White House publishes names, emails, phone numbers, home addresses of critics.

White House Publishes Names, Emails, Phone Numbers, Home Addresses of Critics

White House Publishes Names, Emails, Phone Numbers, Home Addresses of Critics

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July 15 2017 4:26 PM

White House Publishes Names, Emails, Phone Numbers, Home Addresses of Critics

President Donald Trump reacts during a press conference with the French President following meetings at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on July 13, 2017.

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People who spoke up about their concerns over privacy suddenly found key private details, including their email and sometimes even home addresses, released by none other than President Donald Trump’s administration. The presidential commission charged with investigating alleged fraud that has been plagued by controversy from the start published a 112-page document of unredacted emails of public comment on its work, which to no surprise are largely negative of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. When it published the comments, the White House didn’t remove any of the personal information, meaning many of the comments are accompanied by personal details of the person who wrote it.

“This cavalier attitude toward the public's personal information is especially concerning given the commission's request for sensitive data on every registered voter in the country,” Theresa Lee, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, said. Lee was referring to the way the commission sent a letter to all the states requesting lots of personal information about voters. At least 45 states refused to hand over all the requested data.

Ironically enough, most of those who wrote in to the White House expressed concern about their personal information being made public. One person whose name and email address were published by the commission, for example, wrote: “DO NOT RELEASE ANY OF MY VOTER DATA PERIOD.”

The White House defended the publication of the personal information of the commenters, noting that everyone was warned that might happen. But some say that regardless of the legality, the White House has a moral obligation to protect sensitive data. "Whether or not it's legal to disclose this personal information, it's clearly improper, and no responsible White House would do this,” former Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu told Engadget.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.