RUIN LIFE TACTICS: On the Gendered Evolution of Doxing

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 By Aidan Grealish

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 2 Abstract: Doxing, once a method of preserving accountability in online communities, has recently emerged as a method of gendered punishment and dehumanization. For women and other marginalized people on the Internet, privacy and anonymity are often the only protection from abuse. Due to the enduring nature of the internet, doxing is especially dangerous and often the damage is irreversible for marginalized individuals, who must commonly maintain a certain degree of anonymity in order to preserve their safety online and continue their participation in digital spaces. Though it has roots as a simple prank, doxing has become an increasingly gendered act of violence used to destroy agency and violate women’s privacy both on- and offline; it is the culmination of toxic Internet culture, systems of power and privilege, and a history of misogyny including recent incidents like #GamerGate that specifically target women.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 2 Harassment and character assassination [are examples] of gendered violence, whereby my personal life becomes a means to punish my professional credentials and to try to shame me into giving up my work. – Zoe Quinn (2014)

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 THE ORIGINS OF DOXING

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 5 In the Internet age, privacy is as essential as ever. Novel technologies and methods of communication, however, have consequently created new threats to privacy. However, with the advent of new technologies and advancements comes novel ways to exploit them. As the Internet becomes omnipresent, it is important to acknowledge and analyze offline social norms as they evolve and adapt to new online and networked systems. Doxing, an act with its origins in Internet communication, is an example of a practice that has simultaneously shaped and been shaped by Internet-adapted social conventions.; Issues of privacy, anonymity, and digital ethics continue to emerge especially in relation to practices like doxing, which takes advantage of the depersonalized nature of online interaction to violate the privacy, agency, and safety of female-identified individuals.it will continue to do so as issues of privacy, anonymity, and ethics are explored in the near future.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 6 According to Know Your Meme, a community-based research website that cites itself as ‘the most authoritative source on news, history, and origins of viral phenomena and Internet memes,’ (About Know Your Meme n.d.) doxing, sometimes spelled doxxing, is the ‘practice of investigating and revealing a target subject’s personally identifiable information, such as home address, workplace information and credit card numbers, without consent.’ (Doxing 2014) However, doxing did not originally refer to the act of revealing private information.  Once a strategy used by hackers to one-up their peers on semi-private forums, doxing has become a terror tactic used to silence and threaten anyone who incurs the ire of the Internet.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 3 Know Your Meme attributes the beginnings of doxing to Usenet, a 1980s precursor to the Internet that consisted of a collection of networked bulletin board systems (BBS) hosted by decentralized servers across the world. It was created as a forum- or message board-style network where users could share posts and commentary quickly and with relative anonymity. It rapidly became a fast and efficient way to share files and was particularly suited to the uploading of  medial media files and ‘dox, a shortened form of “documents”’ (Herrman 2009)” (a shortened version of “documents”). It was also on Usenet that the act of doxing—leaking personal information to shame or silence—is said to have started in the late 90s and early 2000s when users, particularly hacker types, would reveal other users’ personal data in a show of technical prowess, aggression, or simply to end an ongoing argument. These communities often dabbled in highly illegal activities like software piracy and the infiltration of government servers and thus necessitated high levels of anonymity; consequently, doxing peers, rivals, and enemies became the ultimate show of force and power among pseudonymous Usenet users. In one example from 1999, a Russian hacker humiliated a cocky American hacker by doxing the American during a conference call with their peers, reciting his personal information, and having the American’s power shut off as he listened, terrified (Judge 2014).

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 2 In early 2000s mainstream culture, ‘dox’ still only referred to general ‘documents,’ and, outside of specific hacker communities, had not evolved into a common practice—retaliatory or otherwise. Though a thoroughly informal and often unmoderated reference source, Urban Dictionary is a useful metric for gauging common definitions of Internet slang. In an entry posted by UD user jan banan, dated October 6, 2003, ‘dox’ is defined as ‘short for documents… common in the warez-scene, meaning patches, updates, cracks, etc.’ (Dox 2003). This definition acknowledges the history of Usenet BBS communities, where hackers would upload pirated software and media, otherwise known as ‘warez.’

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 3 As of 2008, the Urban Dictionary definition had been updated to one more consistent with the current usage, though it still referred to the personal information itself specifically and not the act of revealing it: ‘dox: personal information about people on the Internet, often including real name, known aliases, address, phone number, SSN, credit card number, etc.’ (Dox 2008). Soon, however, the mainstream Internet caught up to hacker communities once again, and the noun became a verb. However, the practice remained a common tactic used to end forum arguments and make power plays in small communities. Only in the last few years has online and offline culture collided in such a way as to transform doxing from a small-scale show of superiority among peers to a violent use of anonymity to ruin strangers’ lives.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 3 [Some] instances of doxing are about exposing the people behind hateful behavior for who they really are. If such exposés created legitimate physical risks for the individuals involved, supporting their doxing would be unconscionable, but that seems highly unlikely.

