actually an agent of our neo-Gestapo.

I'd certainly like to peruse a list of Boston-area ICE agents to make sure I'm not friends with any of them. I don't necessarily need to harass them, but you'd better believe I'd like to cut such people out of my life.
posted by explosion at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


This reeks of the harassment aimed at soldiers returning from Vietnam.

Largely fictional, and manufactured to discredit the left?
posted by explosion at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2018 [136 favorites]


It's the intent. Most doxxing comes from public sources... E.g., it's pretty easy to look up someone's home address from their name, using things like public county property records.

This isn't a county property record lookup. This is like adding your employer to your Facebook profile, and then accusing Facebook of doxing because of their "people who work at EmployerCo" search functionality.
posted by Jairus at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


Gosh, amazing how snappily these organizations move to remove stuff, when it's a matter of kowtowing to those in power. As compared to their shrugs and 'we can't do anything about it, freeeee speeeech' when it comes to women and PoC being harrassed.

Several popular white supremacists, including Jack Posobiec and OANN recently tweeted out a "report" with extensive private information of an alleged second shooter in the Las Vegas massacre. Not only is Posobiec still active on Twitter, he tweeted from a fundraiser that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey proudly attended.

As this situation around ICE employees proves, the woe-is-us helplessness when it comes to harassment and violence isn't a technical issue and it never was. The folks running Twitter and other social media companies are 100% complicit in all of it, and there is no defense of their actions or lack thereof.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2018 [27 favorites]


Take the high road.

Knowing that 99% of ICE agents will not see an iota of consequence from the government, what is the high road here that will actually see results?
posted by griphus at 11:24 AM on June 21, 2018 [31 favorites]


I can't take the argument 'we need to keep this taboo' seriously because no, it isn't taboo for the reactionary right-wing. I mean, this was the entire point of Gamergate and a bunch of other shit they get up to without a hint of remorse.

There's no taboo.

My main problem with doxxing is simply that Internet randos should not normally be trusted to have the right target or a sense of where to draw the line between warranted scorn and unjustified abuse. That's why I wouldn't seek to do it myself, and it's why I wouldn't recommend it to most people as a thing. In this case though... public ICE records are pretty hard to argue with, and that organization is responsible for child torture. They should be driven into the goddamn sea, every last one of them, until there is no more ICE
posted by mordax at 11:24 AM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


It is very telling (not surprising, but telling) how quickly Twitter came down on this. It's always been obvious that their free speech commitment is nowhere near as unlimited as Jack would have you believe, but this makes it even more clear.

If you find this strategy to be acceptable, that's one thing - but be honest about what you're doing.

I find this strategy to be acceptable when we're talking about agents of the police state who are running internment camps, in much the same way that I find this acceptable when we're talking about police officers who shoot people. There are different standards for the people who enforce the law and people who are not given that power.

ICE is reprehensible, but that doesn't mean targeting anybody who works there is a good idea.

"ICE" isn't a thing that exists discreetly from the people who work there. If ICE is reprehensible, then the people who work there are reprehensible because ICE is them.

Take the high road. This reeks of the harassment aimed at soldiers returning from Vietnam. Further, it paints these ICE employees as sympathetic victims in the alt right propaganda sphere.

There is literally no action that liberals/progressives/socialists/leftists in this country can take that will prevent right wing propagandists from attacking them. Spending any time considering "how will the right wing react to this?" is time wasted, because the answer will always, always, always be "they will call you a communist, oppose whatever you support, and openly agitate for people to attack you". They don't have any other responses in the arsenal and they have demonstrated that quite clearly for upwards of 30 years now.
posted by protocoach at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2018 [64 favorites]


Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them? I know I wouldn't, which is why I don't find it acceptable on this side either.

I don't think that the argument "Are you okay with the thing done to bad people also being done to good people" really holds up.

Different people deserve to be treated differently. I don't think "should college professors be treated the same way as people involved in inhumane authoritarian work" is a really helpful or meaningful analysis.

In order to really address these issues in our society we have to think beyond "sides" and "is it okay if the other side does it" because that's how we get wrapped up in false equivalency.
posted by entropone at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2018 [22 favorites]


This reeks of the harassment aimed at soldiers returning from Vietnam.

That harassment is an urban legend spread by the right, as Jerry Lembcke has documented. He compares it to the stab-in-the-back myth used by the Nazis to blame the left for the German defeat in the first world war.
posted by enn at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2018 [45 favorites]


No, harassing ICE employees is a good idea.

Seriously, in the last like two days, we've forced an ICE facility to close and (maybe) been directly responsible for forcing the governments hand to end family separation by confronting and promising to continue to confront people at dinner. (Not saying that the alternative is better, but still.)

The takeaway from this is that continued, systematic bothering of people can bring about positive change. We need to let people know that whether you're a heartless CEO, or a part-time janitor that volunteers at an animal shelter on the weekends: If you work for ICE or frankly any other company or organization that is complicit in this, what's going on may not be directly your fault, but you should absolutely be ashamed and look for other work because if you help the entity run, even at the lowest level, you're still supporting and helping the entity run.

Can I blame these sites for removing the information? Of course not. It's their freedom. Nor will I condemn Sam Levigne for making the list.

What I will condemn, in the strongest terms, is that these same sites have proven time and again that they will sit on their hands in the face of harassment against PoC, women, LGBTQ and countless other marginalized groups by groups far more insidious using similar techniques or much, much worse.
posted by Krazor at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2018 [42 favorites]


This isn't a county property record lookup. This is like adding your employer to your Facebook profile, and then accusing Facebook of doxing because of their "people who work at EmployerCo" search functionality.

No, it's accusing someone of engaging in doxxing by using a scraper to compile publicly listed data into a more accessible form.

Which, when we've discussed it in the past, has been recognized as a form of doxxing.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


"ICE" isn't a thing that exists discreetly from the people who work there. If ICE is reprehensible, then the people who work there are reprehensible because ICE is them.


Yes. Of course. That's what we're saying.

There is little high road any more. We are dealing with a situation where children are being held hostage, I see no room for decorum.
posted by graventy at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


Case in point, my friend who's teetering on the edge of the alt right send me a link to this news story yesterday because it reinforced his belief that SJWs are bloodthirsty maniacs.

"The SJWs are making me racist/fascist/etc" isn't a justification, it's an excuse.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2018 [66 favorites]


Which, when we've discussed it in the past, has been recognized as a form of doxxing.

Do you think that people on a dating app and government employees deserve different levels of scrutiny or public accountability?
posted by entropone at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Im all for face punching nazis etc. etc. but , no, publicly targeting people because of their job, when you have no f***ing idea what their circumstances or beliefs are is NOT ok. Sorry.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:30 AM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I used to work for UW-Madison and I signed the recall petition for WI guv Snot Walker and ended up on a list.

Users took my name and made FOIA requests for my email and employment records and sent letters to people in layers of management above me. This happened to other co-workers as well.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:30 AM on June 21, 2018 [23 favorites]


No, it's accusing someone of engaging in doxxing by using a scraper to compile publicly listed data into a more accessible form.

Which, when we've discussed it in the past, has been recognized as a form of doxxing.


The OKC dataset was not public data.
posted by Jairus at 11:30 AM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


Like, people don't just want to make jokes about sending the Jews to ovens because they are actually drinking the blood of Christian babies, they do it because they hate Jews and want a legitimate excuse to do so.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


The OKC dataset was not public data.

It was just as public as any other online service, like LinkedIn, and the two were acquired in much the same manner. Either both are public, or neither were.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh FFS. This isn't being against the military and therefore targeting all Army employees, whether medics, engineers, or soldiers.

This is ICE. At this point, any employee of ICE has had solid evidence that their agency is actively evil for over a year. Any and all employees who had moral objections have left the agency.

The only way the agency could be more transparently evil is if they were the Department of Puppy Incineration. And yeah, I get that Johnny and Carol over at DPI payroll aren't personally burning those doggos, but they're still complicit.

It's not "oh these poor folks, they need a job." It's fucking ICE. There are limits to how much sympathy we owe people when they choose to continue working for evil organizations, and it turns out that we've decided as a society that "just following orders" and "I needed a job" are NOT excuses.
posted by explosion at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2018 [39 favorites]


Take the high road.
Fuck this.
As a lifelong liberal, I think it's about time we fight fire with fire. Or at least fight back.
Folks who sit on the other side of the aisle should grow a pair, get in the ring, bloody a few noses, and get their attention.
They sure as hell have been punching us in the beezer for decades and we haven't fought back due to the aforementioned high road.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2018 [28 favorites]


Rather than focusing on if this is doxing (I'd argue no, since this is a list fetched from a half-public site and does not ask to draw any conclusions from what is presented - it's ICE employees by name, occupation and very general area), or if the name and shame practice is acceptable (they have no shame, maybe they need some), the focus on this should be on the fucking bootlickers running tech companies, who take weeks and months (if at all) to address actual doxxing with phone numbers and addresses of private citizens who happen to have a social media account, but the moment johnny law comes knocking, go go delete button.

And consider the bootlickers had the nerve of saying that each case was very complicated and had to be analysed to find if there were actual wrongdoings blah blah BLAH blah.

I think between me going to bed at 10pm here and waking up by 5am, everything happened, from the list going public to being deleted.

Hours.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2018 [17 favorites]


Im all for face punching nazis etc. etc. but , no, publicly targeting people because of their job, when you have no f***ing idea what their circumstances or beliefs are is NOT ok.

yeah, some people just don't have any economic choice but to keep working at concentration camps

(hamburger, hamburger, hamburger)
posted by pyramid termite at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


It was just as public as any other online service, like LinkedIn, and the two were acquired in much the same manner. Either both are public, or neither were.

This isn't even remotely true. It is not possible to see my OKCupid question responses without an OKCupid membership.
posted by Jairus at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Im all for face punching nazis etc. etc. but , no, publicly targeting people because of their job, when you have no f**ing idea what their circumstances or beliefs are is NOT ok. Sorry.*

It doesn't matter what the circumstances or beliefs are when someone is working for an agency that is taking children from their families and dumping them into internment camps. It doesn't matter if they're holding a gun or just running formulas in spreadsheets to support the guys who are holding guns. They're still morally culpable. Being a janitor at an internment camp is not as evil as being the person who is directing the internment camp, but it is still evil.
posted by protocoach at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


Arguing whether it is or isn't doxxing is beside the point. It is what it is, and it doesn't become more or less acceptable based on some magic word.
posted by dilaudid at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


"Seriously, in the last like two days, we've forced an ICE facility to close..." "Seriously, in the last like two days, we've forced an ICE facility to close and..."

Well, it might be useful to try to figure out *why* these actions have taken place. I don't think for an iota it's due to immigration activists being upset... I think it's more due to moderate republicans being upset. Trump is *trying* to bait and upset folks on the left; it's when the moderates and republicans say 'this is going to far' that he might react.

The right *loves* to play the victim card, and things like this just reinforce this for them (and potentially unite the right and moderates away from the position that we care about).

Now, obviously these folks decided on their own to advertise themselves as ICE agents. I wouldn't exactly call this doxxing, but as a potential precursor to it... But I certainly question this tactically as a way to affect positive change.
posted by el io at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


The code that crawls linkedin requires a linkedin Premium membership, also, because of the search functionality that it uses -- that part is semi-public. The linkedin profile pages that it finds (which are the ones that actually contain the data) are fully public.

