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The backlash against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is growing beyond pure social media outrage. Some individuals are sharing contact information for ICE employees online, forcing social media sites to take action.
Medium, Github, and Twitter are reportedly taking down projects and posts that detail the LinkedIn information of ICE employees. Some of the posts remain on Twitter, while the Medium posts and accounts in question have been removed. WikiLeaks also published an archive of ICE employee information, but the tweet sharing that dossier appears to have since been taken down as of Friday morning.
The outing of ICE employees is a response to the “zero tolerance policy” the Trump administration introduced earlier in May against undocumented immigrants. The policy has resulted in the forced separation of thousands of children from their parents, most of whom have been placed in detention centers. The government reportedly has no plan in place to eventually reunite these children with their parents. The psychological trauma likely being inflicted on these children is being considered “a medical crisis” by some experts.
The forced separation has spurred tremendous action online. One Facebook fundraiser for reuniting immigrant families has already raised more than $11 million. But others have turned their frustration toward ICE, with protests staged at ICE offices across the country. On Tuesday, some activists began scraping the LinkedIn profiles of those who work for the agency and disseminating their personal information.
According to LinkedIn, 1,595 people work for ICE in some capacity.
I scraped LinkedIn for people that work for ICE: https://t.co/MJuuyMeAal— Sam Lavigne (@sam_lavigne) June 19, 2018
The account that posted everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE got suspended from Medium. I had a similar idea yesterday and did some screengrabs. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/UUTKba7hq4— Peter Feld (@peterfeld) June 20, 2018
Companies are also seeing backlash for their involvement with this agency. Earlier this week, Microsoft saw criticism for its contract with ICE. A January blog post that recently resurfaced said that Microsoft was “proud” to support the agency. The blog post was temporarily edited to omit that statement. The news prompted some Microsoft employees to announce that they would leave the company if Microsoft’s involvement didn’t cease.
American Airlines has also been dragged into the mess. An unsubstantiated report suggested that the airline was used to transport children whose parents had been detained. American Airlines has since come out to say that the government’s policy is “not at all aligned” with its values, and it does not want to be used to transport minors to detention facilities.
President Trump, who has, without support, blamed Democrats for the much-maligned policy, has said he would sign something soon to keep detained families together.
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Update 11:19am, June 22: Updated to include the news of the dossier being published by WikiLeaks.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.