To be racist in the United States is, on many levels, still a perfectly safe thing to be. To be a woman criticizing the misogynist content of games, however, isn’t…there are times when doxing is in fact justified for the greater social good. -S.E. Smith (2014)

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 1 TWO MOTIVATIONS FOR DOXING

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 6 Functionally, doxing is not an inherently gendered terror tactic.  Given the right circumstances, resources and a little bit of Internet savvy, potentially any web user can compile another individual’s personal data (such as email address, phone number, physical address, employer, and social media accounts) and release it with malicious intent, regardless of gender. However, recent trends have made it clear that online harassment in general is disproportionately aggressive towards female-identified Internet users. According to survey data collected from 2000-20113 by the organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, an average of 70 percent of online harassment victims identify as female (n.d.). Doxing in particular has grown to punish female-identified individuals in specifically gendered ways.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 4 Doxing is particularly dangerous for female victims because of the bifurcated way doxing has evolved in recent years. Doxing cases can often be divided into two categories by the intent behind them: justice/accountability and punishment/violation. The former evolved first; it is a direct descendent of the style of doxing employed on Usenet forums. It is also often the motivation behind doxes that occur when journalists or other media professionals reveal an anonymous or pseudonymous individual. Conversely, it is the latter that is both the most dangerous and the variety that disproportionately affects women. Several factors have coalesced to transform doxing from an intercommunity prank to an accountability strategy and then into an increasingly gendered terror tactic employed to punish and dehumanize women on the Internet.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 2 Doxing in the name of accountability recently entered the public consciousness to a higher degree due to several instances of high-profile doxes of varying severity. In 2014, Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman doxed the formerly pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin in an exposé she wrote for the publication, including pictures of his house and other personal details in her piece (McGrath Goodman 2014). Adrian Chen of Gawker publicly identified and profiled famous Reddit troll violentacrez in 2012, revealing his real-life identity and permanently connecting violentacrez’s Internet presence with his offline life (Chen 2012b).  Violentacrez was later fired from his ‘real-world’ job when his Reddit activities (including posting pictures of underage girls and other offensive content) were revealed (Chen 2012a). ‘Hacktivist’ vigilante groups such as Anonymous (an ‘amorphous, decentralized’ group appropriately named for their primary source of power) and LulzSec also began using the power of Internet mobs and crowdsourcing techniques to dox alleged criminals in the name of justice and accountability (Price 2014). Even when used for alleged ‘good,’ as when Anonymous released phone numbers and addresses of ‘prominent members’ of the Klu Klux Klan, doxing as a weapon is still highly controversial because of the delicate nature of privacy and the irreversible effects of violating that privacy on such a large scale (Smith 2014). The power of a high-profile dox is none more evident than when Anonymous occasionally gets it horrifyingly incorrect, and doxes the wrong person with ‘devastating consequences’ (Price 2014).

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 6 After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Internet vigilantes took to Reddit to identify the bomber. Using common doxing strategies, they combed the Internet to finger not one, but two individuals who turned out to have nothing to do with the bombing. The second suspect was later found dead in a river (Buncombe 2013), likely due in part to the ‘online witch-hunts and dangerous speculation, ‘ as described by Reddit General Manager Erik Martin (2013). Unfortunately, this is just one of many instances of Anonymous doxing the wrong person. When these individuals are ‘accused of horrendous crimes, their names become permanently linked to terrible events,’ (Martin 2013), and they are immortalized forever on the Internet (Price 2014). The commonality among this type of dox is that previously the victim was an unknown; the intent of the dox is to put a name and a face to a pseudonym, or to attach an identity to an action in order to hold the perpetrator accountable. Many of these doxing cases are contentious because they are instances where journalists revealed individuals’ private information for the sake of journalism. Both the Bitcoin and violentacrez cases were not necessarily carried out with malicious intent; rather, they realistically could be called exposés and meant to educate or increase transparency. When called by another name, doxing arguably becomes a journalistic endeavor instead of vigilante justice. However, regardless of intent, doxing victims are publicly shamed, and often receive casual threats or insults from the mob as a result of being identified. These effects, though accidental and not officially encouraged by Anonymous, other vigilante groups, or journalists, have now become standard fare for doxing victims.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 1 After Gawker published Chen’s piece, RedditorsReddit users debated the violentacrez dox, claiming that Chen was ‘not [his] judge, and not [his] jury’ and should have exercised discretion by choosing not to release violentacrez’s private information (Smith 2014). When the KKK was doxed, conversations emerged about the right to privacy and the ethics of releasing anyone’s personal data, even that of openly hateful and often violent racists. Conversely, S.E. Smith of The Daily Dot argues, ‘like other people in positions of privilege, violentacrez [and the] KKK members are unlikely to face abusive fallout from their public exposure, though the Internet may criticize them..’ Smith claims that these types of doxes are examples of ‘punching up, not down, or across,’ and thus the dox is ‘justified for the greater social good.’ (2014).

