Doxxing

Doxxing is not sussing. Sussing is more like reporting: it involves pursuing a story to out the people involved historically or to investigate events. Doxxing also releases private personal information against the wishes of a person referred to in a post; doxxing intends exposure, however, for the purposes of manipulating the person, but doxxing legally cannot intend to induce physical harm. Doxxing must not result in identity theft, for example. Did the Bitcoin creators get sussed or doxxed, when journalists exposed their identities? The creators wanted to stay anonymous for reasons of safety, so does it matter.

Journalists are vulnerable to doxxing. Yet there are suggested precautions. VoxMedia pre-authorized tweets –an oxymoron, I know — -might still include the journalist’s handle but the feed gets directed to a general Vox wall that keeps harassers away from the particulars of the journalist. Freelancers might separate home from work: use P.O boxes and Skype or Google phone numbers for work.

As Ijeoma Oluo points out, doxxing is two-edged sword: it can hurt the innocent, but also it can flush out hatemongers under the auspices of doing Good by exposing bullying, if not terror. Yet, is that really good? Are we not heading down the same path as suggesting that we really are doing Good when we send death row inmates to death? The unwilled exposure of people’s personal information, even with the intent to expose EVIL, is still wrong. Grandma always said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Guarding against doxxing means rendering its manipulation wrong at all times.

We just cannot get away from the same question: How can we safeguard anonymity on the internet? How about automatic sun-setting in a real black hole — gone completely forever — -cyber-death, so to speak?

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