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  • What is doxing?

  • Doxing is the practice of posting someone's  personal information online without their consent.

  • The word first emerged in the world of online  hackers in the 1990s, where anonymity was deemed  

  • sacred. A feud between hackers might  escalate when someone decided to "drop  

  • docs" on somebody elsethat ispost documents revealing the legal  

  • name of a person who had only been  known by an alias up to that point.

  • "Docs" became "dox," which in turn lost  the "drop" and became a verb by itself.

  • Modern-day doxers aim to reveal information that  can move their conflict with their targets from  

  • the internet to the real world, including home  addresses, employers, social security numbers,  

  • private correspondence, and criminal history  or otherwise embarrassing personal details.

  • The goals range from intimidating or humiliating  victims, causing a loss of employment or breaking  

  • off of relationships, or making the target  a victim of in-person harassment or assault.

  • Is doxing illegal?

  • The prospect of someone posting your home  address for anyone on the internet to see  

  • is pretty scary to most people, and you  may assume that it can't possibly be legal.

  • Indeed, Federal law restricts the  publication of personal information about  

  • certain categories of people, including state or  federal employees or officers as well as jurors,  

  • witnesses, or informants in trials or criminal  investigations. If the doxing is part of a larger  

  • campaign of harassment, victims who don't  fall into those categories may be able to  

  • press charges based on state or federal stalking  legislation or file a civil suit for damages.

  • In many cases, doxers can piece together  bits of information that their targets  

  • have posted in public view or hinted at on  social media. Collating that information or  

  • drawing people's attention to it isn't  illegal, as intrusive as it might feel.

  • And, if the doxer knows your legal name, a  surprising amount of information about you is a  

  • matter of public record: your voter registrationproperty records, marriage and divorce records,  

  • mug shots, and more. These details aren't  necessarily just a Google search away,  

  • but they can be obtained from government  agencies readily enough, often at low to no cost.

  • The quickest route to finding and weaponizing  personal information about a target may be to  

  • simply buy it, whether from legal data brokers  or from databases passed around on the dark web  

  • derived from the innumerable data breaches  that afflict companies large and small. If  

  • a doxer can connect their target's name, email  address, or social media handle with a record  

  • in one of those databases, they can get a wealth  of information that can then be posted publicly.

  • There are even paid doxing as  a service outfits out there.

  • Getting legal relief against doxers can be  difficult: it's often not clear what laws they're  

  • breaking, and they usually take steps to obscure  their own identity even as they expose yours.

  • The bright spot: Doxing violates the terms  of service of most social media platforms

  • Reporting tweets or Facebook posts  that include your personal information  

  • will generally get them swiftly taken  down and the offending user suspended.

What is doxing?

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What is doxing?

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    Lynn Chou posted on 2021/07/20
Video vocabulary