Just a Few Words on Doxxing

10 Jun

So over the past 24 hours or so I received quite a number of nice comments from my friends on the internet.  So thank you all for sharing your opinions with me.  A special thanks goes to the individual who sent me a link to this article about a woman in Washington who was diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing extensive online bullying.  This Twitter user was concerned about the effects of online bullying on my delicate psyche and advised me to be sure to get to a psychiatric hospital stat.  See?  (Mostly I was hoping to show off the fact that I learned how to embed a Tweet in my blog.  I still have a few kinks to work out, clearly.)

I just want to let @QuayBangz know that here in New York we have access to all sorts of top of the line medical facilities!  That being said, I think I will be okay but thanks so very much for your concern.

I also was hoping to address a comment I received from Jonathan Taylor of the website “A Voice for Male Students.”  He pointed out a few concerns he had about my post so I was hoping to address one of them in particular.  In his well-organized list of points* he said the following:

Emma’s email address and picture were all publicly available before the AVFMS article. Doxxing is when someone exposes private information that others have taken pains to hide. This is not the case here, where she voluntarily and of her own initiative provided all the information to the world. Gathering information together that another person has given you is not the same as doxxing.

Actually, according to a Wikipedia entry on doxxing,

Doxing (spelling variant Doxxing) is an abbreviation of document tracing, the Internet-based practice of researching and publishing personally identifiable information about an individual.  The methods employed in pursuit of this information range from searching publicly available databases and social media websites like Facebook to hacking and social engineering. It is closely related to cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism, and cyber-bullying.

And then here from the Economist:

The term “dox” (also spelt “doxx”, and short for “[dropping] documents”) first came into vogue as a verb around a decade ago, referring to malicious hackers’ habit of collecting personal and private information, including home addresses and national identity numbers. The data are often released publicly against a person’s wishes.

So, providing her photograph and email address, even though it could be easily found on the internet, does in fact fall under the umbrella of doxxing.

So here’s the thing about it.  Doxxing is not illegal, at the moment anyway.  The law is always a few years behind technology so it will be interesting to see how we deal with these sorts of issues in the coming years.  That being said, even if doxxing were illegal, I doubt that Mr. Taylor’s publishing of Emma’s photograph and email address would make waves considering the extreme ways other people doxx those who they are intimidated by.  But I also think that most of us on the internet, and especially intelligent individuals like Mr. Taylor seems to be, are able to follow the potential chain of events through to their logical conclusions.  If we have been blogging long enough, we are more or less aware of who our audience is.  I don’t have a very broad readership so most of the people who consistently read my blogs are people I know, or people who know people I know.  (Except for all the people who read this post about my dad which I am still super perplexed by.)  Even still, I try to err on the side of responsibility.  What I am trying to say is that Mr. Taylor is aware of who his readers are.  He has a very detailed Mission Statement and explains in detail The Nine Values that all posts associated with his site will adhere to.  This is part of the description of those Values:

The goal of advocacy is not to win per se, but rather to win over. We do so by demonstrating to the world in our words and actions how our values differ from those with whom we disagree, and how our values make the world a better place to live. To that end, for those officially affiliated with this website, these Nine Values are not suggestions which we may accept or dismiss as the mood suits us, but rather a code of conduct reflecting the high standards by which the quality and integrity of this website will be maintained and the degree to which we will be successful.

The thing is that I have spent only the better part of the last week scrolling through various MRA (or MHRA as some prefer to call it) websites and on just about all of them have encountered a lot of hateful words and misguided articles.  I would bet a fair sum of money that Mr. Taylor is perfectly aware of the tendency of the more radical people associated with his movement.  He knows they read him.  He knows the opinions that they have and the ways they express them.  I think it would be safe for me to assume that, by posting Emma’s email address on his own website, he would inspire less “principled” people to respond in kind and I think that was entirely irresponsible.  By Googling Emma, I discovered her email on various MRA websites calling her all sorts of names that I prefer not to repeat here.  It is all well and good to adhere to your own standards, but that sort of goes out the window when you let other people do your dirty work for you.

I don’t know.  We’re all adults here.  Mr. Taylor and his supporters, as I have said before, are welcome to their own opinions and the nonviolent expression of those opinions.  I am guaranteed this same thing, as is Emma and her co-activists in Detroit.  But I also think there should be a reasonable assumption that people won’t hit below the belt, as it were.  That being said, feel free to email me at franklyrebekah@gmail.com if you feel so inclined.  We can engage in an adult conversation there.  I might quote you here, but no matter how available your email address, home address, place of employment or photographs are, they will never appear on this site.

*This was not intended to be sarcastic in the least.  He sent me a comment with numbered points which I really appreciated.  I love listing things.

The term “dox” (also spelt “doxx”, and short for “[dropping] documents”) first came into vogue as a verb around a decade ago, referring to malicious hackers’ habit of collecting personal and private information, including home addresses and national identity numbers. The data are often released publicly against a person’s wishes. – See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/03/economist-explains-9#sthash.NJlPdAi

One Response to “Just a Few Words on Doxxing”

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  1. Woman from Street Harassment Video Receives Rape Threats, No One is Surprised | franklyrebekah - October 30, 2014

    […] months back when I decided to poke the bear that is the Men’s Rights Movement. I wrote three different articles on the subject and I have to say I don’t think I have ever received so many […]

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