Trump doxes people who wrote with concerns about leaks of their sensitive personal data


You are really reaching there when the Maryland AG called the request repugnant, and states are refusing to use the online system to upload the data that is available legally. They are not even pointing the federally appointed council to where the data is available, and just told them they have to use the legally available means to obtain only what is legally available.

What would “not complying” look like to you? States violating the law?


I think perhaps CLamb is focusing on the “if publicly available under the laws of your state” much more than is warranted.

I’m no expert, but it reads to me like a boilerplate phrase they can’t not add, rather than a real part of the meaning of the letter. It reminds me (not because of the figures involved, but really truly just because of the mechanics of political and diplomatic language being easily misinterpreted by non-experts, and I would choose a different example if I could think of one right now) of Chamberlain’s ultimatum letter to Hitler on Poland. I’ve heard that supposedly, Hitler read it himself instead of having diplomats interpret it, and misinterpreted diplomatic politeness as hesitation and weakness, and decided to invade Poland.


Not me; I’m freakin’ Scottie.

I’m gonna live, and then bitch about stuff endlessly in my best Scottish brogue…


Maybe this should go in the pedantry thread, but I think the words about legality are very important to the meaning. Boilerplate or legally required language still means what it says.

Say you have no information that can legally be shared. If they send a letter saying, “Give me all the information that you can legally share,” then by giving them nothing you are actually complying with their request. If it says, “Give me all the information,” then you are not complying and citing the law as a reason for not complying.

Of course the actual response from some places was more along the lines of “up yours.” To go back to the example @CLamb used: If someone asks you for a cigarette and you don’t have any, you can’t give them one. But if you say, “I don’t have any, but I wouldn’t give you one even if I did because I hate you,” then I think it’s fair to give your choice not to comply primacy over your inability to comply.


In case you didn’t notice, there is quite a difference between political parties amassing such data, and the federal government doing it. The federal government has far, far greater resources than the political parties, not to mention legal and police forces, the IRS, ICE, etc., etc., etc. All of these resources could be called into play to harass and suppress voters. And please don’t say “Oh, they wouldn’t do that.” History tells us that they would, especially in formerly democratic countries that have turned fascist regimes using these methods. Perhaps you’ve heard about what’s happening in Turkey? If not the linked article might be educational.

Furthermore, if Obama had done this, the right wing would have screamed bloody murder. And I would have, too, because the federal government has no business even looking at such data, much less collecting it.

Also, see the comment by @GulliverFoyle above:

Please try to learn some history! It’s easy, just by reading.


I agree. Actually I agree with everything you wrote.

In fact I would go a step further and say that such language is the only language in such a letter that means what it says, because it is uniquely and intentionally devoid of tone. It would be there in essentially the same form no matter what text followed it, no matter what the sender really intended or wanted,. Critically, the recipient knows that and will interpret the request accordingly. They will and should interpret it in the context of what they know or suspect about the sender’s goals, motivations, power, credibility, etc. Both will or should also assume that such a letter will become public, and therefore that at least some of the message is aimed at the public, and that different audiences will interpret it differently. Treating the sender or the recipient as automata meaning exactly and only what they say is not a strategy likely to result in a good understanding of the situation.

For example:

in order for the Commission to fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting

If this means just what it says, why include it? If the info is public, then I expect it should be accessible without stating a specific purpose. The purpose would also be readily implied by the Commission’s name anyway. It is at least plausible, then, that including it is a rhetorical choice (“I’m pursuing a virtuous goal and you should feel motivated to comply”) and a political one (it is a Republican talking point that vulnerability to fraud is a bigger issue than suppression).


The Commission is charged with studying the registration and voting processes used in federal
elections and submitting a report to the President of the United States that identifies laws, rules,
policies, activities, strategies, and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s
confidence in the integrity of federal elections processes.

Again, on its own this seems like a perfectly reasonable sentence - knowing such information is not itself good or bad, but is useful for decision making. In practice, it is an intensely political statement. There’s domestic context: with the exception of gross abuses, election integrity is a state not federal responsibility; a conservative Supreme Court decision gutted the Voting Rights Act, reducing federal oversight and permitting a huge number of previously-illegal state level election law changes likely to favor Republicans; now a Republican administration wants all this information. There’s the international context: totalitarian governments using voter suppression and intimidation to control election outcomes despite nominally democratic processes; “we kill people based on metadata.” There’s current events context: this particular administration is already under investigation for possible collusion with a hostile foreign power during the last election; the president openly and publicly asked Russia to hack his opponent.

And how about even this one:

You may submit your responses electronically to or by
utilizing the Safe Access File Exchange (“SAFE”), which is a secure FTP site the federal
government uses for transferring large data files.

Seems simple, but note that despite the availability of a secure FTP site they’re actually also inviting recipients to send large volumes of sensitive data over email. Whether the sender meant it that way or not, it’s an obvious possible misunderstanding that suggests the sender isn’t trying all that hard to keep the information secure. If they were, they would recognize that recipients are not all experts in keeping data secure and would be much more specific in making sure they submit data securely.


In that case, would you mind beaming me up?


Me too please!


Would that I could.


No, you’re gonna die too, it’s just that you won’t be completely vaporized like everyone else, and the captain will complain about it until the living space probe that kills you brings you back to life.


Eventually, but:



Just gonna leave this here for those still skeptical of the writing on the wall…


Anyone who doesn’t see the writing on the wall at this point is being willfully blind to the intent here. To believe this is all about solving a problem that doesn’t exist is to ignore the nature of this president* and of the party that supports him. Gessen’s Rule #1 – “Believe the Autocrat. He means what he says” – holds as much weight now as it did back in November. This is about destroying the opposition entirely and “proving” that this egomaniac won the popular vote…


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