kavanaugh senate hearing republicans

Please Don’t Doxx Anyone, Not Even Terrible Republican Senators

Stop making me have to defend Republicans.

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Doxxing—the publishing of someone’s personal information, such as phone numbers and home or work addresses—is a vile, dangerous thing. It’s a tactic beloved by the likes of Gamergate, meant to intimidate and overwhelm, and potentially leave people vulnerable to physical harm. It shouldn’t be done to anyone—not even the horrible Republican men of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sigh. I really hate having to defend Republicans.

A (now-former) Congressional intern and self-identified “Democratic political professional” named Jackson Cosko has been arrested for posting the unlisted cell phone numbers and home addresses of Senators Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Mike Lee. He did so last week, during their questioning of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, and has now been charged with making restricted personal information public, witness tampering, second-degree burglary, threatening interstate communications, unauthorized use of a government computer, identity theft, and unlawful entry.

Cosko might not have known that there are accounts and bots designed to track changes to Wikipedia entries made with IP addresses assigned to Congress. That’s how we knew, for example, that it was a Congressional IP address that edited the Wikipedia page for “Devil’s Triangle”—which was mentioned in Kavanaugh’s yearbook—to reflect his false claim that the well-known term refers to a drinking game and not a threesome with two men and one woman. (That immature yearbook boast could, theoretically, have referred to the act Ford accused Kavanaugh and Mark Judge of attempting to force her into. We can’t know, though, because he lied about its meaning.)

I get the desire behind Cosko’s act. It was hard to hear Orrin Hatch call Dr. Ford “attractive” and “pleasing,” or watch Lindsey Graham scream for five straight minutes about being in “hell,” and not want to take some sort of dramatic action. If doxxing were ever going to be an acceptable act, that might have been it. Unfortunately, it’s not acceptable, ever. It’s dangerous and cowardly, and there’s a reason why it’s such a favorite of the worst of the worst people on the internet.

If you want to make Republicans uncomfortable, there are plenty of ways to do so. We still have elevators, restaurants, and–if you want to go old-school–their offices, to name just a few ideas. We don’t need to publish their personal information, too.

(via NPR, image: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.