News & Politics

City Council Member Tweets Constituents' Personal Info

Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano holds sympathies with the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement. Indeed, she choose to participate in Wednesday’s illegal protests at the Mall of American and Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

Some constituents don’t think Cano, an official charged with upholding the law, ought to support an organization that shamelessly flouts that same law on a routine basis. One such constituent is Stephen Dent, a man who once contributed to Cano’s campaign but took exception to her involvement with Black Lives Matter. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

[Dent] wrote a message to Cano through the city website saying that she was no longer fit to serve on the council by “closing private property” and “supporting illegal actions” when she appeared at the protest. Cano then tweeted Dent’s message, as well as his private e-mail address and phone number to her roughly 2,000 followers, as well as the private information of at least three other critics.

The practice of using the Internet to publicize personal information like home and e-mail addresses and cellphone numbers is known as “doxing.” Cano eventually deleted the tweets, but not before her actions went viral on the Internet.

“What she did to me and others put a huge chill on our democratic society,” Dent said in a phone interview Thursday. “It has broken my trust with public officials.”

Cano’s action may or may not have been malicious. It was certainly an exercise in bad judgment. Even if private constituent info had not been revealed, publicizing constituent messages without their consent proves distasteful at best. There’s already a power differential whenever a constituent addresses a government official. That imbalance calls for officials to show restraint and grace when dealing with frustration and criticism.