Federalpay.org and the datasets published by OPM are fully public. Would it be any different if someone took the raw data from data.gov, selected out only those who are on ICE's payroll, and published that subset?
posted by toxic at 11:40 AM on June 21, 2018


I once had a comment deleted here on the Blue for pointing out contact info that was given out by the subject of the post in the video that was under discussion. Using that as a baseline, I would assume that the service provided by Levigne would count as doxxing, at least by MetaFilter standards.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Everyone imagining themselves in the place of ICE employees and asking "But what if it happened to me on a dating site? What if it happened to college professors?" - You might as well object to people being in jail at all by asking "But what if a police officer threw ME in jail? It's wrong to take away people's liberty."

Innocent people on dating sites and in college classrooms are FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT from ICE employees. Because they are innocent. Because they did not commit heinous crimes like run concentration camps for the government. What is good for the goose is NOT good for the gander, if the goose is guilty and the gander is innocent.
posted by MiraK at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


Someone I know who tweeted the author asking if the data was still out there somewhere was retweeted by someone claiming to be Qanon and/or a Qanon fan, who cc'd ICE and the FBI saying "Trace This". The same person claims to be in contact with Donald Trump.

They also said that the US Army is going to be called in to restore order due to dataset, and that Lavigne and everyone helping him will be arrested. Pretty amusing and weird stuff.
posted by bootlegpop at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


The right *loves* to play the victim card, and things like this just reinforce this for them (and potentially unite the right and moderates away from the position that we care about).

They do this when something happens that they can spin into that narrative.
They do this when something *might* happen that they can spin into that narrative.
They do this when something *doesn't* happen, but which totally could've happened, which they can spin into that narrative.
They do this when something happened 20 years ago & mutated through decades of mail/email chain letters forwards, which they can spin into that narrative.

And when there aren't enough of 1-4? They invent something whole-cloth which they can also spin into that narrative.

There's no point at which "Don't do something, they'll misconstrue it" works.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2018 [64 favorites]


I believe that it is important to place caltrops wherever we can to minimize the harm and the damage to people that are being targeted right here, right now.

I am continually bewildered by the inability of people to admit they are using bad tools to do good things.

Like: is harassing people bad? Yes, it is bad. Is it bad to compile a list of employees of an organization for the purpose of harassing them? Yes it is. But that bad pales in comparison to what is being done by ICE right now, so it may well be worth it.

It feels like people want to be able to do this thing while also telling themselves no harms are being committed through it, that they are totally ideologically pure and clean. And like - that feels kind of BS. Either this is important enough to override social norms or not, but pretending these social norms aren’t real doesn’t help anyone.
posted by corb at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


Knowing that 99% of ICE agents will not see an iota of consequence from the government, what is the high road here that will actually see results?

Public outcry has already been effective at forcing the administration to backpedal. Doxxing didn't achieve that; widely published photos of children in cages did. Long term, the only way to end this shit is to vote the Republicans out of power.

confronting and promising to continue to confront people at dinner.

Confronting people at dinner? Publishing an enemies list on a heated political topic is a recipe for generating death threats over Twitter and email and the phone. Gamergate-level harassment isn't justified even if the overall cause is righteous.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


> I once had a comment deleted here on the Blue for pointing out contact info that was given out by the subject of the post in the video that was under discussion. Using that as a baseline, I would assume that the service provided by Levigne would count as doxxing, at least by MetaFilter standards.

Do you see anyone posting an individual's contact information in these comments? All of the information exists in the FPP's content, which is meant to be a springboard for further discussion.

Personally, I don't see how this is any different from identifying a prospective employee as a Nazi sympathizer via a background check of their publicly available information, which is already an existing pet project of a few people.

Or, to strawman things a bit: "I appreciate your right to protest the mistreatment of your people, but do you have to be so rude about it?"
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


It has been fine for more than a decade for a certain group of people to "pretend these social norms aren't real."

Yet somehow, it's ony a problem when liberals/ Democrats / the Left does it.

so -years of targeted harassment and abuse from the right: crickets.

left adopts some of these same tactics: The End Of The Republic.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


Oh, uh, yeah, I totally think harm comes from using this tool. I just think that there's more harm that comes from letting the machine roll forward without using everything at our disposal, including tools that cause harm, to stop it. I absolutely believe that doing this will harm otherwise good people whose primary failing was to take the best job available to them at a given time. I just don't think that that harm outweighs the evil done by ICE.

See here my "this policy will cause trickle-down horrors for a generation" point in the other thread, or my general observation at the sheer terror I've been seeing ICE inspiring within my community. And I freely admit that this is a decision sparked by terror and rage and feeling backed into a corner. At this point, what else can we do except wait for the election?
posted by sciatrix at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2018 [27 favorites]


Public outcry has already been effective at forcing the administration to backpedal. Doxxing didn't achieve that; widely published photos of children in cages did. Long term, the only way to end this shit is to vote the Republicans out of power.

Incorrect. The only way to end this shit is to push these people out of power, and keep them out of power by prosecuting them, and if nobody wants to prosecute them (nobody does, see the Bush administration), it's up to us to make sure they're fired from their jobs, that they can't show their faces in public, that their upper-class lives are destroyed. Because they will come back with the next administration.
posted by dilaudid at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it make sense to have a MetaTalk thread to pair with this one?
posted by kalessin at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2018


do we really need to force the mods to oversee two threads worth of fighting? that seems like a suboptimal solution.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2018 [15 favorites]


I just don't see how publishing individual ICE agents' info is going to do anything effective. It will give a lot of people a way to target their outrage, which is fine, but in terms of policy direction, it'll do nothing or worse than nothing.

The archetypal ICE agent got into the job to fuck people up, and they'll go wherever the fuck-people-up jobs are. Those opportunities need to be shut down, a) because any job that has "fuck people up" in the description needs to not exist and; b) because it's proximal to the real issue which is that fucking people up is state policy.

It's the politicians that can shut that down and need to be targeted. Kicking the guard dog might be satisfying but it's utterly nonproductive.
posted by klanawa at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


Honestly, having qualms here is good. It says that, at the least, our moral compasses are still working. We should be looking at stuff like this and openly asking whether it's morally or ethically right regardless of whether "the enemy" is acting moral or ethical. Is this who we are? Is our goal to "defeat the enemy?" Or is it to "win the battle?"

We're at that inflection point. We need to ask ourselves what we are willing to spend to win, in terms of human cost, in terms of social and ethical cost. These are real, human questions we all must answer. The times will demand it of us. They're demanding we take sides.

Personally, I don't think it's doxing. It does make me uneasy, though.
posted by dw at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


Remember when the web wasn't just walled gardens where the whims of web-service companies could simply disappear your content?

This list can easily be put up on someone's own domain.
posted by tclark at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it make sense to have a MetaTalk thread to pair with this one?

I would profoundly appreciate not having to do so. I think some of the nature of what-is-doxxing is fodder for conversation in here, but that's an internet-level thing; at a MetaFilter level I'm going to leave it at (a) I expect folks whatever their feelings about the subject to not start pushing personal info into this discussion regardless, and (b) please see previous comment about trying to focus more on the questions of this actual situation and less on the broader, we've-discussed-them-a-great-deal-before general topics at hand.
posted by cortex at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


I am continually bewildered by the inability of people to admit they are using bad tools to do good things.

I am continually bewildered by people who think most tools can categorically be treated as "good" or "bad" independent of context. "Doxxing" isn't bad because it's called "doxxing." It's bad because it causes certain specific harms in certain specific ways. But it's not that inflicting harm is inherently wrong. Politics does, in fact, often involve inflicting harm on one another (say, by taking babies from their parents). The question is what harms are justified in response to what situations.

If someone sneers "so the ends justify the means?" my head will explode. "The ends justify the means" is morally problematic only when it is used to justify any means, no matter how vile. In any ordinary situation, as well as in politics, yes, the kind of behavior it is appropriate to engage in depends on what you are trying to accomplish. There is a whole spectrum of tactics, ranging from the entirely inoffensive to mass murder. Some tactics may be out of bounds entirely in any situation short of civil war. Some may be acceptable in pretty much any situation. But others may be reasonable in some situations, and yet not in others. The ways I can reasonably respond to a court ruling that my property line is two feet west of what I thought it was are different from the ways I can reasonably respond to the government dragging out my neighbor in the dead of night to send to a camp.

Historically, Internet people have tended to treat doxxing as an out-of-bounds tactic because most online conflicts did not involve the stakes that could possibly justify both the erosion of privacy for all users and the specific harm to an individual user. In later years, we have additionally come to recognize that the Internet holds a huge reservoir of angry thugs who literally only need a point of interest identified to them in any context to swarm that point of interest with assaults ranging up to potentially deadly SWATting. These are both good rationales for considering doxxing to be further along the spectrum of unacceptability than many. I agree with them. But that doesn't mean there can never be considerations that outweigh them.

(And, yeah, screw the platforms that are "helpless" to stop those swarms but can clean this up in an instant.)
posted by praemunire at 12:03 PM on June 21, 2018 [38 favorites]


I don't have a serious issue with this kind of data being collated from public sources, and I don't have a serious issue with services taking down this kind of data when it's posted there. I don't see those as being in conflict.

What I do have an issue with is the platforms inconsistently enforcing this kind of "policy" such that Nazi shitheads and Gamer Gaters (as well as many other incredibly bad actors) get away with using these platforms to coordinate and do bad deeds while people arguably using the same methods to fight the Nazi shitheads and Gamer Gaters get shut down early and often.
posted by kalessin at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2018 [14 favorites]


Ugh this is something I really wrestle with. If a person's own conscience does not move them to refuse to work for ICE, I believe they should be shamed, not just for working at ICE but for failing to see the inhumanity there. I believe that if they are not ashamed to work for ICE, they don't get to be upset when listed in a third-party database of information they have offered up publicly about working for ICE (that is, their LinkedIn profile).

But I don't believe a person should be harassed (at home--you want to stand outside the building and protest everyone going in and at, I'll be there with you) for working at an inhumane and immoral agency. And I really don't believe they should be threatened or harmed. I certainly don't believe the families of persons working for ICE should be shamed, harassed, threatened or harmed. And are we talking about secretaries? Enforcement officers? Folks who determine the policies? All of them should be pressured into quitting--and all are complicit--but some are, in fact, more culpable than others.

So, ultimately, I believe people should be shamed and pressured into not working for ICE. Yet I understand how hard it is to find any job at all for a lot of people. And I fundamentally do not trust angry Americans and I absolutely believe that we are not at a point in this crisis where violence against workers can be sanctioned, even as I think making it so reprehensible to be even a secretary at an ICE office is a valid tactic for shutting the agency down.

There's also the very telling point that people are not ashamed to be working for ICE until they become afraid they might be personally be hurt (whether that's just a social media smear campaign or something more grim). Were they proud or indifferent until then? Are they asking themselves why? Are they now listening to the disgust and horror their work evokes? Are they gong to quit now that it's untenable to be associated with this evil?

I don't know. Things need to change and they won't change without people facing consequences for being complicit. I'd prefer these consequences be shame and embarrassment and discomfort with one's choice, rather than violence, hate and intimidation.
posted by crush at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


And I fundamentally do not trust angry Americans

This is a solid policy. I don’t trust myself when I’m angry, either.
posted by eirias at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


There's a salient difference in the substance of doxxing harassment, too. What I haven't seen is ICE employees getting vile threats of murder and sexual violence against them and their family the way those targeted by the troll armies of the right do.

