Medium, Github, and Twitter Are Shutting Down Accounts Spreading ICE Employees’ LinkedIn Data

Medium, Github, and Twitter Are Shutting Down Accounts Spreading ICE Employees’ LinkedIn Data

Additionally, Twitter appears to be suspending accounts that have been posting information from the project’s data set. Developer Sam Lavigne wrote on Medium that he had written a program that “downloaded and made available the profiles of (almost) everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE, 1595 people in total.” Lavigne wrote he was not specifically sure how this information could be acted on but hoped “researchers, journalists and activists will find it useful”: I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We don’t necessarily need to wait for the next Snowden-style revelation to scrutinize the powerful — so much is already hiding in plain sight. According to the Verge, both the Github repository where Lavigne published the data and his Medium post describing the project have been taken offline: Lavigne told the Verge that Medium “suspended the post because they felt it was doxing,” while a Github spokesperson told the site that the project violated community guidelines: “We removed the project because it violates our community guidelines,” a GitHub spokesperson told The Verge. “In general, we have policies against use of GitHub for doxxing and harassment, and violating a third party’s privacy.” According to BuzzFeed, Twitter also suspended Jewish educator and coder Russel Neiss’ bot account @IceHRGov, which was automatically tweeting information from the database. However, the data set continues to circulate in the form of a publicly accessible Google spreadsheet. Whether or not one agrees this is “doxxing”—a term typically used to expose private individuals to harassment by releasing personal information like their names, addresses, or contact information—probably depends on a lot on ones’ feelings about ICE and its atrocious conduct, as well as the specifics of the data actually compiled. As Wired noted, doxxing as a political tactic reached a fever pitch as a result of noxious movements like Gamergate, which used it as a tool to harass anyone they happened to agree with. On Tuesday evening, the Metro DC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America located Nielsen at Mexican restaurant MXDC, chanting “shame” until she decided opted to leave the building:

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Both code repository GitHub and blogging platform Medium have taken down a project to automatically catalogue the identities of staff for Immigration and Customs Enforcement—the government agency which has attracted widespread revulsion for its role enforcing the Donald Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy throwing immigrant children into detention centers—citing rules against doxxing. Additionally, Twitter appears to be suspending accounts that have been posting information from the project’s data set.

Developer Sam Lavigne wrote on Medium that he had written a program that “downloaded and made available the profiles of (almost) everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE, 1595 people in total.” Lavigne wrote he was not specifically sure how this information could be acted on but hoped “researchers, journalists and activists will find it useful”:

I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We don’t necessarily need to wait for the next Snowden-style revelation to scrutinize the powerful — so much is already hiding in plain sight.

According to the Verge, both…

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