Sunday, January 26, 2014

Doxing / Snitching: What's the difference?

Doxing is a long standing Internet tradition. However, it's only been in recent years that the practice has come into the public eye.

Doxing, an abbreviation of document tracing, is 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. 
Doxing may be carried out to aid law enforcement, extortion, coercion, harassment, public shaming, and other forms of vigilante justice. 
While the Wiki states that it's being used for both cyber-bullying and to aid law enforcement, those are recent uses of doxing. While they might have occurred occasionally in the earlier days of the Internet they were, based on my personal observations, very uncommon uses and not considered acceptable uses by Netizens generally. In fact, if someone did use doxing for either of those purposes they were likely to end up getting doxed themselves. 

 There is certainly a very long standing tradition on the Internet of dealing firmly and sometimes quite harshly with cyber-bullies and those who aid law enforcement in identifying social activists like Internet free speech activists, human rights workers, etc. Doxing is a component part of that tradition. As the Internet developed and TOR was created, DoxBin also appeared in DarkNet and was the place to identify feds, snitches, cyberharassers and other bad elements on the Internet for the most part.

When Anonymous came into the public eye the concept of doxing also came into the public eye because Anonymous used it as a social protest vehicle in those Ops which targeted law enforcement, intelligence, and snitches in particular.

However, since then, the unethical uses of doxing have gained momentum and the vast majority of doxing today is, in fact, either snitching, revenge, or malicious harassment and persecution. Those doxes are also now appearing on DoxBin in DarkNet and various other anonymized paste sites on ClearNet.

That is, it's become the thing to do if you're mad at someone, disagree with them, want to make a name for yourself at the expense of a well-known hacktivist like the th3j35t3r, or want to earn some cash by snitching like Jennifer Emick was trying to do with BackTrace which she was fired from and is now trying to do with Asherah Research.

Doxing someone like th3j35t3r, social activists from repressive regimes, or even atheists who live in countries governed by Islamic Law could actually put their lives in danger. A fact that these idiots fail to consider or seem to be concerned about.

Those that engage in unethical doxing often attempt to place some social 'spin' on it to rationalize their attacks much in the same way that Tards try to claim that they're 'trolls'. They are trying to give their unethical acts Internet 'street cred' and nothing more.

Since it's become such a common practice, the general trend has been to let these cyberharassers run roughshod over anyone they choose as their targets.

What appears to be dying is the Internet tradition of dealing with these bad elements.

In my opinion, this was, and continues to be, an important tradition that needs to be revived by those who care about the Internet and our freedoms.

Free speech doesn't give people the right to lie, defame or libel and doxing shouldn't be allowed to be used to harass, abuse, and snitch. Not without consequences.

That will only stop if Netizens start to speak up and act against those who abuse doxing to further corrupt agendas.

And, frankly there's nothing wrong with snitching on cyberharassers, cyberbullies, cyberstalkers, real pedophiles, and the corrupt.

There is something wrong with allowing those who engage in unethical doxing to get away with it.

That is one of the purposes of my new blog, Cyberharassment and the Cyberbullies. To identify those who are engaging in these abusive activities, name and shame them, and where we can, snitch on them.

Cyberharassment, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking are criminal acts targeting innocent people. Those acts and those who engage in them should be exposed and held accountable. Especially those targeting our children who are too often committing suicide because they don't know how to deal with the abuse or adults whose lives could be put at risk.

Both the State and Law Enforcement should be acting to hold those criminals legally accountable for their crimes. Unfortunately at this time, they aren't, with the exception of some countries like the UK.

They will when enough pressure is placed on them to do so.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stop The TPP

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Internet Trolling, Doxing and CyberBullying. What’s the difference? A primer

Every so often I recycle blog posts I've written in the past if I think they're relevant to things that are occurring currently. Given my current anti-cyberbullying activity I thought it might be good to recycle this one I wrote in August 28, 2013.

I have started a new blog where I focus on the issue of CyberHarassment and the CyberBullies themselves. The idea is to illustrate actual, active CyberHarassment situations currently happening and to educate people on the things that are done. People don't always recognize real CyberHarassment and as a result it simply gets dismissed as nothing more than normal people getting into normal fights.