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 2 Unfortunately, not all doxes have such noble intentions. A second variety of dox has gained traction recently, dividing the practice into two categories. Technologist and writer Anil Dash describes the emergence of a doxing binary:

We’ve seen great social good come from people revealing the identity of bad actors in society, and had the ability to hold accountable those who otherwise wouldn’t have to answer for antisocial actions. But for the most part … doxing is typically used to help bullies keep bullying. One of the hardest parts of this issue is that the same mechanism is responsible both for holding people in power accountable and for keeping marginalized people from asserting themselves. (Dewey 2014)

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 4 When ‘bullies keep bullying,’ as Dash puts it, the second type of doxing emerges. This variety embraces the (often unintentional or unsolicited) effects of accountability doxing, and seeks to actively cause discomfort and harm to its targets.

I am terrified to be doxed for even typing the words ‘Gamer Gate.’ To have my location revealed to the world would give an entry point for a few…people to show up and make good on the kind of threats I’ve received that make me paranoid to walk around alone. -Felicia Day (2014), on her blog

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 THE EFFECTS OF #GAMERGATE

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 2 In mid-August 2014, indie game developer Zoe Quinn was accused of cheating on her now-ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni on multiple occasions and sleeping with Kotaku games journalist Nathan Grayson in exchange for positive reviews of her games. Gjoni posted a pages-long rant called ‘The Zoe Post’ on a personal WordPress blog devoted to shaming Quinn; it is rife with extremely personal details about their relationship and sexual history. On August 20, the editor-in-chief of Kotaku reported that Quinn and Grayson had been accused of ‘trading positive coverage of [Quinn] for the opportunity to sleep with her, of failing to disclose that [Grayson] was in a romantic relationship with [Quinn]…and that [Grayson] had given [Quinn’s] game a favorable review.’ (2014b).

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 2 Though these accusations were investigated by Kotaku and ‘swiftly debunked’ as entirely factually inaccurate (Totilo 2014a), they nevertheless led to the growth of a movement organized under the hashtag #GamerGate, originally coined in a tweet by actor Adam Baldwin on August 27, 2014. Self-proclaimed gamers rallied around the hashtag, claiming to be fighting for ‘accountability and transparency in the games press;’ however, the so-called ‘movement’ had been born out of a hate campaign against Quinn that had already been simmering for days since the release of the blog post (Totilo 2014b). In the wake of GamerGate, entire websites devoted to harassing, doxing, and harming even mildly vocal anti-GamerGate women emerged. 4chan, a totally anonymous site ‘notorious for playing host to awfulness’ and being ‘a haven for hackers, vigilantes, and misogynists,’ took up the GamerGate mantle (Todd 2015). However, 4chan eventually deemed GamerGate too controversial and banned it site-wide; supporters quickly migrated to 8chan, a more offensive spinoff site that is home to ‘all the bad things about the Internet,’ including but not limited to ‘online harassment, child pornography, racism, sexism, homophobia, hackers, and spammers.’ (Todd 2015).

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 1 A specific board on 8chan known only as /baphomet/ is dedicated solely to doxing and terror tactics, and became the central hub for anti-anti-GamerGate terrorism. It features ‘guides on who should be targeted, targets’ personal information, hitmen, bombmaking, how to find people’s personal information, how to call in police raids, and how to bomb targets with high volumes of junk mail or fraudulently sign them up for memberships in dubious organizations.’ (Todd 2015). These methods range from the annoying (‘spam bombing, or having loads of useless shit sent to targets’ houses’), to downright dangerous (‘swatting, or calling armed police raids on unsuspecting targets’) (Todd 2015). Quinn became a target for GamerGate ire and subsequently fell victim to a cycle of violent abuse and harassment that drove her out of her home for months (Quinn 2014). Her personal details were leaked on multiple websites, and after receiving countless rape threats, death threats, and other attacks both online and sent to her home address, Quinn was forced to ‘crash in an old elevator shaft, converted with makeshift floors and a bunk bed’ to avoid credible threats to her life (Quinn 2015). In a blog post from January 11, 2015, she writes:

