LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES: What is doxing? | Columns

The word is relatively new, although action has been a part of the bad internet players’ playbooks since the 1990s. Doxing is about taking advantage of the vast, sometimes private, information available online about a person or organization. targeted. The word is not that inventive. It comes from materials that we tinker with in a file, such as a document cache, abbreviated as “docs”. This abridged version of “documents” does not, however, push the discipline of etymology to the brink of collapse. If you’ve been on the lookout for the past two decades, you’ve seen tech companies running Big Pharma to see who can create the newest words: Google, Yervoy, Hulu, Etsy, Celexa, and the list goes on. Only the most attentive marketing fanatic can tell which are drugs and which are websites.

As a summary, to doxize someone or an entity involves combing through the Internet, usually but not always limited to free information, and developing a case. Let’s say your teenage daughter comes home from school screaming, and not normal effects of being that age and gender, the “friends” not being that friendly all the time. You can tell this time it’s more serious. She has a great family relationship, so she’s confident enough to explain how, seemingly out of nowhere, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram all contained naughty and dastardly posts and edited pictures at the poor girl’s house. She had garnered media attention for securing a college scholarship for softball talent and academics. Web trolls couldn’t stand still with just good news.

What could you do? Your daughter’s anguish and anguish await your heroic responses. Yet the bastards seem anonymous. The fools who harassed her are not known to you or her. These are @Gonuts_Donuts or @ primetime772 or @ fratrat96 (all, like “TikTok”, made up, so forgive yourself if these are handles you hide behind online). You want to reuse your softball bat but know it’s best not to react violently. You still don’t know who they are anyway, so revenge needs to be done in a more creative way.

You could touch the keyboard yourself. Who are these masked trolls? Sometimes, maybe most of the time, it’s not impossible to start getting information. And that’s exactly what World Series-winning multiple pitcher Curtis Montague Schilling did. My hypothetical “what if” sadly belonged to him and his family about six years ago when his daughter was recruited to play softball in college. He persists with force and learns that one of the stalkers is a DJ at a college radio station. Another was, in fact, a brotherhood boy and even his brotherhood vice president. Others were themselves poorly concealed college athletes who essentially, anonymously and disgustingly, confused poor young Gabby Schilling. Curt had identified several of his enemies, then had them doxed by gathering as much as he could about them. He posted it online, and in a few cases to their employers. The DJ lost his duties as a community college record holder. The frat flake had been in the ticket sales at Yankees Stadium, but that cherry gig was immediately gone.

Doxing, you see, can be done for good, or at least for the sake of morality in someone’s mind. More frequently, however, there is nothing ethical about doxing that motivates its strengths. There are many arguments to be made that while it was used to avenge cyberbullying attacks on his daughter, Schilling’s doxing was no less an act of cyberbullying. Who among us wouldn’t want to find these trolls and make them pay? Who among us, then, would apply the same tactics as them? It does not correspond to any sense of righteousness. This is a problem in itself.

Stay with me, here, because now I want to introduce you to another terrible online phenomenon: SWATting. If you are very irritated that someone cuts you off while driving, and then you carefully take note of their bumper stickers, license plate and other information, or if you are so bothered that you surreptitiously follow them to see where they live, you could take that knowledge and “SWAT” them. You call such an outrageous and bogus 9-1-1 emergency that the only viable answer is to send the SWAT team. First you doxed them to determine their location, then you smashed them wasting the resources of the emergency police. It’s happened a lot, a lot more often than you might think, and it’s an ongoing problem.

Doxing takes many other forms and provides many results. Teenagers have committed suicide after being doxed. Professionals have lost their livelihood. Politicians, first responders, people of all ages and walks of life have succumbed. Vigilance is sometimes what doxers support in their endeavors, like Batman’s Justice, though this thing is made up and is from children’s comics. This thing, this doxing, seems more aligned with stalking than fighting crime.

Doxing is also a relatively easy job for those with patience. You cannot have read this column over the years without realizing that most of the information that could be considered private just a few years ago is mostly available on most of us. Curt Schilling’s talents aren’t computer programming or investigating, but he identified the real people behind his daughter’s victimization in about an hour.

Doxing is also probably illegal and is now specifically illegal in Kentucky. For years, federal courts have pursued doxers in the most egregious cases, but not under anti-doxing law in the federal books. On the contrary, because the basic actions are so similar, doxers are charged according to anti-harassment principles.

In Kentucky, which leads the state level when it comes to anti-doxing laws, it became illegal last June to doxize someone with the intent of harming or even harming them. scare him. If you get doxed in Kentucky, you can now sue the stalker in civil court, creating even more dox (and new revenge). Pay attention to you “investigators!” »Latent!

Ed is a qualified cybersecurity teacher, lawyer and ethicist. Contact him at [email protected]

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