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Doxing

Definition of Doxing

Doxing, also spelled as “doxxing,” is the act of publicly revealing someone’s private or personal information without their consent, often with malicious intent. It typically involves gathering sensitive details such as addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or even financial data. The purpose of doxing is usually to harass, intimidate, or harm the targeted individual.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Doxing” is: /ˈdɒksɪŋ/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Doxing is the act of publicly revealing personal information about an individual, such as their real name, address, or phone number, without their consent.
  2. Doxing can lead to serious consequences, such as harassment, identity theft, and even physical harm to the targeted individual or their family.
  3. Preventing doxing involves being cautious with the personal information shared online, utilizing privacy settings on social media, and regularly monitoring one’s digital footprint.

Importance of Doxing

Doxing, derived from “documents” or “docx,” is an important term in the technology world because it refers to the act of collecting, publishing, or leaking an individual’s personal and sensitive information, such as their address, phone number, email, or workplace, without consent.

Doxing poses a significant threat to an individual’s privacy, safety, and cybersecurity, as it often leads to online harassment, identity theft, and other malicious activities.

It is crucial for both technology experts and general users to be aware of doxing, the potential risks it carries, and the steps necessary to protect themselves from experiencing this invasive and potentially harmful practice.

Explanation

Doxing, a term derived from the word “documents,” is an online activity primarily intended to publicize and reveal an individual’s personal, private, or sensitive information. This can include full names, phone numbers, addresses, social media profiles, and other identifying data. While doxing itself is not a new concept, the vast reach of the internet, the anonymity it provides, and the numerous platforms available for information sharing have made it an increasingly concerning practice.

The purpose of doxing varies from personal grudges to political stances or simply for entertainment purposes. However, regardless of the reason, this intrusive action exposes an individual’s sensitive information, often leading to an invasion of privacy and potential harm. Doxing is commonly used to harass or intimidate its targets, with repercussions ranging from social ostracization to life-threatening incidents.

For instance, when an individual’s address is made public, they may receive unwanted visitors at their doorstep or unsolicited packages, causing distress and insecurities in their daily lives. Furthermore, the exposed information could lead to identity theft and other types of cybercrime, putting the person at risk for long-term consequences. Doxing can also be used as a means to suppress or limit free speech, where those who express controversial views may face harassment to discourage them from sharing their thoughts and views.

Overall, doxing poses a significant threat to individual privacy and safety in an increasingly interconnected digital age.

Examples of Doxing

Doxing, also spelled doxxing, is the act of publicly revealing private or personal information about someone without their consent. Here are three real-world examples of doxing:

Gamergate (2014): In this controversial event, multiple female game developers and critics received threats and harassment after their personal information was doxed and exposed online. Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian were among the main targets, and their doxing led to death threats, forced evacuations from their homes, and various forms of physical and psychological distress.

Celebgate (2014): Also known as “The Fappening,” this high-profile incident involved hackers leaking nude photos and personal information from the iCloud accounts of numerous female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and others. The hackers were able to obtain these photos and distribute them online, largely due to doxing. This event led to extensive discussions on privacy, online security, and the role of the internet in propagating toxic behavior.

CNN’s Reddit user controversy (2017): CNN faced backlash after tracking down and revealing the identity of a Reddit user who created a controversial meme targeting the news organization, featuring President Donald Trump. Some critics argued that CNN’s actions in this case constituted doxing because they threatened to expose the individual’s identity if they continued to create offensive content. This raised questions about the ethical boundaries and responsibilities of news organizations when dealing with individuals engaging in offensive or troubling behavior online.

FAQ: Doxing

What is doxing?

Doxing (or doxxing) is the act of publicly revealing someone’s personal information without their consent, such as their real name, home address, phone number, or other identifying details. This practice is often done with malicious intent, such as to harass, threaten, or intimidate the target.

What are the consequences of doxing?

Doxing can lead to various negative consequences for the targeted individual. These may include online harassment, real-life threats, identity theft, and damage to personal or professional reputation. In some cases, doxing can also be illegal, resulting in criminal charges for the person responsible.

Why do people engage in doxing?

There are various reasons why someone might engage in doxing. Some individuals may dox out of revenge or to settle personal disputes, while others may participate in doxing as a form of cyberbullying or group harassment. Additionally, some people may dox others for political or ideological reasons, or as an act of protest against an individual or organization.

How can I protect myself from doxing?

To protect yourself from doxing, you should practice good online privacy management. This includes using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and controlling the personal information visible on your social media profiles. Additionally, minimize sharing private information, such as your home address or phone number, and be cautious about who you interact with online.

What should I do if I become a victim of doxing?

If you become a victim of doxing, you should first attempt to remove or secure any exposed personal information, if possible. Then, report the incident to the relevant platform’s support team or any legal authorities if necessary. Change your passwords, enable additional security measures, and consider seeking legal advice. Reach out to friends or family for support and stay vigilant about your online safety.

Related Technology Terms

  • Personal Information
  • Online Privacy
  • Cyberstalking
  • Identity Theft
  • Data Breach

Sources for More Information

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