Jasmine McNealy Authors Article on the Perils of Internet Doxxing
Jasmine McNealy, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) Telecommunication assistant professor, is the author of “What is Doxxing, and Why is it So Scary?” published in The Conversation on May 16.
In the article, McNealy focuses on the amount of personal information that is easy to find online. Much of the data is benign until someone figures out how to put the pieces together and then publishes it all online.
According to McNealy, this kind of revelation is called “doxxing,” an old internet term that comes from the idea of collecting the documents, or “docs,” on a person.
“And it is not only hackers who doxx,” McNealy writes. “In a recent research study, I found that news organizations have doxxed commenters who posted on articles. In online communities, where people are often anonymous, violating someone’s privacy like that is considered aggressive – and for some people, what’s come after being doxxed has been downright dangerous.”
She explains that when someone connects these digital traces, and shares them with others, they take away their target’s control over private data. Those people often seek to hold the person who is doxxed accountable for their actions.
“More severe cases have resulted in online and real-world harassment of women in the gaming industry, prank calls to summon police to a politician’s home, and even death threats against a person and her family. Doxxing, ultimately, makes data into a weapon” said McNealy.