Tag Archives: ethics

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

Sometimes You Quit Your Job to Speak Your Mind

10 Feb

We are currently living in an environment in which our freedom of speech is under siege more than ever before.  We are denied access to vital information, misinformed by those who we trust to keep us aware, denied the opportunity to safely express our opinions.  Students are threatened with expulsion, journalists with incarceration, employees with termination all simply for holding others to reasonable standards of behavior.  And all this is so incredibly intertwined with money, power, ego, and entitlement that those of us lacking access to any, and sometimes all, of those things can be left completely voiceless, powerless.  That shouldn’t be so.  At a time when people reference the Bill of Rights almost constantly, why do so many of us feel so very silenced?

I have always been an opinionated girl.  What started out as indiscriminate screaming as a toddler has evolved into well thought out and incredibly strongly held beliefs about all manner of things.  It is one of my favorite things about myself but also what gets me into most of the jams I find myself in.  Sometimes I wish I could just keep my mouth shut, simply not care as much as I do, but then I wouldn’t be me.  The fact of the matter is that I care. If I had to go out on a limb and articulate what I care about more than anything else it would probably be equality.  At the same time,  if I had to say what it is that I personally work on harder than anything else, it is seeing everyone as equal.

I think that we are all raised in environments that, due to a myriad different factors, value certain people over others.  Be it due to skin color, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, class, appearance, profession, native language, accent, mental or physical ailments, we have a very unfortunate tendency to assign worth to individuals.  I am by no means innocent of this very thing.  The thing about it, though, is that I am trying.  I am trying, while understanding the privilege that I was born with, to shed preconceived notions of people, to make myself more tolerant, more understanding, more open, more human.  One of the by-products of this journey is that I am acutely aware of when I, and those whom I love, are treated as somehow lesser than.  It happens to me because I am Jewish, because I am female, because I work in the service profession.  It happens all the time and, just as I think others do not deserve that kind of treatment, I believe that I deserve better.  And so I speak and I write and for that I am not sorry.

Honestly, I am angry that I am writing this right now.  I think it is crazy that I have to sit here and talk about the fact that I believe people, all people, should be able to wake up in the morning and feel safe.  We should feel safe in our homes, on the streets, at our jobs.  We should feel as though we are of some value, some worth.  We should feel as though our friends and families are in our corner.  That should simply be part of being.  None of us should go through life constantly being told that we are not deserving of simple human kindness and yet, day after day, this is what happens to so many of us.  We shouldn’t have to justify our existence, our choices.  I was born female, I was born Jewish, I chose to bartend.  All of these things have made me who I am and I am not ashamed of any of them and I never will be.

If you come into the place in which I work and you disrespect me, my coworkers, my employers, you had better believe I am going to have something to say about  it.  Being drunk does not give you an excuse to treat other people with utter disregard.  We should never be called names, be threatened, or have things thrown at us simply for doing our jobs.  Nobody should.  We all are worth something, but by treating others poorly because you think your money or your degree somehow makes you worth more you are simply devaluing yourself.  Threatening a small business with a baseless, frivolous lawsuit simply so you don’t have to be held accountable for your own poor behavior devalues your profession.  Threatening someone’s freedom of speech simply because it gets your nose out of joint devalues the law itself.

So I quit my job.  I quit my job because I was asked to take my blog posts down and apologize to those who were bothered by them and I will not do either of those things.  I quit my job because a few members of an otherwise kind, intelligent, fun and caring group of legal professionals decided to lob an empty, and I believe ethically questionable, lawsuit at a bar because a barely-read blog detailed the extremely poor behavior of a few.  (One of whom, might I point out, has already had his name and profession published in the New York Post in connection with a drunken assault charge.)  The thing is, I never published last names and I have only published first names, and common ones at that, twice.  Once was retroactively, after I received an anonymous comment from an email address that was created for the occasion and subsequently disabled and after I quit my job, and the other because the person repeatedly threw things at me, on camera, which seems to me grounds for an assault charge.  And yet I left their last names out, and will continue to do so, not because I am afraid of being sued but because, for whatever reason and in the face of years of poor treatment and bad behavior, it seems like the moral thing to do.  Sometimes a girl just needs to vent, she does not need to impact someone else’s life in any real and negative way (possible ego bruising aside).  But that’s just me.  Some of these people might be assholes, but they are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.

And besides, my integrity is simply too valuable to me.  I might not have as much money as some other people, and my resume might not be as impressive, but I feel damn good.  I have a right to say what I believe and I have the obligation to attach my name to what I say.  If that means that people don’t like me, that people threaten me, that people undermine the ethics of their own profession, that is their problem, not mine.  I have always been me and I always will be.  If I like you, believe me you will know it.  I will tell you in no uncertain terms.  But if you are disrespectful to me or someone I care about, I will tell you what I think.  That is my right and my obligation as a person who gives a damn.  You want to use your education to scare a few kind, hard-working, small business owners to death?  Go for it I hope you’re proud.  I will use mine to simply treat people with the kindness and respect they deserve.

Good luck and enjoy the bar, it’s all yours.