On Thursday, WikiLeaks published a database of current and former ICE agents and employees, claiming it was important for “increasing accountability.”
The information was publicly available on Linkedin, according to the website.
The database contains the employees’ publicly available personal information and job history scraped from LinkedIn, including deportation officers, IT workers, human resource interns and legal assistants, among others. The list includes their LinkedIn profile photos and information on educational background and the city and state where they’re based.
“This information is an important public resource for understanding ICE programs and increasing accountability, especially in light of the extreme actions taken by ICE lately, such as the separation of children and parents at the US border,” WikiLeaks wrote in its description of the data set.
How does publishing the name and photo of an ICE IT worker, intern, or legal assistant aid the American people in “understanding ICE programs” and “increasing accountability”?
As it turns out, it’s not even their own work:
In this case, WikiLeaks appears to have reproduced a project created by a New York-based artist and programmer named Sam Lavigne, who has taught as an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts.
Lavigne first attempted to publish the ICE database Tuesday using GitHub, which hosts open-source software development projects. At that time it contained information about more than 1,500 apparent ICE employees. But GitHub took it down, and the web page says “this repository has been disabled.” Lavigne also published a blog post on Medium about the project, but Medium, too, took down his post, entitled “Downloading the profiles of everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE.”
“As ICE continues to ramp up its inhumane surveillance and detention efforts,” he wrote, “I believe it’s important to document what’s happening, and by whom, in any way we can. To that end, I’ve downloaded and made available the profiles of (almost) everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE, 1595 people total. While I don’t have a precise idea of what should be done with this data set, I leave it here with the hope that researchers, journalists and activists will find it useful.”
I’m sure activists will find the information very “useful” — as will all sorts of crazies, kooks, and the violent mentally ill.
Personally, I’d love to see WikiLeaks publish a list of McDonald’s employees. I think the food they serve is inhumane, tastes awful, plus, they always get my order wrong. I’m sure WikiLeaks could find it equally justifiable to post burger flippers’ info as they do ICE employees.
We live in an era where political violence is increasing and the far left is ramping up a campaign of violence and intimidation against those who make them angry. To publish a list of targets for their wrath is beyond irresponsible; it should be criminal. And if anything should happen to an ICE employee who has been exposed, I hope Mr. Lavigne and WikiLeaks can live with themselves.