The messages to ICE agents have been "you know this is wrong", "quit your job", "this isn't how to be a good christian", etc.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:12 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


Blue-Collar Man: Excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt, but what were you talking about?
Randal: The ending of Return of the Jedi.
Dante: My friend is trying to convince me that any contractors working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when the space station was destroyed by the rebels.
Blue-Collar Man: Well, I'm a contractor myself. I'm a roofer... (digs into pocket and produces business card) Dunn and Reddy Home Improvements. And speaking as a roofer, I can say that a roofer's personal politics come heavily into play when choosing jobs.
I read one of these lists before they got yanked. The phrase "the banality of evil" never seemed so palpable.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2018 [22 favorites]


If you ever take the metro in DC, look around at how many people display their government work badges for all to see (name, ID number, agency). It's quite astonishing.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you ever take the metro in DC, look around at how many people display their government work badges for all to see (name, ID number, agency). It's quite astonishing.

The most astonishing part of this is that the people designing security badges are bad enough at security that they put the agency name on them.
posted by Jairus at 12:18 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


I believe people should be shamed and pressured into not working for ICE. Yet I understand how hard it is to find any job at all for a lot of people.

Can we stop normalizing ICE? Anyone who commits crimes against humanity "only" for the pay is still committing crimes against humanity. Please. Our collective soul depends on you NOT understanding their murderous choice.
posted by MiraK at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2018 [39 favorites]


The bar for what is considered doxxing definitely changes depending on who is doing the talking and how they are talking about. This is definitely doxxing. Just look up any definition of the word...I won't bother posting them here. But I couldn't find one that disqualified this incident.

But who cares? The effect is that nothing is going to be achieved except a hardening of positions and a good wallow through spite for doxxers and harassers.
posted by Edgewise at 12:20 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Doxxing and harassing ICE agents is an achievement in and of itself.
posted by silby at 12:21 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


In a just world women and minorities would not be targeted for harassment, online or offline. And in a just world, employees of government internment camps for infants being imprisoned for the crime of not being white would also not be targeted for harassment, because their jobs wouldn't exist. Equating the former kind of harassment with the latter is... I don't want to say morally or ethically wrong bc I don't want to Chidi the discussion to death but like. It is, at this stage of american political history, disingenuous.

I know that others here have expressed discomfort at the continued comparisons with the current political situation to that of nazi germany and I regret that I am unable to stop doing so. Perpetrators of crimes against humanity don't deserve to benefit from our taking the high road and we can't allow even a hint of Nuremburg defenses to gain any kind of legitimacy. Or any further legitimacy I guess I should say, unfortunately.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:21 PM on June 21, 2018 [33 favorites]


The political advantage is that it takes away a sense of impunity that these people have. In an ideal world, that would make people less likely to do the job. In the real world, it will probably just make them less likely to put it on LinkedIn like it is something to be open about.

The political disadvantage is that it is one of those things that moderates will tut tut about and it will give fuel to the people who want to use the same type of actions against our side. Of course, they have already been doing so for ages and will continue to do so.
posted by bootlegpop at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Like I was just thinking last week that it would be a good idea to dox and harass ICE, and I'm glad people are stepping up to start doing that.
posted by silby at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


"The most astonishing part of this is that the people designing security badges are bad enough at security that they put the agency name on them."

Right?! I've worked for at least two multinational organizations that didn't publish the name of the org on their badges... There is no need to. Sure, you could identify the colors on the badges if you were already familiar with the organization, but having the organization name on a badge is like printing your address on your housekey; if you lose it you just gave someone the knowledge as to the thing that it opens.

WTF.
posted by el io at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


And I fundamentally do not trust angry Americans

At this point, I don't trust Americans who aren't angry.
posted by Awkward Philip at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


Somewhat tangential, but addresses the civility argument that is coming up in this thread: The Atrocities On Our Border Prove Trump’s Base Isn’t Worth Talking To
posted by tobascodagama at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


The list itself is not doxxing. It does not of itself contain the necessary tools to harass individuals. Glancing at it, it appears no phone numbers or addresses are given. I am very concerned that the conversation here seems to automatically assume that harassment is the only reason to have such knowledge publicly available.

Frankly, if I were in a job where I was charged with using force to protect my country and protect the public and found myself worried about just my name being associated with that work, this is what would be going through my head.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Whether you consider it doxxing or not, I think social policing can be a good thing, often better than just letting capitalism run it's course. If you do an evil job, you are responsible for the evil you are part of, regardless of your motivations for doing that job or what nefarious forces have put you in such a position.

The information is public and privacy has been dead for a decade and a half.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:37 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


Just to cut the discussion about government IDs off: PIV and CAC cards are used for both physical and electronic access to any non-public government resource by government employees and contractors, especially buildings and computers. It's mandated by several federal directives, including Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12 and NIST's Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 201, both of which are standards that must be adhered to by Federal agencies. Without verification from someone you directly work with, you can't get into your office or log in to your computer, and that doesn't even cover higher levels of trust let alone classified locations/information.

On top of the mandate that agencies issue PIV/CAC cards, they are also mandated have to have the agency printed on them because security at Federal facilities includes both human and electronic verification that you are not only who you say you are, but that you work in the right place. Apart from shared spaces like cafeterias, an employee/contractor from one Department can not simply walk into another Department's office building and log in to any old computer.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a public employee, I'm surprised at the reaction here. Having selected employee information being public data (including salary and contact details) is one of the occupational hazards of the job.

In my city, one of our daily papers makes it a thing to every few years write an article about and post a link to the online databases of public employee information, based on the public's right to know. Yeah, they have a right to know my job title, my work address and phone, any disciplinary measures against me, and what I get paid. The media has never, ever had any qualms about making this information more easily accessible because they believe it's part of their job to do so.

So no, I'm not going to be indulging in any handwringing over a list of any government employees being publicly disseminated. And you shouldn't, either. It comes with the job, and if they can't handle it, they can find another job. Trust me, you don't want still more government data off-limits to the public. Even though it can and has been used to stalk and harass some of us. Which happens to elected government employees all the time.
posted by Lunaloon at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2018 [54 favorites]


When I think of doxxing it's things like your real name and address or phone number. And the real name is only if you're using some kind of handle/username. If the list is just saying so-and-so works for ICE in Boston well that's pretty general information. I guess if you were looking for a specific person you could stake out all of the ICE offices until you found them but I would imagine that staking out ICE offices could end up pretty badly for the person doing it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:56 PM on June 21, 2018


On top of the mandate that agencies issue PIV/CAC cards, they are also mandated have to have the agency printed on them because security at Federal facilities includes both human and electronic verification that you are not only who you say you are, but that you work in the right place. Apart from shared spaces like cafeterias, an employee/contractor from one Department can not simply walk into another Department's office building and log in to any old computer.

This is easy enough to solve by having different departments use different color badges, and different organizations use different designs. So when your own department badges all have big blue circles on them, and someone walks in with a big red circle badge or a badge with a photo of the Washington Monument, it's immediately obvious.
posted by Jairus at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think publishing this list was a mistake. Not because it is or is not doxxing, and not because the right doesn't do such things all the time, and not because the right whines when they are served their own sauce.

I think it was a mistake because it pisses off people on OUR side. And we need to stick together, not piss each other off.
posted by elizilla at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]




I sorted out the job titles, separate from any personal info. (No names, not even a mention of how many people share the same title.) Caveat: This was done quick & sloppy; I don't promise it doesn't still contain duplicates (I know it does) nor that I haven't accidentally deleted anything.

None of those titles are "Janitor," although that might be folded under "Contractor."

I am bleakly entertained that someone put "law enforcement speicilist" in their public profile. Nice to see what kind of education and training my tax dollars are buying.

These are public employees. They work for the government; they're supposed to be working to improve my quality of life. They gave up some of their rights to privacy when they took the job; they became, on some minor level, public figures. That doesn't mean we have the right to their addresses, but we do have the right to their names. And this isn't even "scraped from government employees database" - this is the ones who chose to be public about their activities.

This is no more doxing than IMDB is a giant doxing list.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2018 [12 favorites]


I think it was a mistake because it pisses off people on OUR side. And we need to stick together, not piss each other off.

Forcing Gestapo agents to look over their shoulders will do more good than pissing off hand wringers will do harm.
posted by bookman117 at 1:03 PM on June 21, 2018 [25 favorites]


I would imagine that everyone would be fine and dandy with someone scraping publicly available data to create a centralized list of names and places of employment of doctors who provide abortion services, then advertising that list to right-wing extremist groups?
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2018


I would imagine that everyone would be fine and dandy with someone scraping publicly available data to create a centralized list of names and places of employment of doctors who provide abortion services, then advertising that list to right-wing extremist groups?

Nothing is stopping anyone from doing that. It's a non-sequitur.
posted by bookman117 at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


This is easy enough to solve by having different departments use different color badges, and different organizations use different designs. So when your own department badges all have big blue circles on them, and someone walks in with a big red circle badge or a badge with a photo of the Washington Monument, it's immediately obvious.

Again, it's a Federal initiative. Per the standards and regulations, there is very little leeway in what individual agencies can do. And even if they did, there are dozens of them in just the Executive branch alone, nevermind the other two branches of government. And then on top of that, there are several categories of employee and contractor that require separate colors. I invite anyone wondering exactly how structured it is to look at both the documents I referenced above to see exactly what I'm talking about.

It's improbable if not impossible that there are hundreds of mid-level security personnel that can tell the difference between, say, Burnt Umber and Sienna so quickly that they can process the potential thousands of employees and contractors entering a Federal building fast enough that we wouldn't have lines around the block 24/7. In the meantime, the solution we currently have seems to be good enough for now.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Why pose something that we know is already done as a hypothetical?
posted by explosion at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Nothing is stopping anyone from doing that. It's a non-sequitur.

Also, doctors are not public employees who are required by law to allow the public access to a set of their information.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


Nothing is stopping anyone from doing that. It's a non-sequitur.

The point is I would imagine Twitter and Github wouldn't exactly be excoriated for removing such a thing.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2018


As someone who works for the federal government (I do climate science dont hate me), I find it somewhat problematic to make the generalization "all ICE employees are monsters who are complicit in child kidnapping." I dont know a whole lot about their organization, but customs enforcement is a critically important public service. Remember a couple weeks ago when there was salmonella going around from some Mexican lettuces? Guess whose job it was to stop contaminated veggies from getting into your salad.

That said, ICE should be abolished (along with the TSA), and the good bits stripped out and made into an independent entity.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


twitter also would not remove such a hypothetical list barring legal action requiring them to do so, thus rendering this argument pointless.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


I would imagine that everyone would be fine and dandy with someone scraping publicly available data to create a centralized list of names and places of employment of doctors who provide abortion services, then advertising that list to right-wing extremist groups?

They already have that list. They made it themselves.
posted by rhizome at 1:21 PM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


Right. Since the 80s if not earlier.
posted by Sublimity at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Remember a couple weeks ago when there was salmonella going around from some Mexican lettuces? Guess whose job it was to stop contaminated veggies from getting into your salad.