It isn't. It's far more than that and it needs to be understood and addressed.

I'm also letting the CyberBullies know that they aren't going to be able to engage in their activity without people knowing who they are and what they're doing. Their names, faces, and evidence of their cyberharassment activities are being published on the blog. The CyberBullies are being exposed as the criminals that they are.

One of the things that these CyberBullies like to do is claim that they're just 'trolling' and 'having some fun (lulz)'. This is simply a ruse to give themselves some Internet 'street cred' and present a 'cool' face to their abuse of innocent people. Many of whom are families, children and vulnerable adults making their behavior even more despicable.

In this blog post I'm explaining the Internet traditions of doxing, trolling, and the Hacker tradition of Social Engineering in order to demonstrate how CyberBullying is indeed different.

Internet Trolling is a tradition and art form that has existed on the Internet since discussion groups of various kinds started whether they were on bulletin boards, irc, usenet or the newer web.

The role of a Troll is to create chaos amongst those engaged in discussions, serious or not. There are numerous creative methods applied by Trolls to accomplish this goal. Subsets of Trolls are POEs and LOKIs which offer variations to the basic concept. The Trolls goal is to disrupt discussions and groups and in the process of that they might target some individuals and troll them based on their comments in the group. 

Internet Trolls may also single out particular social segments to target all over the Internet, like atheists, feminists, social activists, etc.

For example, the atheistic community has trolls who target atheistic blogs, groups, and sites. My favorite one is a person who calls him/herself TrueChristian, joins atheist groups and then starts making WestBoro Baptist Church type claims. This, of course, is guaranteed to cause outrage and lots of drama. No matter how many times you out him/her to atheists as a POE, there are always going to be a few who fall for the Trolling and get themselves all worked up. I have never and will never ban TrueChristian from any site I moderate because he/she’s just way too intelligent and entertaining.  And when he trolls me directly I troll him back.

Another rather well known Troll who targeted atheists was one that fell into the grey area between Internet Trolling and CyberBullying.

He crossed the line from one to the other when his campaigns started including death and other threats to the well-being of the individual authors of the sites he targeted. 

However, the reason his activity fit into this grey area was that his targeting objective wasn’t personal where those individuals were concerned. He was going after anyone who was an atheist.

In addition, the fact that he crossed the line into CyberBullying was actually an indication of his mental illness. His Trolling/CyberBullying stopped when he was eventually incarcerated in a Psychiatric Hospital and received the help he so obviously needed.

Generally speaking, Internet Trolls can be pretty mean, even vicious, in the process of accomplishing their goal and while they can get personal their trolling isn’t personal.

There was one debate on an atheist group that I’m a member of where two Trolls were engaged in quite a serious debate about whether I should have been categorized as a witch or a demon (biblically speaking). Things got quite heated and my only regret was that this debate did not occur in its’ own thread but was part of another discussion. It would have been easier to save. Yes I was the target and all of it was directed at me. Was the troll personal? Not really. That discussion could have been applied to any atheist on that site.

For those looking on, who understand what’s happening, it can be quite entertaining watching an intelligent Internet Troll or two in action.
CyberBullies, on the other hand, are malicious and the attacks are very personal. They target people with the intent to do maximum harm to that individual personally, professionally, and socially both online and in real life.

They accomplish this by doxing, stalking, defaming, libeling and harassing them all over the Internet. 

Does this mean that all Doxing constitutes CyberBullying? 

No, it doesn't. All Doxing isn’t CyberBullying. 

Doxing is also an Internet tradition, but it is a tradition with a very specific purpose in mind. Its’ purpose is and historically always was to identify cyberbullies, feds and other habitual troublemakers and disrupters of Internet groups and movements. That is, it was and should continue to be done for social reasons, not personal reasons. 

The doxes that are produced should only ever be published as Doxes on the Internet if the information in them has been verified to be true and the person has been given a chance to cease and desist.

Running around and abusing this process by calling people 'feds' or 'pedos' or any other 'evil' someone can fabricate when there's no actual evidence that they are, just discredits the entire process and means that no-one is going to take it seriously.

