When Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi was allegedly attacked with a hammer at the couple's San Francisco home last week, people were quick to blame the internet for making her address too easy for David DePape to find. What they don't tell you is that the internet has a constitutional right to disseminate the home addresses of government officials to people. The internet has that right because the internet is run primarily by people who as people in the United States have constitutional rights. Those rights include the right to freedom speech and the right peaceably to assemble. Those rights are frustrated whenever an outlier such as this is exploited to restrict the free flow of information.
We were debating whether to say anything about this until we noticed Judge Esther Salas on CNN advocating for a bill which would make it illegal to post home addresses of judges and lawmakers online (https://twitter.com/CNN/status/1586177130471493632). Judge Salas lost her son two years ago when a men's rights lawyer came to her home looking for her and shot him instead. She has been fighting to restrict the availability of home addresses online ever since. Such incidents while tragic are extremely rare. Restricting the ability to publish home addresses of government officials just because a small minority of people use them for violent purposes sometimes would unnecessarily violate the First Amendment rights of Americans.
We don't know exactly how David DePape found Pelosi's address but he probably found it online easily. Pelosi is so famous that her home address is prominently featured on websites about homes of celebrities. You can find a link to one such example on a site called Velvet Ropes above the map on this page. When someone becomes so famous that their fame alone leads to people posting their address because people are generally curios about how the rich and famous live, they fall into a category of person whose expectation of privacy is significantly less than most. Judge Salas can at least maintain that she wasn't rich enough or famous enough to make her home an object of innocent public intrigue. Pelosi is on another level entirely. Pelosi is on the same level as people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump all of whose homes are also featured on Velvet Ropes.
Politicians differ from judges and other government officials in another important way. They often are required to register their home address when running for office. In our state we can find out the home address of anyone whose run for office simply by going to the Secretary of State's website and typing in their names. Re-posting their addresses with critical articles on this site just saves readers the time of having to track it down elsewhere. Even if Pelosi's address were removed from sites like Velvet Ropes it would still be available for a small fee elsewhere.
We ran the names Nancy and Paul Pelosi through a background check database we subscribe to and found their addresses listed under a misspelling of Paul's middle name. It appears someone likely got the records for both of their names properly spelled removed from public records databases only to miss a record for Paul Francisc Pelosi which is actually a record for Paul Francis Pelosi. That record included the above listed address as well as the following address:
3030 K ST NW APT 214
WASHINGTON, DC 20007
Both locations are legitimate targets for non-violent activism such as peaceful picketing and mailing of non-threatening letters. They're also legitimate locations for film crews from all over the world to film following a high profile attack such as the one allegedly carried out by DePape. We have repeatedly posted home addresses of government officials for the purpose of helping others protest peacefully at locations where they know they will be heard. We posted the home address of the former head of Homeland Security shortly before a group protested outside his home against the conduct of his staff in Portland, Oregon during the 2020 protests. That led to a federal officer asking us about it the same day Chad Wolf visited Portland. We stuck to our guns and didn't remove his information until he resigned. If we were breaking the law we would have surely been arrested.
We fully support the right of Pelosi's opponents to picket her homes and send her non-threatening letters at those locations. That is why we are including those addresses in this article. We are also including them because we know others will likely remove that information or refrain from posting it just because of one guy who is now in jail. We on the other hand know that often a critical article has no teeth without an address. Often we've heard of complaints filed with government agencies to the effect of "I would just ignore that article but it has my address." That often puts the people in charge of whether to remove it or not in a position to negotiate more favorable terms. That would not be possible if Congress were to pass some unconstitutional law against posting home addresses of government officials. Lower legislators have tried doing that in the past only to find their work declared unconstitutional in court (https://casetext.com/case/publius-v-boyer-vine).