Not the USDA?
posted by rhizome at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


Abortion doctors are doing something good for the world. Doxxing them is therefore bad.

ICE employees are doing something evil for the world. Doxxing them is therefore good.

Pretty simple, actually.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:23 PM on June 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


I find it somewhat problematic to make the generalization "all ICE employees are monsters who are complicit in child kidnapping."

Exactly. Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds? No, he just asks you questions when you get off the plane.

If you're opposed to ICE detention policies on the border, fine, but let's stay focused on the issues rather than tarring everyone who works for the agency with the same brush.
posted by theorique at 1:23 PM on June 21, 2018


I would imagine that everyone would be fine and dandy with someone scraping publicly available data to create a centralized list of names and places of employment of doctors who provide abortion services

Did the doctors list themselves in public, search-engine-enabled sites as abortion service providers?

This isn't just "publicly available info;" it's info that the employees made public themselves, by choice, knowing it's widely searchable. The people get to list whatever details they want on it. Nobody's "outing" them.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:25 PM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's also not really a great point to be making that stopping contaminated food and imprisoning children under conditions that violate human rights treaties are being done by the same agency. I mean, it's not proving anything good about the agency in question, it's just making it even more ridiculous that it exists in the first place.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:25 PM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds? No, he just asks you questions when you get off the plane.

Is this the same guy who locks you in the airport search room, takes your phone and interrogates you for hours while not allowing you access to your family or an attorney or a different guy who is I assume is his coworker.
posted by griphus at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [41 favorites]


Exactly. Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds? No, he just asks you questions when you get off the plane.

If you're opposed to ICE detention policies on the border, fine, but let's stay focused on the issues rather than tarring everyone who works for the agency with the same brush.


No. The people doing less evil work for ICE allow ICE to run. If all of the people at ICE who weren't doing evil stuff quit and people wouldn't take a job there to do non-evil stuff, they would have to use the employees doing evil stuff to do non-evil stuff and thus they would be able to do less evil stuff. Every cog in that machine helps the propagation of evil
posted by bootlegpop at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


"all ICE employees are monsters who are complicit in child kidnapping."

FTFY.

If they aren't monsters, they'll either quit, or try to work from the inside to end the atrocities that their employer was created to commit.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds? No, he just asks you questions when you get off the plane.

They're also not ICE employees.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


> Not the USDA?

My (limited) understanding is that the USDA office of Food Safety and Inspection Services would be the people that would receive a contaminated food report and investigate, then release a recall advisory, but its the customs enforcement branch of ICE that would actually be stopping shipments of contaminated food stuffs at the border.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2018


I dont know a whole lot about their organization, but customs enforcement is a critically important public service. Remember a couple weeks ago when there was salmonella going around from some Mexican lettuces? Guess whose job it was to stop contaminated veggies from getting into your salad.

I mean, I'm a Texas State employee so I hear you, but that actually ain't ICE's job. That sort of thing comes under Customs and Border Patrol, which despite the names is actually as I understand it a parallel organization under the DHS--neither of them are answerable to the other--and does most of the actual customs work. As far as I can tell, CBP tends to handle things at the actual border and ICE is more of a group of folks hunting down and punishing people over our asinine, bloated, and deeply fucked legalized immigration system.
posted by sciatrix at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2018 [16 favorites]


They're also not ICE employees.

Good point. I was mixing up USCIS and ICE.
posted by theorique at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


ICE as an organization has only existed since 2002. We had US Customs Service before then.

We can prevent bad fruit and veggies from coming into the country without needing a militarized border force that kidnaps brown people.
posted by explosion at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2018 [34 favorites]


Yeah, if you work for ICE, you can't go "but I didn't know!". You knew, you just didn't care because again these aren't white kids. White kid = American to ICE, brown kid = dangerous migrant who must be stopped.

Fuck ICE.
posted by Kitteh at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


> That sort of thing comes under Customs and Border Patrol

God the federal government is a byzantine nightmare. I think you're probably right, I assumed that having "Customs Enforcement" in the agency name meant they were enforcing customs regulations.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 1:36 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Crist Proposal Requires Immediate Family Reunification, Imposes Penalty on DHS.
A thousand bucks, per kid, per day. It ain't perfect, but it's a start.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:36 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Exactly. Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds? No, he just asks you questions when you get off the plane.

My black and brown friends and relatives would have a very different response to that than you appear to have, as it so happens. (Altho also that's not ICE, as others have pointed out.)

That said, yeah, all ICE employees are complicit. It doesn't matter what job you're doing for the agency that's ripping refugee families apart and putting kids in internment camp. It matters who you're doing it for.
posted by protocoach at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


Does the guy asking you questions when you get off the plane from a foreign country participate in bad deeds?

does sneering at my 100% valid and legal United States of America passport and suspiciously asking me why someone born in peru speaks such good english count as a bad deed, just wondering
posted by poffin boffin at 1:42 PM on June 21, 2018 [39 favorites]


It's entirely possible to be a customs agent and not be complicit in the crimes of ICE. Customs may be widely regarded as awful, but it's a pretty everyday kind of bureaucratic awful, like you would find in any number of government agencies.

As for the doxxing... This kind of data mining (where you take pseudo public but not widely distributed data and make it public and highly useable) has enough downsides that I oppose it in principle, and I reckon that principle applies here. Of course, given how much power I don't have to stop any of it, in this case the most arguing I'm gonna do on the point is a perfunctory Willy Wonka style "Stop. Don't..."
posted by surlyben at 1:43 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


A thousand bucks, per kid, per day. It ain't perfect, but it's a start.

Depending on where the fine's paid, it could do nothing. ICE would just eat the fines, get an expanded budget from the Republican congress, and the Republicans would demand that said fines be paid back into the General Fund.

2000 kids? 2 million per day. 365 days? 730 million per year. Let's not pretend that Mitch McConnell wouldn't find a way, especially if the money's not actually going into anyone's hands.
posted by explosion at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Customs may be widely regarded as awful, but it's a pretty everyday kind of bureaucratic awful, like you would find in any number of government agencies.

That's what I'm getting at. You're taking any number of regular guys and women going to work and doing their jobs and labeling them as "evil". SPLC did that and a crazy man turned up with a gun at one of their "hate groups" (the Family Research Council, a Christian organization), actually trying to shoot people.

These actions can have serious consequence when the information gets into the hands of dangerous people with delusions of heroism.
posted by theorique at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2018


Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them? I know I wouldn't, which is why I don't find it acceptable on this side either.

the wise man bowed his head solemnly and spoke: "theres actually zero difference between good & bad things."

Loving the #notallICEagents crowd in here.
posted by smithsmith at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2018 [44 favorites]



It's entirely possible to be a customs agent and not be complicit in the crimes of ICE. Customs may be widely regarded as awful, but it's a pretty everyday kind of bureaucratic awful, like you would find in any number of government agencies.


Again, "customs agents" as you typically think of them? They work for CBP (Customs and Border Patrol), not ICE. Despite "customs" in the name, ICE doesn't actually do the "onerous but necessary" customs work we acknowledge as important.
posted by explosion at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


You're taking any number of regular guys and women going to work and doing their jobs and labeling them as "evil". SPLC did that and a crazy man turned up with a gun at one of their "hate groups" (the Family Research Council, a Christian organization), actually trying to shoot people.

The FRC is not a "Christian organization": it is a hate group, as the SPLC correctly labelled them. They have repeatedly asserted that all LGBT people are pedophiles and shouldn't be allowed around children and that homosexual sex should be illegal and have advocated for "medical" treatment for gayness. The guy was obviously disturbed (besides the gun, he was carrying a bag full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches) and did not actually shoot anybody, unlike the dozens of attacks on Planned Parenthood over the decades.

If we are no longer allowed to call hate groups hate groups, I'm not sure what free speech is even for.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2018 [54 favorites]


Which organization that one would consider without-a-doubt evil does not have average people at it just trying to live their lives going to work.
posted by griphus at 1:58 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


as a government employee, my name and salary info gets published in "look how much these assholes make" searchable databases that get linked to by major newspapers etc and I don't even get paid to incarcerate babies so excuse me while I give precisely zero shits about this (*snort*) "doxxing"
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2018 [45 favorites]


FRC members are also quite happy to pal around with terrorists who call for the actual extermination of LGBTQ people at events with multiple GOP legislators and presidential candidates as guests of honor. It's not as if leftist professors and abortion doctors and whatever other not-even-close-to-equivalents collectively went around extolling the virtues of killing conservatives and/or babies at events attended by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


the Family Research Council, a Christian organization

are you kidding me
posted by praemunire at 2:18 PM on June 21, 2018 [28 favorites]


Yep, Im always going to push back when the angry American mob is calling for blood and saying "The other side did it so must we!" Always. I will listen to rational discussion, and there is some of that happening on both sides in here. I may even change my mind and my stance at some point, but those flinging around incendiary/inaccurate arguments to goad the rest of us into doing harm to strangers we know nothing about...? Im deaf to anything you say.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Which organization that one would consider without-a-doubt evil does not have average people at it just trying to live their lives going to work.

Yes, exactly. I've been a government employee of a department that people had serious and (imho) legitimate beefs with, and continued working there despite that because of how I viewed the importance of the bigger picture, I get that there are nuanced arguments to make about implementing policies you disagree with. But God, you need to have a line that you don't cross and you need to know where that line is, and if taking babies from their parents and putting them in cages is not on the wrong side of that line then you need to return your soul for a refund.
posted by Catseye at 2:22 PM on June 21, 2018 [19 favorites]


No one is goading anyone to do anything.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:23 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]



Which organization that one would consider without-a-doubt evil does not have average people at it just trying to live their lives going to work.


I have on two separate occasions declined unsolicited job offers from executives at a couple companies because I didn't want to get involved in the ethics of how a significant part of their work gets done. These are 2 companies you may have heard of in the entertainment industry. I was fortunate enough at the time to have jobs and not NEED one, but I'm fairly certain that both would have come with significant raises.

I chose not to work with companies because I've seen some very uncool business practices. Regular people chose to work for ICE, who it is clear really love the "just obeying orders" type of employee. The only ICE employees I'm sympathetic with are the ones who ended up working there in desperation after a painful and fruitless search for a job at a place that isn't at the pointy end of the US's most racist policies.
posted by tclark at 2:36 PM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am continually bewildered by people who think most tools can categorically be treated as "good" or "bad" independent of context. "Doxxing" isn't bad because it's called "doxxing." It's bad because it causes certain specific harms in certain specific ways. But it's not that inflicting harm is inherently wrong. Politics does, in fact, often involve inflicting harm on one another (say, by taking babies from their parents). The question is what harms are justified in response to what situations.

If someone sneers "so the ends justify the means?" my head will explode. "The ends justify the means" is morally problematic only when it is used to justify any means, no matter how vile. In any ordinary situation, as well as in politics, yes, the kind of behavior it is appropriate to engage in depends on what you are trying to accomplish. There is a whole spectrum of tactics, ranging from the entirely inoffensive to mass murder. Some tactics may be out of bounds entirely in any situation short of civil war. Some may be acceptable in pretty much any situation. But others may be reasonable in some situations, and yet not in others. The ways I can reasonably respond to a court ruling that my property line is two feet west of what I thought it was are different from the ways I can reasonably respond to the government dragging out my neighbor in the dead of night to send to a camp.


