In a protest over the City of Denver’s approach to handling its homeless population, the activist hacker group Anonymous has threatened to dox — release the personal information of — those it says support Denver’s camping bans.
Earlier this month, the city began removing homeless camps and personal items from public sidewalks and other public property in efforts to enforce Denver’s urban camping ordinance, reported the Denver Post.
In response, Anonymous released two videos threatening retaliation against groups it says are denying the homeless basic human rights, Denver’s Westword reported.
The Downtown Denver Partnership is a supporter of the urban camping ban and was active in lobbying efforts to pass the ordinance, and, as a member of the Partnership, Tattered Cover Book Store is also being targeted by Anonymous. Though the bookstore has explained that its policy is to engage only in matters of public policy if they relate to reading and access to content, it has been targeted in the past for not taking a stand against the ban. In a video addressed to Tattered Cover, Anonymous take exception to the store’s refusal to take a position on the urban camping ban, and the group’s video directed at the City of Denver says that “every member of the Downtown Partnership who supported the camping ban will also be doxed and their information posted for the world to see.”
“As has been well-reported, Tattered Cover has never taken a position on Denver’s urban camping ban,” said store co-owner Len Vlahos. “Our refusal to take a stance on matters of public policy is principled; our customers need to know that they have unfettered access to books and content without fear of judgment or reprisal. The opponents of the camping ban know this, but have chosen to ignore it. Because Tattered Cover has a very potent brand name in Denver, and because our customer base is a very desirable demographic, they feel they can make hay by targeting us. The protests against Tattered Cover — and, of course, we support any citizen’s right to protest in a peaceful and civil way — as well as the illegal assault on Tattered Cover’s website is tactical, not philosophical.”
The City of Denver responded to Anonymous’ comments with a statement, as reported by Denver7 News, which said in part: “There is more work to do. Homelessness is not something that happens because of a single issue — people experience homelessness for a wide spectrum of reasons so our approach to helping those who are homeless must be just as broad. In 2015, the City and County of Denver spent approximately $40.7 million on a variety of programs and initiatives for those experiencing homelessness, those at-risk of falling into homelessness and the formerly homeless. This year the city projects it will spend approximately $47.6 million on programs and initiatives geared toward helping this population.”