It’s been 5 months and the nightmares haven’t gone away, the accusations keep flying, the threats continue and my family continues to be targeted. The same wheels of abuse are still turning, 5 months later. I’ve been coming to terms that this is a part of my life now, trying to figure out what to do about it, and how to move forward with so many people trying to wrap themselves around my ankles. It’s been hard to accept that my old life is gone and that I can never get back to it. (2015)

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 1 Other prominent feminist and anti-GamerGate women have been subjected to the same treatment as Quinn just for speaking out against the movement, expressing feminist or anti-harassment sentiments, or criticizing the lack of diversity in the game industry. Anita Sarkeesian, creator of the feminist video game criticism YouTube series ‘Tropes Vs. Women,’ was doxed on Twitter after receiving page after page of vulgar and violent rape and murder threats. She was forced out of her home and prevented from attending speaking engagements when a GamerGate supporter threatened a school shooting at the university where she was booked to speak. Similarly, Brianna Wu, a video game developer and self-described ‘tech feminist,’ was also driven out of her home after she was doxed on Twitter. In a piece for feminist website XOJane, Wu describes some of the graphic messages GamerGate supporters have sent her:

The misogynists and the bullies and the sadist trolls of patriarchal gaming culture threatened to murder me and rape my corpse… They tried to target my company’s financial assets … They tried to impersonate me on Twitter in an attempt to professionally discredit me… they [threatened to] castrate [my] husband, make [me] choke on the parts, murder any children [I] might have, and then rape [my] ass until it bleeds. (Wu 2014)

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 2 GamerGate supporters did not limit their doxes and threats to vocally feminist women, but rather to anyone who dared express any vague or off-hand opposition to the cause. Such was the case with actress, comedian, and geek icon Felicia Day, who wrote a post on her blog describing her relationship with video games and briefly mentioning GamerGate only to say that she was afraid of speaking out about better female representation in media lest she be doxed (2014). Naturally, she wasShe was subsequently doxed in the comment section within an hour of posting the piece. Day’s doxing provides significant evidence that she was targeted by an Internet hate mob solely because of misogyny and not journalistic ethics; she was doxed and harassed simply because she expressed fear that she, as a woman, felt unsafe in gamer communities after her friends were doxed.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 2 Contrast this with GamerGate’s reaction to former NFL player Chris Kluwe, who wrote an inflammatory anti-GamerGate essay for Medium. In the piece, titled “Why Gamergaters Piss Me the F*** Off,” he levels personal, direct insults at GamerGate supporters, calling them (among other creative things) ‘misogynistic mouthbreathers,’ ‘creeps,’ ‘cretins,’ and ‘angry neckbeards.’ (2014a). Kluwe was not doxed after posting, despite directly claiming that he hates GamerGate and everything it stands for. In tweets posted after Day was doxed for expressing her own fear, Kluwe himself noted the double standard: ‘for the record, none of you fucking #Gamergate tools tried to dox me, even after I tore you a new one. I’m not even a tough target…Instead you go after a woman who wrote why your movement concerns her. Fuck #Gamergate and anyone aligned with it.’ (2014b, 2014c). Actor Wil Wheaton also expressed his dislike of GamerGate in a column for The Washington Post, and like Kluwe, Wheaton was not doxed and was instead able to begin somewhat of a civil discussion of doxing and privacy on Twitter and his blog.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 1 While anecdotal, these incidents are consistent with the double standard inherent in privacy-related attacks. Just like disparity between doxing methods, other privacy violations have different intents that correlate to the gender of the victims. Male YouTube stars and celebrity gamers are often victims of ‘swatting,’ but most swatters describe the crime as a prank, hoping to get YouTube personalities dragged off live broadcasts by the police. When women are targeted, however, swatting is done not for the sake of a funny video, but in hopes of causing deliberate harm to the victim (Parks 2015). Since GamerGate began, doxing incidents were disproportionately directed at women; these incidents also tended to have more violent and serious threats involved after the victim was doxed. 