This is an admirably Jesuitical way of saying 'it's doxxing, doxxing's bad, fuck 'em they're assholes'.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is an admirably Jesuitical way of saying 'it's doxxing, doxxing's bad, fuck 'em they're assholes'.

If you do not believe that it can sometimes be permissible to inflict harms on other people to accomplish your political ends, you literally do not believe in the basic legitimacy of the U.S. government--I mean to exist at all, not just in the functioning of its armed branches--or really any government in the world. Had you had a Jesuit education, no doubt you would have been taught to think a little more rigorously about the moral ramifications of both state and individual uses of violence. Me, I was brought up a Protestant, but I do my best.
posted by praemunire at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


That's what I said. You used more fancy words though.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


It is not doxxing to tell the American people the names of the employees that work for them, especially if they have police powers to shoot, arrest, detain, and incarcerate people.

It is not harassment for the American people to tell their employees that they are not happy with the work they are doing.
posted by straight at 2:53 PM on June 21, 2018 [14 favorites]


Had you had a Jesuit education, no doubt you would have been taught to think a little more rigorously about the moral ramifications of both state and individual uses of violence.

I often agree with you, but in this case you are completely wrong, and I say this as someone who was trained to kill people for a living and has thought very hard for years about the moral ramifications thereof.

There are cases in which violence can be /justified/, especially when it is used to protect others from more serious or greater violence. But that doesn’t mean that the violence you do doesn’t itself have a moral weight just because it was justified. To be super personal about it, I helped people at the behest of the US government and justified it because it was saving the lives of my fellow soldiers, but that doesn’t wash away the stain of having helped kill people.

You are right that politics is often a matter of trying to mitigate harms, but I don’t think it’s either fair or just to sneer at people who are saying that harm is still morally wrong even if it is justified. Morality, for many, is not zero-sum.

So again: yes this harm may be justified if it is effective, but there’s no need to be shirty about people who feel doxxing is a moral harm whether or not it’s being used for a good purpose.
posted by corb at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2018 [14 favorites]


What is the use of this if not for mass targeting of people for harassment?

Scaring ICE employees into wondering whether or not they will be harassed, but not actually harassing them.
Scaring ICE employees into quitting their jobs.
Scaring potential ICE employees from becoming ICE employees.

It's like when you're trying to get someone out of your house, so you pretend to call the cops on them, but they don't know that you're only pretending, so they get scared and leave without you actually having to call the cops. Sure, the internet has poor self-control and whatnot, but "harrassment" could be anything from physical violence (which would be terrible) to people following ICE employees around and yelling "SHAME ON YOU FOR WORKING FOR ICE" (which would be not-terrible).
posted by 23skidoo at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


but there’s no need to be shirty about people who feel doxxing is a moral harm whether or not it’s being used for a good purpose.

Can I be shirty about people who only think "doxxing" is a moral harm when liberals do it, and do not even notice the routine targeted harassment from conservatives?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


It's like when you're trying to get someone out of your house, so you pretend to call the cops on them

The difference is, ICE agents are heavily armed and appear to love nothing more than a chance to ruin your whole day. Go ahead, give 'em an excuse.

I'd love to be able to scare or shame ICE agents out of their jobs, but let's be real. If they had any qualms about it they'd already be gone.
posted by klanawa at 3:20 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


If they had any qualms about it they'd already be gone.

It's not just about scaring or shaming them. It's about inconvenience. It's about not being welcome at church any more. It's about that look they get in the grocery store. It's about them understanding that even if they don't have any qualms, other people do, and it's *mighty inconvenient* to be evil in a polite society.

It's pretty much the same thing as punching Nazis. We can't prevent everyone from being hateful, but if folks know that "Nazis get punched," then they're at least incentivized to be less overtly hateful.
posted by explosion at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


I'd love to be able to scare or shame ICE agents out of their jobs, but let's be real.

If they weren't scared of That List, it wouldn't be disappearing from so many places.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:28 PM on June 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


Yep, Im always going to push back when the angry American mob is calling for blood and saying "The other side did it so must we!"

Oh, puh-lease. Get off your high horse. One side is gleefully advocating for the caging of children and worse, while the other is collating the already-public names of the federal employees engaged in carrying out this monstrous work and you think it is some form of enviable wisdom to pretend there's a moral equivalence between the two groups? It's a truly pathetic worldview.

Once more for the hard of hearing: there is absolutely no moral equivalence between publishing names of professors who are, say, critical of Israel's foreign policy and people engaged in the Gestapo-like activities of stripping children from their parents, intimidating, imprisoning, sexually abusing and even killing some of the most vulnerable people in society.
posted by smithsmith at 3:29 PM on June 21, 2018 [27 favorites]


It's not just about scaring or shaming them. It's about inconvenience. It's about not being welcome at church any more. It's about that look they get in the grocery store. It's about them understanding that even if they don't have any qualms, other people do, and it's *mighty inconvenient* to be evil in a polite society.

Exactly. We're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too polite in the USA, so if you have a terrible job like working for ICE, no one is supposed to give you shit for it. We haven't actually tried giving people shit for working for ICE, but some people are convinced that we shouldn't even try it? I don't get that.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:31 PM on June 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


MLK wrote something relevant in his letter from the Birmingham jail.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”
The relevance of this quote seems pretty clear. How is saying "I also oppose fascists but I can't support acting to expose them" any different from what MLK identified as the great stumbling block to civil rights?
posted by Justinian at 3:34 PM on June 21, 2018 [44 favorites]


As a quasi-relevant aside, we absolutely do not give the mods enough money.
posted by XtinaS at 3:40 PM on June 21, 2018 [14 favorites]


Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them?

This is not a theoretical thing - it exists in at least one form, my wife is on it, and has been on the receiving end of harassment due to it. So far, the publications listed have been published under the aegis of an institution she's no longer at, so the contact information isn't quite correct and the harassment has thus far been minimal, but if you're not too lazy to do some googling, you can easily figure out where she's at now.
posted by LionIndex at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


To be super personal about it, I helped people at the behest of the US government and justified it because it was saving the lives of my fellow soldiers, but that doesn’t wash away the stain of having helped kill people.

We could discuss what the nature of this stain is for an action you consider justified; it would be interesting but maybe a little too far off-topic for this thread, so I'll let it go in the interest of mod sanity. This, though:

there’s no need to be shirty about people who feel doxxing is a moral harm whether or not it’s being used for a good purpose.

I've explicitly acknowledged the harm that can be caused by doxxing. I've said that I don't think it is a tactic that should be used lightly or towards trivial ends. As a woman online, I'd have to be completely insane not to. But I think any theory of political morality that crudely divides actions into "good" and "bad" without reference to circumstance is untenable. Indeed, any analysis of political action that doesn't acknowledge that virtually every political action involves some form of harm to someone is exceptionally naive. (Are you not going to vote in 2020 because Trump will absolutely experience the loss of political power attendant on being voted out of office as a harm to him?) This particular instance of doxxing is the aggregation of already publicly-available information. It isn't inherently harmful--no one knows anything they couldn't have known before, no action is compelled by it. It's harmful because of its potential consequences. If you want to consider the negative consequences, as you indeed should, you must also take into account whether it serves any good purpose. And I continue to reserve the right to get shirty with people who speak as if considering nuance and underlying principles is some kind of sneaky party trick employed by disreputable types who use big words.
posted by praemunire at 4:01 PM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]



> Oh, puh-lease. Get off your high horse. One side is gleefully advocating for the caging of children and worse

If the bar for what is acceptable in our society is pegged to the behavior of Donald Trump, we are utterly, completely, unequivocally fucked.
posted by cirgue at 4:10 PM on June 21, 2018


By the way, I too have been in a situation where my position and salary--and, in fact, my assets, my roles as officer or director of an organization, and whether I received gifts above a threshold amount from anyone not related to me, and some other personal details--have been made available to the public, either merely by hitting up a database or on request. That law causes some harm to public employees; it takes away some of their privacy. It's a real harm. It's freaking creepy to think people can look that kind of thing up about you. Surely we can ask ourselves whether that harm is balanced by competing goods, or is so great or fundamental that it can't be. Or do we just call it "bad?"
posted by praemunire at 4:11 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you're gonna do this and complain about it being taken down, then use your own servers.
posted by Westinghouse at 4:11 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm all for taking the high road, but I honestly think this situation has reached a point of no return. There is no more high road. At the risk of invoking Godwin's law this is Third Reich levels of nastiness. I don't see any moral grey area here. This is pure and simple racist hatred enacted upon the most vulnerable victims. You work for ICE and now everyone is aware of it, and you feel victimized by that? Good. Are you feeling pressure from your community because of the reprehensible things that you are participating in? Good. Are you in an economic situation that prevents you from quitting this monstrous organization for a different job? I'm sorry for your situation, but your employer is engaged in a systemic destruction of decency and morality and so either shit or get off the pot. If you work for ICE, regardless of your personal beliefs, you are complicit in this tragedy and you should be held publicly accountable.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 4:12 PM on June 21, 2018 [16 favorites]


I think folk here are complaining less about it having been taken down, and more about the sharp disparity between responses to harassment of minorities, versus responses to perceived harassment of government thugs.
posted by XtinaS at 4:18 PM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


XtinaS has it absolutely right. IMO, we all reached "utterly fucked" status before Trump was coronated. I was happy to see the MeFi Mods did NOT delete this post (and isn't our MeFi Alumnus working for Internet Archive?). I once worked for a company that went out of business doing semi-evil* things in the '80s/'90s... didn't have the courage to quit before I was laid off, but used my large severance to wait to get a job a company doing something Good.

* but it was targeted by the Totally-Evil Giuliani as he was building a rep as a prosecutor, so we weren't ALL bad.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:22 PM on June 21, 2018


I'm personally complaining that once again people on metafilter are giving equal time and thought to both the feelings of human rights violators and those whose rights are being and have been violated.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:24 PM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


Technical question. How has the list vanished from the internet’s so quickly.? I naively presumed that removing list like this from public access was akin to playing international-whack-a-mole, and I don’t mean the Dark web, I mean the plain ole googlable one.??
posted by Faintdreams at 4:27 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Johann Georg Faust , I think you missed what I was getting at, or else I put it poorly.
I wasn't commenting on what others were posting in this thread, I was poniting out that the information Sam Levigne had released on Github &c. would (unless I'm misreading the situation) be considered doxxing if it was done here on MetaFilter, since a number of the comments earlier in the thread were going back and forth on whether or not it was doxxing.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2018


If they weren't scared of That List, it wouldn't be disappearing from so many places.

They are not afraid of us. But they are delighted to see us waste all this time and fury, while they're out in the desert destroying peoples' lives. Put the lists back up. See what changes.
posted by klanawa at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Technical question. How has the list vanished from the internet’s so quickly.? I naively presumed that removing list like this from public access was akin to playing international-whack-a-mole, and I don’t mean the Dark web, I mean the plain ole googlable one.??

