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.

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