What is doxxing? What steps can be taken to prevent a doxx attack?
What is doxxing? What steps can be taken to prevent a doxx attack?(Photo: Altered by The Quint)
  • 1. What Exactly is Doxxing?
  • 2. Purpose of Doxxing
  • 3. Doxxing Origins: Diluting Privacy
  • 4. Some More Examples of Doxxing
  • 5. Swatting, a Dangerous Byproduct of Doxxing
  • 6. How Can You Protect Yourself?
What is Doxxing, Why is it Bad And How Do You Avoid It?

A woman in Gurugram, who allegedly told a bunch of young girls that they “deserve to get raped” because of the length of their dresses, has sparked a fierce online debate.

A video of the woman was widely shared on social media, where a group of girls can be seen seeking an apology from her for her comments. However, the woman – not identified by name in the video – had refused to apologise initially.

Soon after the incident surfaced online, two clear factions emerged – one that wanted to publicly vilify the woman for her actions and the other that thought it prudent to hide her identity to shift the focus on the issue at hand instead.

Some among the ‘vilify’ faction – including a national political party’s spokesperson – even went to the extent of digging through the trenches of the internet to reveal her name, occupation, husband’s name, his occupation and their Facebook profiles in a bid to publicly name-and-shame her.

A leading news portal even extracted photos of the woman wearing a dress herself – dubbing her a hypocrite.

This digging of the internet is called ‘doxxing’ – a process of collecting and publishing of someone’s private information online, usually with the intent of inciting harassment in real life.

Twitter was soon split on doxxing and its ethical implications (see here, here and here).

But what is doxxing and why is it so bad?

  • 1. What Exactly is Doxxing?

    Doxxing involves looking up the details of people’s lives, usually by digging through their social media profiles, publicly available data, government records and even comments across old and defunct message boards.

    While snippets of this information might be irrelevant individually, put together, they can cause real harm.

    For example, a deep Google search of a person can often yield social media profiles, email IDs, electoral roll listings (that holds address, phone number, father’s name etc), property listings, court case records, product and service reviews left by the user, mark-sheets, admit cards among countless other things.

    Too caught up to read? Listen to it instead:

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