CyberBullies abuse doxes by using them as a vehicle to spread their malicious lies, misrepresentations and other forms of disinformation and misinformation.

The fact that Doxing is abused by CyberBullies to accomplish their goals of personal malicious persecution against individuals doesn’t change its’ original intent. It just means that there are those who abuse it.

In fact, it’s standard practice for CyberBullies to:
1. Use the techniques we’ve developed to deal with their bullying against us.
2. Play the victim to deflect attention back to those they targeted in the first place.
3. Accuse the victim of doing what they are doing to the victim when the victim stands up for themselves.
Amongst other things.

Their goal is personal and it is to maliciously persecute that individual, usually based on lies, half-truths, misrepresentations or exaggerations. They will also target the friends, family, and children who associate with that individual based on morally bankrupt ‘guilt by association’ claims. Friends, family and children will be used to collect ‘dirt’ on that individual so that it can be used against them during the CyberBullying campaign. They will also then be included in the CyberBullies hitlist once he/she’s done with their ‘dirt’ collection.

Every comment one makes will be taken out of context, twisted and used against the person targeted.

There is generally a ‘no holds barred’ approach by CyberBullies because these particular individuals are usually mentally ill and suffer from obsessive, narcissistic or other personality disorders, or they are psychopaths/sociopaths. All of these disorders include pathological lying and there is no line the CyberBully will not cross to destroy those individuals they’ve targeted.

They are also very likely to be stalkers and bullies in real life as well.

The deceptive strategies used by CyberBullies run from demagogic propaganda techniques like disinformation, misinformation, deleting their history of abuse, pretending to be social activists, hacktivists, teenagers, etc.  to strategies of inciting hatred and recruiting more bullies based on the lies as well as ensuring the lies are spread everywhere in order to isolate the target. The purpose of harassing associates of the target is to isolate the target from any support. Whatever they need to do to ensure that they can keep the heat off of themselves for their bullying behavior and on the person they are targeting. 

These strategies and propaganda techniques are right out of the German Stasi and KKK training manuals.

In order to give this process credibility, these CyberBullies will often claim they are 'social engineers' and are engaging in 'social engineering'. 

What is quite obvious is that they have no clue what social engineering is, what it entails, what it's used for, or how it works.

Social engineering is a hacker term which also has a tradition on the Internet. It is used specifically to obtain information like passwords, etc. which will help a hacker perform the technical task of hacking into a system. It can also be used to collect information from family and friends for a Dox, amongst other things.

CyberBullies abuse social engineering techniques and use them as vehicles to manipulate and harass people as well as incite hatred.

Identifying CyberBullies:

They make themselves obvious in various ways. Just to provide a couple:

Hypocritical statements are a good indicator that one is dealing with a CyberBully. For example, there is one active campaign currently going on where one of the members of the CyberBully group keeps pontificating self-righteously about the evils of doxing while actively participating in a CyberBullying campaign which includes unethical doxing for personal reasons and which includes defamatory libel. 

He is doing this on behalf of another person who calls himself a 'social engineer/IT expert'. This person appears to think defamatory libel and pathological lying has something to do with social engineering and his 'IT expertise' apparently doesn't include the ability to differentiate between a wordpress site and a flash site.

Patterns of behavior are another good indicator. For example, if a person has a history of CyberBullying which includes habitual unethical doxing, defamatory libel, and other forms of harassment on the Internet, it’s generally a good indicator that any altercations that they are currently engaged in have been instigated by themselves especially if the campaign follows a similar pattern to previous campaigns.

Almost all CyberBullies will claim to be Trolls and engaging in trolling. The reasons for this are quite obvious. It sounds ‘cooler’ to say you’re a troll than admit to being a cyberbully when you get caught and confronted with your abuse. There are also no laws against trolling. 

Trolling is an accepted part of Internet culture whereas CyberBullying is included in Criminal Harassment and other related laws and is a criminal offense in many countries.

This is why it’s very important for Netizens to have a solid understanding of the difference. 

Let’s not add to the confusion. 

Those who do are only helping the CyberBullies.