White House released voter-fraud commenters' sensitive personal information

White House released voter-fraud commenters' sensitive personal information

The White House more or less doxed citizens who took the time to submit feedback to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by publishing 112 pages of public comments (pdf) without first redacting any personal information. Some of the emailed comments expressed outrage, some commenters dropped f-bombs, one sent goatse, but they were published in full, including those that showed citizens’ “email addresses, home addresses and phone numbers.”

The comments were in response to a letter sent out by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to all 50 states. It asked for a trove of personal information on each voter in the U.S. Requested information included “dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of Social Security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.”

Numerous states refused to comply, and the ACLU, EPIC and other organizations filed suits against the commission.

On Thursday, when the public comments were published, the White House said any other member of the public could submit written comments, but those comments may be posted to the public, “including names and contact information.”

As the Washington Post pointed out, about half of the emails published were already submitted prior to July 5, when the Commission’s Federal Register notice soliciting comments said the written comments, including names and contact information, may be publicly posted. Many of comments made it clear that they didn’t want their voter data released, didn’t want their personal information to be made public.

By not redacting any personal information, the commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, further inflamed privacy concerns that first flared after the request for sensitive voter data from each state.

“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,” ACLU staff attorney Theresa Lee told NPR.

In reply to the outrage, Marc Lotter, press secretary to Mike Pence, told the Washington Post, “These are public comments, similar to individuals appearing before commission to make comments and providing name before making comments. The Commission’s Federal Register notice asking for public comments and its website make clear that information ‘including names and contact information’ sent to this email address may be released.”

Lotter didn’t mention the fact that commenters submitting before July 5 had no idea their names and addresses would not be redacted.

“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.

If the commission is this irresponsible and disrespectful in regards to the privacy of those who submitted comments, how can it be trusted to handle nationwide voter information under the guise of investigating alleged vote fraud in the 2016 election? The widespread voter fraud is something Trump says existed since he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

The commission will meet on July 19 in Washington, D.C. The public may not attend except virtually via livestream on the White House website, and therefore will not be able to comment.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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