Because it turns out that the resources that Twitter and Medium and all these other companies keep on telling us don't exist whenever it comes to preventing murderous violence directed at marginalized groups actually does exist as long as fascists' pride is at stake.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2018 [23 favorites]


Think of it as a corollary to Clarke's Third Law: any sufficiently advanced technology is unable to protect those most in need, but when those that attack them are confronted, it appears in a fashion indistinguishable from magic.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


At the risk of invoking Godwin's law

Godwin has revoked his law. (Explanation: He was asked, post-Charlottesville, to say something. So he did.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


Godwin's Law was always descriptive, not prescriptive! People just misconstrued it!
posted by Justinian at 4:44 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


poffin boffin: regardez
posted by XtinaS at 4:47 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Abortion doctors are doing something good for the world. Doxxing them is therefore bad.
ICE employees are doing something evil for the world. Doxxing them is therefore good.


Yep, that about sums it up. I've come to the conclusion in recent days that I'm really, really fucking sick of people calling out hypocrisy rather than evil, of people demanding civility rather than action, of people making false equivalences, of people caring more about "doxing" than they care about frightened children in cages. And the MLK quote above gets to the heart of this too. It's long past time to stop caring about civility and impressions, and to start fighting evil instead, with whatever tools are available.
posted by Jimbob at 5:35 PM on June 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


these ICE people don't need to be doxxed

they need to be ARRESTED
posted by pyramid termite at 5:52 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been afraid of the concept of "doxxing" since the very beginning, and the moral concept that it's a singular thing that must be prohibited universally. Like everyone must be under a gag order to not say what we know, or pretend not to remember what we remember, because it violates hypermodern norms of privacy that emerged from the mucky bits of our culture that think the Greater Internet Fuckwad theory is a paragon of civil rights.

"Don't be in a closed room 1-on-1 with the CEO because he gets handsy" is a classic, classic tool for people to protect each other when official systems fail. It would be a moral evil to restrain that under some blanket policy of "gossip is naughty" just because it could possibly also be used for ill.
posted by traveler_ at 6:00 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


It’s always been a bad idea to post anything remotely shit-stirring on lame-ass walled gardens like chickenshit Twitter and the staggeringly pathetic Medium. Kudos to archive.org for preserving this content. As a state employee whose salary is public record, I see nothing wrong with this.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:01 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


This particular instance of doxxing is the aggregation of already publicly-available information. It isn't inherently harmful--no one knows anything they couldn't have known before, no action is compelled by it.

So I think, personally, there is actually harm in the aggregation of publicly available information.

I have made a lot of comments on Metafilter - those people who have been super dedicated to finding my real name have done so. The amount of people who have my super unique personal contradictions are, well, basically me. But I would still think it was harmful and be very upset if someone created a “Metafilter Commentator Scraper” and decided to publish everyone’s usernames along with a compendium of what information was available even on the blue, much less the green. Even if no one used it to harass, it would absolutely be doxxing, even though I typed all those comments out myself at some point over the last eight years.

Data scrapers are absolutely tools that many of us who care about privacy find abhorrent. And I think I’m kind of frustrated at this idea that we can’t declare something as an absolute harm even if good is also done by it. Like - in my moral compass, it doesn’t wash out the bad just because good is done, and I get really uncomfortable when people start suggesting that it does, because that’s how, in my personal experience, people tripped down the primrose path to war crimes. And it’s really upsetting when people say that by naming doxxing as an evil, people don’t care about children being jailed. Many of the people being snarled at in thread are even saying it may be justified in this instance - just that no one should claim the harm is evaporated because it ultimately may be the right choice.

I don’t want to live in a world where we don’t consider the morality of our actions. That doesn’t mean I’m incapable of understanding nuance or harm balancing. It just means I want to be very clear about the fact that whatever I do, I am creating harm. To own my actions.
posted by corb at 6:02 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


I don’t want to live in a world where we don’t consider the morality of our actions.

I think everyone here is considering the morality of their actions. And people are weighing up "collating public information that certain grown-ass adults work for a public agency" against "toddler concentration camps" and making a decision. And we're a bit surprised others are coming to a different moral conclusion.
posted by Jimbob at 6:52 PM on June 21, 2018 [22 favorites]


I don't find myself in strong agreement with corb very often, but she's right on the money here when it comes to her case that this is doxxing. It absolutely is doxxing, and doxxing is a shitty tactic. Still, there's a time to use shitty tactics, and that time usually comes when all of the non-shitty tactics haven't worked.

Right now in the United States, the levers of representative democracy are for the most part ornamental -- disconnected from the actual machinery of government. In those circumstances, faced with a massive injustice, people are right to do what needs to be done to end the injustice. Inevitably, mistakes will be made, and some harm will come to people who may not deserve it, but though the math isn't simple in these real life trolley problems, it still boils down to millions of individual "did you act or did you not" decisions, and people are taking the only actions they see available to push to end the injustice. Ultimately, it's a bet that enough pressure put on the agency that they feel the heat and reverse course, and that any harm done to those who don't deserve it will be outweighed by the reduction in suffering when the policy is changed.

I question whether it will be effective given how much the administration seems to relish cruelty for cruelty's sake, and I certainly don't expect it will lead to the abolition of ICE, but I understand the desire to feel like you're doing something, or just to simply say that what's happening is not okay, and that nobody participating in it deserves a clean conscience. There's great value in that, and if it does end up being a significant part of the solution, then so much the better. But let's be honest about what's being done here, what the tradeoffs are, and that there could be unintended consequences. And then let's do whatever we have to do to end the injustice.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:07 PM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


With this hypothetical MetaFilter Commentator Scraper, let's say the results were only available to signed-in MetaFilter members. Would it still be uncomfortable?

I feel like this is bumping up against the concept that the EU courts call 'the right to be forgotten', that the information we share has a context. A license to use our personal information, in perpetuity, in any context the privacy policy permits, I think feels wrong to people. I know I get a little uncomfortable when a business greets me by name if I haven't given it to them, or when Facebook suggests 'friends' it should have no way of knowing about.

But on the other side, how much slack should we be willing to extend to people whose goal is the destruction of those liberal values? Free speech only has value when we agree that, despite whatever extreme differences we have, we have at least agreed to a core set of beliefs to run a society under: legal, if not defacto, equality, the rule of law, a limit on the use of violence, the use of argument and rhetoric to resolve political disputes (obviously with caveats a metre long, especially in America). If you reject those core beliefs, is it reasonable to say you're an enemy of that society, and that your attacks on those values are an act of war? Should I worry about the free speech rights of those who want to dismantle the concept of free speech? Does that apply to employees of ICE, who are government employees, but using violent means to advance white supremacy?

And to what extent should we be reflecting the values we want to live by? Part of the point of values is that you don't get to abandon them when convenient - America is a country that tortures people when it gets uncomfortable, no matter what kind of commitment to human rights its professes when comfortable - but there's many examples of non-violent societies destroyed by violent ones. It seems reasonable to hold to our values as a default, and move to a less principled stance (like the Geneva convention) only against those who prove they're attempting to destroy them, but that's so easily co-opted into keeping to that stance against inconvenient innocents.

Anyway I'm sure this thread on the internet will conclusively answer these difficult political and philosophical questions
posted by Merus at 7:12 PM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


It absolutely is doxxing, and doxxing is a shitty tactic. Still, there's a time to use shitty tactics, and that time usually comes when all of the non-shitty tactics haven't worked.

The other thing is that when we do use shitty tactics, we need to acknowledge that they are such. Doxxing for good doesn't change the fact that you're engaging in doxxing, and we should be honest with ourselves about that.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:16 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm another government (state) employee whose name, job title, and salary are published each year in the only paper in town. I've never run around screaming about being doxxed before, but maybe I should start?

ICE employees are government employees. We pay their salary - I think we should get to know who they are.

Would you find this argument acceptable if it was, say, a list of publicly listed information about left-leaning college professors being distributed in order to target and harass them?

This already happens. I know it for a fact. One of our professors was brigaded for about two months by these right-wing fuckers after the '16 election for something she said on Twitter. It's so cute that people here think this kind of thing isn't already happening all over the US already.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:19 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


> With this hypothetical MetaFilter Commentator Scraper, let's say the results were only available to signed-in MetaFilter members. Would it still be uncomfortable?

I mean, yeah. It only costs any jamoke $5 to register an account and dump the results to pastebin or whatever.

The key insight here is that it's not so much the product of the work or the channel that work is distributed on, but the work itself that's done to transform a bunch of data points scattered around one or more sites into a neatly-formatted, easily searchable compendium of targets. That reduces the barriers to entry for people who might not have otherwise gotten the information.

Of course, given how many people have the skills necessary to scrape, compile, and publish a doxxing target list, it's kind of inevitable that this happens once a group is disliked by an appreciable number of people. That doesn't reduce the culpability of whoever decides to actually go do it, but it does mean that those who don't want to end up as targets have to take their privacy more seriously.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:21 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


The key insight here is that it's not so much the product of the work or the channel that work is distributed on, but the work itself that's done to transform a bunch of data points scattered around one or more sites into a neatly-formatted, easily searchable compendium of targets. That reduces the barriers to entry for people who might not have otherwise gotten the information.

I'd argue, though, that's there's still something unseemly about gathering a bunch of data points about someone and collating them, even if it's for personal consumption (say, reading a prospective date's Facebook likes for things to check out so you have something in common - you're not lying, but it's still creepy). It's the connection, out of control of the owner of that information, which is uncomfortable.

So when is it okay to make those kind of connections? Is a whisper network to warn women about sexual harrassment a kind of doxxing? There's some uncomfortable parallels - you could argue it's spreading a private action, without all parties' consent, attached to a name in order to reputational damage. At the same time, the men who perpetuate this behaviour are abusing that privacy privilege to do harm, and even making those whisper networks public enjoys broad support.

I feel like I'm at the risk of concern trolling here, so let me plant a flag somewhere: rights should come with the responsibility to ensure that right is available to everyone. I don't think you're entitled to a right if you're using that right as a weapon. I don't think you're entitled to privacy if you depend upon privacy to pray on women. I don't think you're entitled to free speech if you use that speech to threaten and terrify the marginalised. I think the employees of ICE are depending upon anonymity to act as jack-booted thugs, and thus they should not be entitled to it.
posted by Merus at 8:11 PM on June 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


I feel like there's a lot of talking past each other because of certain details being mixed up. Is it doxxing or not is kind of a weird hang-up, because the 'doxxing' term carries a lot of connotations from when GGers and the like do it. In other words I think the distinction between "publishing publicly available info" and "publishing private info" is an important one; I also think the distinction between the publication itself and what it gets used for is important.

So, sure, using (questionable) methods to broadcast the home address of a person who hasn't done anyone any actual harm (say, Anita Sarkeesian) so that a bunch of internet fuckheads will send them death threats is bad. But only some of that badness is down to the collation and broadcast of the information; some blame is surely borne by the fuckheads, some of whom might even have made a death threat independently of a nice convenient list. I think what's salient here is (1) the target never did any harm to anyone (no, saying stuff about vidyagames does not qualify); (2) the target is a private citizen with an attendant expectation of privacy; (3) the result of the publication was (and could have easily been foreseen to be) a bunch of evil shit like death and rape threats.

In the OP case we have (1) the targets doing harm to someone (particularly, lots of innocent children); (2) the targets being public employees with an expectation of being held accountable by the public as such; (3) the result of the publication has not been determined yet, but I think it's fair to say that while death threats aren't unlikely, the more likely outcome is public shame (obviously I can't rule out some fringe people doing something bonkers like sending a death threat to a law enforcement officer but I don't think it's as obvious the expected outcome as in (3) above).

