If you’ve ever registered an internet domain, then you know that to complete registration you need to give the Domain Name Service a contact for billing, tech issues, and administration. For most businesses, this may be three different people; all of them have a work address and contact number or email accounts. For a personal website, however, that means putting your information down – making your home address, phone number and email available to anyone on demand. Domain registration information is public unless you pay an extra fee (usually under $10 per year) to have your registrar put their information there and hide yours.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a website in 2009; aptly titling his personal blog seanspicer.com. The next year he updated his information due to a change in address – and listed his new home address, phone number, and email. According to Ars Technica, that information is still there, for all the world to see.
Exacerbating the problem is that Spicer has a Yahoo email, which was caught up in the massive data breach released in 2016. His email – which Liberty Nation won’t post here – is linked to several other websites, some of which are run by family members or are only sitting as a ‘parked’ (unused) domain.
While tech sites are taking the opportunity to remind people that private registration exists, the real problem isn’t just that the White House Press Secretary’s home address is in the public domain.
The issue is what the left could do with it.
Activists on the left are well-known for releasing the personal information of people they don’t like, don’t agree with, or those they are trying to bully into a course of action. Following the election, anti-Trump groups published the contact information of electoral college members, hoping that other activists would ‘persuade’ them to vote for Hillary Clinton. As The Federalist Papers Project points out, elector names are public information – their race, gender, and religion are, however, not. That doesn’t matter to the left, of course, and a thread on Reddit’s “safe space” community posted the list, calling for people to contact the electors and push them into voting ‘correctly.’
In January, as Milo Yiannopolous made plans to speak at the University of California Berkeley, a leftist site posted the names, social media links, photos, and accusations regarding the UC-Berkeley Republicans who invited Milo to speak. The site, in a slobbering hit piece, characterized them as racists, white supremacists, and singled them out for individual harassment.
The concept of “doxxing” – releasing personal information on the internet to expose a pseudonym, allow identity theft, or mark someone as a bullying target – is not new. We encourage people to take their online privacy seriously, and there are resources to help you do that, such as Electronic Frontier Foundation. If so-called ‘activists’ use Sean Spicer’s information to plan a harassment campaign or violence against him and his family, however, that’s a new low – even for the cave-dwellers on the left.