When we began posting addresses of law enforcement personnel years ago it was in response to law enforcement posting the former address of our founder on Justive.gov in a press release. He figured two could play that game so he posted the home addresses of almost every law enforcement officer, prosecutor, judge, and snitch involved in his federal case. He then conditioned the blocking of that information on the removal of his old address from DOJ websites. The feds capitulated and you won't find that on their websites anymore. That would not have been possible had it been illegal to copy addresses from public records and re-post them elsewhere on the internet. All he would have been able to do is complain which would have probably resulted in a response to the effect of the dissemination of that address being among his reasons for sending someone a threatening email, so they felt the need to host it themselves so that the public could see it without any members of the public being at risk of reprisal. That case can basically be summed up as controversial webmaster gets doxxed for refusing to remove content, webmaster threatens to kill doxxer, doxxer removes dox, government throws book at webmaster for making death threat and doxxes webmaster to teach him that any effort to use violence as a means to suppress information about himself will only result in the government posting it themselves.
Our founder also managed to get a federal judge to recuse himself simply by mailing a letter to the judge at his home from jail asking him to recuse himself. Federal judges rarely recuse themselves. He also handed the judge's address out to his fellow inmates at a federal detention center so that they could do the same thing. None of that would have been possible had it not been for data brokers exercising their rights. That judge didn't just recuse himself, the court put out an SOS for an out of district judge and now only judges from other states will hear cases involving him. In his defense, he was overcharged with a crime he did not commit at the time and the judge had been biased against him in previous cases, so he only did what he felt necessary to better set himself up for a fair trial. He eventually received time served after the government's case fell apart.
Today this website blocks by default home addresses of police officers, prosecutors, judges, and corrections personnel. The map in such cases defaults to the center of whatever town is listed. While our founder was originally under a supervised release condition prohibiting him from disclosing addresses of government officials to anyone for any reason, he is not on supervision anymore. He decided to keep the block in place because he wants to live in peace with the government if possible. Plus, the government stopped screwing with him for the most part and he felt like reciprocating. Today we only post addresses if we think including them serves a public interest. If we think an address is likely be useful for protesters we will post it. We also post addresses in cases involving sex crimes to warn people of predators in their area. Those activities would be frustrated if it suddenly became illegal to post that information.
We fear that this incident will be exploited in ways that keep people from making their voices heard. As if mitigating the risk of another DePape is worth stopping everyone from sharing the information they need to organize lawful pickets outside the homes of government officials or organize letter writing campaigns. We have noticed over the years that protests at homes tend to be far more peaceful than protests outside government buildings. We think that is because people know they're being heard outside a home while the official usually feels free to ignore them entirely if they picket a government building unless the building is damaged. They also seem to recognize the sensitive nature of a home and are far less likely to break anything. The far-right and far-left are both known for such protests. The far-left pickets the homes of Supreme Court injustices for violating the reproductive rights of women (https://www.nationalreview.com/news/pro-abortion-group-publicizes-conservative-supreme-court-justices-home-addresses-ahead-of-planned-protests/). The far-right pickets the homes of police officers that arrest women for taking their kids to public parks during COVID lockdowns without wearing masks (https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/ammon-bundy-meridian-police-officer-home-protest-sara-brady-arrest-idaho/277-ec401186-0c8c-4d9f-aaa8-780345300c13). We support the rights of both groups to do such things.
Historically, Pelosi's home is known for being a target of peaceful protesters as well as curious tourists (https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/29/pelosis-san-francisco-home-unwanted-attention-00064111). There was an incident of vandalism last year in which someone spray painted "cancel rent" among other things (https://abc7news.com/nancy-pelosi-san-francisco-home-vandalized/9265112/). It seems like everyone knows where she lives and are free to come or go as they wish. They might as well stop calling it the Pelosi house and start calling it the peoples house.
Arguing that nobody should be legally capable of posting the home addresses of government officials just because they're targeted for violence sometimes is like arguing for "gun control" on the grounds that there would be no shootings without guns. All the government hopes they need to take your guns away is a few more psychos shooting up schools. Likewise, all the government hopes they need to take your voice away is a few crazies showing up at their homes. Don't let either tactic fool you. Guns and the free flow of information are necessary for the security of a free state.