So, I mean, I guess I'm trying to say that doxxing in and of itself is not a sufficient descriptor of all the components here, and people calling it that are conflating two very different scenarios under a single header term, and I don't think that holds up to scrutiny.

And finally, as to the hypothetical comment aggregator, I don't think it's realistic to expect that your comments on public fora will not someday be aggregated. It's public! Now, I can certainly say that I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone I've ever "met" on Metafilter, you're all quite lovely people, but if let's say Rodrigo Duterte joined under a handle and someone figured it out based on a such a tool, that would not bother me much. I'm also OK with Nazis being punched. Ethics are situational.
posted by axiom at 8:15 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


Frankly I strongly doubt that getting their houses swatted and receiving harassing shrieking phone calls would make anybody on that list suddenly think "Gosh, my job has been evil all along, thank God for these people sending me pictures of my children on their school playground because I would've never understood the ramifications otherwise." It might make them afraid enough to take their profiles off of LinkedIn, which is a thing, I guess.

I don't shed a tear for ICE agents, but I'm also not going to pretend this action isn't what it is and wouldn't lead to exactly the outcomes above.
posted by schroedinger at 8:19 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, the 1900 person list being deleted is moot now since Assange's Russian run op just released an easily searchable 9000+ person list.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:20 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


> In other words I think the distinction between "publishing publicly available info" and "publishing private info" is an important one

Well, it's not a distinction that I would accept as a means of excusing or minimzing the actions of a GGer who aggregated publicly-posted info about their targets. Just because the same word is used to describe a tactic doesn't mean that we can't distinguish between different degrees of that tactic, or between the same tactic used against different groups.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:44 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is a thing that is damaging to prosocial norms and also appropriate or possibly even laudable to do. These are not mutually exclusive and as corb says it's important to recognize and be willing to state both parts,
posted by PMdixon at 8:48 PM on June 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


Well, the 1900 person list being deleted is moot now since Assange's Russian run op just released an easily searchable 9000+ person list.
The Russian list is more likely all people who have PROTESTED ICE.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:48 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


What is the use of this if not for mass targeting of people for harassment?

So, I downloaded the entire list yesterday so I could see who's in the field office near me, and what roles they play. I found some folks who'd come up through law enforcement (and joined ICE within the last year) and others who have been with DHS since the Obama administration, and one of those who'd previously held a job with the U.N. I find that, despite a visceral reaction, I have nothing I want to say to the first group. But to the second group, I plan to reach out--through LinkedIn, while I'm logged in-- because I think they may be reachable. I don't think I could convince anyone to quit, but there are lawyers and a sysadmin on there who I want to send some thoughts about how they're likely to see a lot of people in their organization in the near future trying to delete documents and emails, and reminding them of their obligations to preserve that data, so that it's available in litigation discovery and in response to FOIA requests.

Conclude what you want about the definitional doxxing question, but I find this information very helpful, and I'd have never put it together otherwise. My unsolicited communication is unlikely to make any of these ICE personnel feel threatened; at most it will be annoying, on the spectrum of any unsolicited message on the LinkedIn platform.
posted by mabelstreet at 8:50 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, it's not a distinction that I would accept as a means of excusing or minimzing the actions of a GGer who aggregated publicly-posted info about their targets. Just because the same word is used to describe a tactic doesn't mean that we can't distinguish between different degrees of that tactic, or between the same tactic used against different groups.

Right, but you're conflating the aggregation with the outcome of publishing it. If hypothetically someone had aggregated a list of the public information of all government employees and sent them all a thank-you card in the mail, would that earn the same opprobrium from you? I suspect not, because what bugs you is the thing that happened after the aggregation.

At the same time, I think there would be a level of creepiness introduced if instead someone aggregated a list of private information on regular citizens to send them all happy mail, although not really all that much, as that's what regular old companies do all the time for marketing purposes (I mean, marketing mail isn't happy mail necessarily, but it's not a death threat either).

What I'm trying to get as is the question is really "is harassing these people OK" and "what level of harassment, from sharply worded letter on up to death threat and beyond, is OK" are the important questions here. Without the harassment angle, doxxing in and of itself doesn't mean much. Others in this thread have already brought up the idea that while generally speaking harassing is not OK, maybe in the case of baby jailers it's warranted. I think there's something to be said for considering whether the punching is up vs. down when making that decision. It's why white supremacy rallies are bad, while civil rights marches are good.
posted by axiom at 8:58 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Right, but you're conflating the aggregation with the outcome of publishing it.

If it exists long enough it will eventually be published. This is why Maciej Ceglowski analogizes personal data to nuclear waste.
posted by PMdixon at 9:07 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Russian list is more likely all people who have PROTESTED ICE.


Well, they are miscounting records because they list every job someone held as an individual records, so there are definitely not 9000 people, but every single person that I cross referenced from the 1900 person list was on this list.
posted by bootlegpop at 9:14 PM on June 21, 2018


> Right, but you're conflating the aggregation with the outcome of publishing it. If hypothetically someone had aggregated a list of the public information of all government employees and sent them all a thank-you card in the mail, would that earn the same opprobrium from you? I suspect not, because what bugs you is the thing that happened after the aggregation.

Several differences here. "All government employees" != "ICE employees". The target selection matters, not just for us to decide whether we like the outcome of the doxxing or not, but to make the doxxing list useful in the first place. I don't think anyone would have acted on a list of "all government employees, some of which are ICE employees, but aren't called out as such in the list", because that would mean that there would be a lot of collateral damage on the way to shaming / harassing ICE employees.

Furthermore, if "sending them a thank-you card" means the aggregator is the only one who sees it, then there's no opportunity for harm to come from the doxxing, short of them later changing their mind, or having the document stolen from them. In that case, I still think, as Merus seems to imply above, that this is at least doxxing-adjacent, but the real harm comes when the list is handed to at least one other person whose intended use of the list is unknown by the aggregator.

So, no, I don't see any conflation here. The aggregation has the *potential* to be harmful, but may not be. Once the list changes hands, all bets are off, which could retroactively make what was intended to be harmless very harmful.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:15 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you're opposed to ICE detention policies on the border, fine, but let's stay focused on the issues rather than tarring everyone who works for the agency with the same brush.

The people who do payroll and admin and HR for the racist abusive child kidnappers are complicit in that act. They deserve to be tarred. And feathered. And fired into the fucking sun because “just doing my job/just following orders” does not fucking cut it and it never goddamn has.

If they don’t want to be judged they can quit. They’re not slaves. They’re not soldiers. They should sooner starve than be a part of this madness.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:29 PM on June 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


That was a little badly worded on my part due to editing; it should read "all these government employees." Point taken.

But as to the aggregation, I mean, a single bad actor can aggregate and not publish, instead using the aggregation to unilaterally attack the target list. Obviously this is less damaging than publishing and replicating said attack over and over again by others, but I think the aggregation in and of itself isn't bad, and likewise the publishing is only bad if the outcome is bad (and could reasonably have been supposed to be so). I mean, the phone book lists a bunch of people's numbers, and some people use that to send death threats, which is obviously not the intended outcome... so I would hesitate to lay the lion's share of the blame at the feet of the phone company rather than at the feet of those sending the death threats.

The ICE case is even further from that, because what I and some others are saying is that (1) death threats not OK but (2) public shaming OK. I'm also ethically fine with aggregation of public data being the tool that makes public shaming possible, while not ethically comfortable (obviously) with it being used to harass sectors of society who are neither powerful nor harmful (e.g., Sarkeesian)
posted by axiom at 9:31 PM on June 21, 2018


I feel like, consciously or not, you keep changing important details to suit your argument. Phone books are not a focused target, meaning they're more like my interpretation of your "all government employees" bit. I mean I guess if someone wanted to send death threats all plumbers or all people with the surname Jones they could do so, but that's getting kind of ridiculous. Meanwhile, I've acknowledged from the beginning that the distinctions between who's targeted / how they're targeted that you keep bringing up are important, but you seem to think I'm wanting to just apply the word "doxxing" to everything and be done with it, not caring about the culpability of each individual who plays their part.

Each person who makes it easier to target a group with a focused doxxing list -- including the person who made their own info public in the first place! -- has some blame for what happens to the people who are the target of the list. And those who act once they receive the list are to blame for their part. And those who act against bad people are better than those who act against good people. None of this makes me want to use a different word for the activities that led to the list in the first place, which what I thought this whole tangent was about.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:47 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


I just skimmed thru justice.gov's guide to Exemption 6 of the FOIA which has a number of parallels. I found it quite informative in the legal balancing of private versus public interests in judging whether information like lists of names should be released, covering questions including harassment, "derivative use", etc. It also offers a very nice definition of what is meant by the public interest, as something counterintuitively orthogonal to the FOIA requestor's intent, so to speak. Based on the guide, I think something like the Levigne's ICE database might not be legally okay (again, in parallel as Levigne's is not a FOIA request). And yet, I'm not 100% sure, as the guide did say a bunch on "What if the data is already publicly available in some obscure format". Ultimately, I'd say even a government guide like this is not reliable grounding for the purposes of social justice activism; sometimes activism steps into that space of civil disobedience.
posted by polymodus at 9:51 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think we basically agree. I probably should have been more careful and said something like " a subset of the phone listings" to be more of a direct analogue to "a subset of all LinkedIn profiles" or "a subset of all government employees" (i.e., ICE). I'm a mathematician by training so once we start talking about lists I am prone to abstract the list in question to be functionally equivalent to any listing of items of the same type. That's on me.
posted by axiom at 10:28 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I can certainly see both sides of the "this is doxxing" debate but I think the more relevant is that they are publicly posting the their affiliation with ICE on LinkedIn. Back in the day, several tech companies publicly announced that they were not interesting in hiring people that worked at SCO after a certain date. I wonder if such a practice will extend to current ICE workers when their interviewer sees Immigration and Customs Enforcement on their resume.
posted by flyingfox at 10:54 PM on June 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


It may be publicly posted on LinkedIn in a particular format—aside from the fact that scraping LinkedIn is (I'd imagine) against the website's Terms of Use, which is separate from the opinion/interpretation of whether doing that is okay or legal—but there could be be a legal argument that just because information is available in one form does not mean it's okay to compile it into a different form, as mentioned in the FOIA guide which I thought is a nice reference. Apparently if you're making a list and checking it twice, that can be sketchy.
posted by polymodus at 11:42 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


So, just to be clear, are you implying or stating that linking to, downloading, or viewing the list is illegal?
posted by bootlegpop at 12:40 AM on June 22, 2018


You know, the way this is going, Congress will make doxing a felony long before they stop family detention.
posted by dw at 7:18 AM on June 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


While liberals argue about the proper way to present your copy of Emily Post when you show up to the gunfight, right wing shitbags have no illusions about what they're willing to do, and who they're willing to do it to.

One of the leftists who shamed Kirstjen Nielsen out of a Mexican restaurant with DSA the other night has had her identity as an employee of the DOJ exposed and they're trying to get her fired.

The stakes are high. The right realizes that. The left realizes that. You can't deescalate when one side absolutely refuses to, and you can't beat them by refusing to acknowledge the names and identities of your enemies, which is at root what is happening here. We are calling people what they are.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/393461-protester-who-interrupted-dhs-chiefs-dinner-works-for-justice
posted by turntraitor at 7:28 AM on June 22, 2018 [14 favorites]


What I'm trying to get as is the question is really "is harassing these people OK" and "what level of harassment, from sharply worded letter on up to death threat and beyond, is OK" are the important questions here. Without the harassment angle, doxxing in and of itself doesn't mean much

There are three separate questions being discussed but I do think they are being muddled.

