Doxing is one of the last examples of harassment adapted to recent times. This is an example of how the way we hurt others is changing as new technologies develop.
More precisely, it is a type of harassment based on the use of the Internet and the power that this virtual space has when it comes to harming us, to the point of scaring us. Unfortunately, in addition, doxing is more and more common, and is particularly fierce with women. In this article, we will see what it consists of.
What is doxing?
One of the characteristics by which the Internet is generally valued more positively is that it allows us to do almost anything while maintaining relative anonymity. However, this anonymity can become, in fact, a mirage. The network can be a common place to browse with a mask, but it is also true that it gives the possibility that thousands of people see private data about us or that even some manage to discover things about our lives that ‘They could hardly know if there was no Internet. With some computer or programming knowledge, a few clicks are enough to remove the preceding mask between a real person and a forum or a social network.
Doxing is, technically, a set of strategies aimed at gathering information about an objective, whether it is an individual or an organization. However, in practice, it is not enough to just store this data, and this type of private information is used as a form of harassment on the Internet, threaten and extort by making public what has been discovered about the victim.
Usually doxing take advantage of the fingerprint that we leave to surf the Internet, to leave comments and to register and interact with web pages to, from this little data, go pull the wire and find things like place of residence, names of friends loved ones, hobbies, political opinions … or even compromising confessions and videos.
A long-range form of Internet harassment
At a time when an unfortunate photo posted on Facebook can cost a dismissal from the workplace, doxing is a form of extortion that has virtually no limits. If a photo, video, or story posted on Twitter reaches a level of dissemination close to viral, a person can continue to receive dozens of teases and threats overnight, People he does not know and will not know but who, at the same time, have the power to abuse him psychologically.
Doxing is mainly used to eliminate the influence of competitors in the political or union sphere. Information about some people’s past may be posted for all to see from anonymous Twitter accounts, for example, and involve more and more people in its dissemination, by a kind of snowball effect.
Moreover, in these cases, the truth can be combined with the lie. Accompanying lies with data, videos or real images helps to give truth to a whole in which most things are made up, and all this to hurt someone from a distance. In any case, no matter how true what is going on, the imprint left by this type of information on the Internet is permanent, and can be reached years after it all has happened.
Minors are the most exposed
Doxing often goes hand in hand with cyberbullying, and its effects on young people are particularly damaging. On the one hand, the end of the stage of childhood and adolescence are moments in life in which belonging to the group is generally of paramount importance, and to be exposed in this way it may endanger the possibility of receiving social acceptance or even to allow bullying to emerge or escalate. Additionally, being a type of threat one is unprepared for, indecision on what to do and dependence on adults lead to the emergence of very high levels of stress and anxiety. .
However, adolescents and children are not the only demographic group particularly vulnerable to this type of practice. Doxing is a type of symbolic violence that also greatly affects women.
A problem that particularly affects women
According to a recent study, doxing as a form of threat through the disclosure of personal data mainly affects women. Specifically, one in four Spanish women who have been harassed on the internet have already suffered from its effects, through threats of data dissemination that could put them in a vulnerable position.
How is this explained? This is in part due to the ease with which women are stigmatized. The effect of disseminating certain private information does not have the same effect if the victim is a woman, because it remains relatively normal that people associated with this sex are judged. This disparity means that the effectiveness of this type of threat is greater when it comes to dominating the victims, who in the event of fulfillment of what is asked of them, can become more and more exposed, to generate more in addition to confidential information.