1) Is doxxing - compiling public-facing dossiers on people or groups by hunting and aggregating publicly available data - bad in and of itself?

2) Once the dox has happened - the list is out - is it okay to harass these people if they are doing morally bad things?

3) What level of harassment is okay?

People are arguing about #1, and folks think they're talking about #2 or #3, but they're really not - I think that's one of the reasons people are getting upset at each other.
posted by corb at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2018


3) What level of harassment is okay?

This is the really the only one I feel is worthy of debate. I am all for naming and shaming people who are ruining our country, when the logical, predictable end-state of their actions are straight up ethnic cleansing. That's where this is going. So "be nice" rules don't really apply here.

So for instance, this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2018/06/22/protesters-gather-outside-homeland-security-secretary-kirstjen-nielsens-home-in-virginia/?utm_term=.d63f46b1724e

This, imho, is very, very good. No rest for the wicked.
posted by turntraitor at 7:50 AM on June 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


With respect to laws and illegality, people of color and other minorities have long since observed that the injustice here is not always in the wording of the laws themselves but in the unequal enforcement and punishment in support of the laws.

It's not an accident that proportionally, rich, cis, heterosexual, christian men get away with illegal acts far more often and if caught and successfully prosecuted are assigned far lighter sentences than those in minority groups. This is how systemic power and institutional bias work to support and reinforce the supremacy.

When making equivalences in law and legality, you're on "the wrong side of history" if you elide consideration of unequal enforcement, and unequal justice, especially when it moves in harmony with the supremacy. So there's nothing wrong with talking about how a doxxing law should apply to everyone, but it's morally bankrupt to assume that it will. It won't, unless we are at great pains to make it so. Right now, this is playing out in social networking, where Google, Twitter, and Facebook are allowing Machine Learning bots and support personnel to support the supremacy with unequal enforcement of private content policy. But it's a fool's paradise to think the same won't happen with laws and the interpretation of these laws through enforcement and justice.
posted by kalessin at 8:23 AM on June 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


So there's nothing wrong with talking about how a doxxing law should apply to everyone, but it's morally bankrupt to assume that it will.

This is important to remember: Those with the power over laws and their enforcement will pass a doxing law when they see their power under threat by doxing. And that threat will either come from people threatening them with doxing, or people afflicted by doxing threatening their power. If it's the former, it will be a tool of repression. If it's the latter, it will be a tool to improve society.

As long as rich cishet white men don't feel the pain, they won't care. So they either build more legal walls, or they will acquiesce. But for America to survive, to quote some cishet white guy standing in a cemetery full of white guys the last time we faced such a national existential crisis:
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
posted by dw at 10:20 AM on June 22, 2018


This, imho, is very, very good. No rest for the wicked.

The person dragging the kid from their parents: fuck 'em. The people making these policies and attempting to legally justify them: fuck 'em. The person working the minimum-wage shit administrative filing jobs and aren't sitting pretty with degrees and work histories that allow them to pick up anything else? Evil machines are made up of the bureaucracy and I'm all about utilitarianism but I still have trouble with the idea of them ending up on a list like this.

This would be an easier conversation for me if we knew the list had been curated for those in positions of power or who are directly acting the Gestapo.
posted by schroedinger at 10:33 AM on June 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


what else can we do except wait for the election

Helpfully, the good folks at Current Affairs have recently published a list of things the average person can do about the immigration crisis beyond calling your elected officials and voting in November.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:46 AM on June 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


The person working the minimum-wage shit administrative filing jobs and aren't sitting pretty with degrees and work histories that allow them to pick up anything else?

We didn't stop at trying to find the people who ran the camps, we have gone all the way down to the guards, now all dotards who thought the past was the past. But the past is never the past. We're LARPing the beginnings of that past right now.

You don't get to play just a little part in the evil. You don't get to just do the vlookups on the Excel file of who gets thrown into a cage and expect that it doesn't count. Find another job. Is it tough? Yeah, but getting into heaven isn't always a cake walk.
posted by turntraitor at 10:47 AM on June 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


That might be an interesting picketing strategy: pictures of lower-level Nazis who were convicted after the war. "[Picture] Oskar Groening: Accountant. Convicted" "[Picture] Irma Grese: Auschwitz Guard. Executed 1945"
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on June 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


Another thing you can do in between elections is, as a private citizen or a group, meet with your local government officials, and meet, if possible, with your representatives in the state and federal legislature. We spend a lot of time talking about emailing, or texting, or phoning these folks, but political action committees do, and you theoretically can too, meet with these folks face to face, articulate your concerns and your expectations, even bring to them a problem you need help with.

It's often forgotten but these folks really do hold office to serve you. If you're having an issue with a government bureaucracy or even a private company, your state rep should be able to delegate you to, probably, your county supervisor to help resolve tricky bureaucratic issues you're having with, say, insurance. Bonus points if you or your affected relative or associate is a veteran. Or a Christian, or whatever the establishment says they love and support these days. And bring Press too, if you can.

Nothing's stopping you from earnestly, at a meeting, characterizing the child stealing as a "bureaucratic problem you expect your governmental representatives to solve". If you have time, do this sort of action too. Not only does it raise the issue to the representatives' attention, but it also demonstrates that there are passionate citizens like you willing to work within government to bring about change. And it makes it clear that since you are civically engaged, you probably vote and you might be a threat to any rep who goes along with the unjust status quo.

It's also good to know that you can do this for more personal problems, like when a local ambulance company was harassing my dad (who had dementia - he's since passed) about a ride the police arranged for him. We contacted our state legislature rep who delegated to our county supervisor, who had one of his most well connected staff members help get the insurance and ambulance people talking and they all figured it out without distressing him further.
posted by kalessin at 11:57 AM on June 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


@danielsieradski:
so again to be totally clear— twitter will suspend you for 12 hours if you share human rights abusing white nationalist stephen miller's phone number, but if a neo-nazi shares a jewish person's phone number and he's inundated with texts and calls of a hateful nature, it's cool.
This guy has spent five days reporting his private information being publicly disseminated by actual Nazis, and they finally told him that not only was it not a violation of their policies, but also that it was more or less just a personal disagreement that he needed to get over.

Like I said, Jack and friends are 100% complicit, and anyone saying otherwise is lying to you.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2018 [26 favorites]


Not all villains have to be mustache-twirling monsters; the point is that the banality of evil is still evil. If you're a pencil pusher who tallies up the number of children separated/incarcerated and if to you, they are not actual people, just another entry in the system, and oh hey, just doing my job, you are complicit. You should be remembered and punished.
posted by Kitteh at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


How many people who say they're OK with Random Filing Guy getting death threats because he's, like, processing temp workers' paychecks would actually sit down and meet Random Filing Guy as a person and say to his face that he's the equivalent of a pencil-pusher in Auschwitz and deserves to have his kids harassed?

I think it is really easy to make these decisions about people's lives when they're abstractions. Personally I do not think death threats do much to change anyone's mind, and I think that there are probably solutions somewhere in between "swat all the janitors" and "be OK with throwing babies in pits".
posted by schroedinger at 8:56 PM on June 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would be happy to have a meeting with pencil pushers at ICE. I would be absolutely willing to walk them through the history of the Nazi logistics machine and do comparative studies with what they do and what ICE does, as well as walk through comparative studies of Trump's and the GOP's policies and those of that Nazi party and their politics before and during WWII.

Is there any way to make a living at it? Not unless the entire population of the US grows a pair and actually prioritizes doing something meaningful here to avoid repeating history that's already well mapped out and studied.
posted by kalessin at 9:04 PM on June 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


Here is a NYT article about the personal struggles many individuals who work for ICE and other federal departments are having with this situation. This is why I did not agree with the idea of bulk posting a list of all employees of ICE.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:01 AM on June 23, 2018


Here is a NYT article about the personal struggles many individuals who work for ICE and other federal departments are having with this situation

Good! It shouldn't be easy to do this to people.

Considerable confusion has mounted at ICE over how to proceed now that the family separation practice had been suspended. Inside the Border Patrol, high-ranking officials shot off a flurry of emails into the early hours of Thursday morning with evolving guidance.

One message, sent at 9:54 p.m. on Wednesday by Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings, ordered agents to “immediately suspend” prosecutions of migrant parents “and maintain family unity.” Later messages told the agents to use discretion in deciding whether to reunify parents and children right away or to wait.


ICE employees should be crying all day, every day.
posted by rhizome at 10:42 AM on June 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


If they're already struggling with these orders, they know the orders are wrong. Public outcry is simply a way of reminding them: what side of justice do you want to be on, anyway?

If it breaks their heart to go to work every day, that is a good thing. If they quit, that is one fewer employee present to help this monstrous deed be executed. "Just following orders" hasn't been an acceptable excuse for fifty years. When do you expect good and decent people to look at the orders that have been handed down and say "No" on the grounds of morality?

I mean, the Right has been lionizing folks who refuse to do their jobs on moral grounds for over a decade now. Why the fuck are people whose personal morality draws the line at ripping children from their parents or indefinitely imprisoning them for seeking refuge not taking advantage of those precedental loopholes? The tools are there, and using them is likely to encourage them to close--after all, their supporters create those loopholes on the currently-correct presumption that conservative anti-gay or anti-choice assholes are the only people likely to use them right now. Why are we leaving perfectly good tools for stopping this horror lying on the ground?

If any ICE employee wants to do the moral thing without simply turning, leaving, and screaming about these details to the media, then remaining on the payroll and simply refusing to enforce orders on moral or religious grounds would probably be the most principled way to go about doing things. Staying, doing your job, and merely feeling bad about it?

Not even on the goddamned radar. If that's the most moral response an ICE employee can muster, that is not fucking good enough. There are children who are being ripped from loving families for no fucking reason. Staying and bearing witness to an atrocity without trying to stop it in actions is simply not enough to change things.

I don't want people to feel bad. I want them to leave their jobs or otherwise refuse to do them in the wake of these orders. I know that's a hard place to be in. I know. I have empathy for the fear and uncertainty these people find themselves in. I know that the tendency of many humans, faced with fear and rage and sorrow, is to freeze in place, hunker down, and hope that the danger will pass them by.

But feeling isn't enough. Feeling can never be enough to change the world. What matters is, quite simply, doing.
posted by sciatrix at 12:06 PM on June 23, 2018 [13 favorites]


I'm not talking about having reasoned conversations with them. I'd do that too. I'm talking about literally telling them to their faces that they and their families deserve rape and death threats and other forms of serious harassment. Because that's what these lists lead to--we know this, it has happened before on both sides of the aisle (and if you think it's just the GGers ask the pencil-pushing DNC superdelegates what happened to them in 2016). If there was some way to ensure these lists were only used by people who weren't going to drive workers further into their jobs I'd be all for them. But they won't, and they don't.
posted by schroedinger at 6:05 AM on June 24, 2018


Okay, if That List can only be used for exvessive harrassment, then is that how it's currently being used? I mean, That List already exists- are people on That List already receiving the worst possible levels of harassment?
posted by 23skidoo at 6:58 AM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


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