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 5 A number of factors have combined to create a perfect environment for this type of cyber harassment, especially for women active in video game communities during and since the events of GamerGate. Many of these factors were not born on the Internet, however; most are based in real-world heteropatriarchal bias and merely amplified by the anonymous and depersonalized nature of online interaction. Women are still vastly underrepresented in the game development industry, despite more than half of all gamers identifying as female, and the industry overall lacks a strong female presence (Jayanth 2014). Female gamers and game developers are marginalized and silenced due to being perceived as a threat to free speech or artistic integrity in video games. The revelation of private information to shame and harass is scarily similar to other forms of gendered violence, like revenge porn. In addition to being more commonly targeted, female victims of doxing, revenge porn, or other such practices are ‘overwhelmingly dismissed as overly sensitive “drama queens…and blamed for their predicaments”,’ a usual response to victims of abuse and harassment both on- and offline (Citron 2014, 29).  After being doxed or abused, women are also told that they ‘should not have exposed their views’ and invited harassment upon themselves, a victim-blaming strategy quite similar to that used when women are sexually harassed or abused offline (Citron 2014, 29). Women on the Internet are often unable to escape gendered stereotypes even when online.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 3 In light of GamerGate, Crash Override Network, an ‘online anti-harassment task force’ founded by Zoe Quinn (Get Started n.d.), provides an updated definition of doxing that reflects the evolution of the practice and outlines the second, more malicious category of dox to which Quinn, Sarkeesian, Wu, and Day, among many others, have been subjected: ‘Doxing is the act of publishing someone’s personal information, of which there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy and dubious value to the conversation, in an environment that implies or encourages intimidation or threat. (So You’ve Been Doxed 2015). This category is distinct from accountability-based doxing because it deliberately places victims in the crosshairs of abusive, often anonymous strangers. Instead of seeking to out criminals and bad individuals for their actions and, vengeance-based doxing aims to ‘keep marginalized people from asserting themselves’ by actively ruining the lives of its victims (Dewey 2014). This type of doxing is made even more dangerous by the nature and longevity of the Internet. Online privacy scholar and cyber law professor Danielle Keats Citron distinguishes the dangers of cyber harassment as distinct and different from regular offline harassment or stalking. ‘The Internet extends the life of destructive posts,’ she writes. ‘The web can make it impossible to forget…posts have no expiration date; neither does the suffering they cause.’ (Citron 2014, 4).

Anonymity, in some cases a key civil liberty, also enables society’s worst actors. The loudest, most obnoxious, most toxic voices are able to drown out the rest of us… No wonder [they feel] enabled by digital anonymity. It means [they] never [have] to face the consequences of [their] actions, or acknowledge that there is a human being on the other side of the screen. -Wil Wheaton (2014)

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 GENDERED ANONYMITY, GENDERED VIOLENCE

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 2 Recent instances of doxing in the wake of GamerGate are intimately entwined with issues of feminism, free speech, and anonymity, all fueling gendered violence. Anonymity is a uniquely Internet-era source of power, and can be used either for good or ill. Much like the public perception that TOR and the dark web are ‘entirely composed of illegal or taboo activities and in need of policing,’ general anonymity is perceived as a way to mask illegal activities (Gehl 2014, 4). However, like the dark web, a majority of usage comes from users with no ill intent. Women and other minorities often embrace anonymity in order to speak and participate in online communities without being harassed for their identities or identified in real life. Anonymity allows for a ‘dissociation of speech from identity,’ where in the best-case scenario, Internet users can discuss ideas and communicate without risking judgment for gender, race, class, or sexual orientation, among other factors (Gehl 2014, 5). Generally, women and other marginalized groups use anonymity to protect themselves against discrimination. They remain anonymous to disseminate their ideas without the risk of their speech being judged not on its merits, but on ingrained biases toward the author; many openly female/minority Internet users also maintain their privacy in order to prevent any online harassment they already receive from spilling into offline life.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 1 Conversely, others flock to anonymous communities in order to engage in speech considered taboo by public society, which often includes racist, sexist, homophobic, or sexually invasive content. Both parties embrace anonymity to avoid social norms—marginalized groups in order to communicate without bias directed at them, and groups in power in order to express those biases without retribution.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 1 Free speech proponents tend to also be heavily pro-anonymity, often to the point of using it to excuse hate speech. They want to be able to say whatever they please, but support anonymity in order to not be held responsible for that speech. Citron writes that some free speech advocates believe that ‘society ought to tolerate speech online that would not be tolerated offline because the web is viewed as the ‘new frontier changing the nature of public and personal discourse.’ (2014, 26). However, she argues that ‘the Internet serves as people’s workspaces, professional networks, resumes, social clubs, and zones of public conversation, [and] it deserves the same protection as offline speech. No more, no less.’ (2014, 26).

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 3 Unfortunately, some websites like Reddit are predicated on the ability of users to post content, offensive or otherwise, freely and anonymously. In communities like Reddit, ‘users are free to say and do anything they want [and] doxing is a severe crime, both to users and the site’s staff. It’s far worse than offensive speech like racism and homophobia or [photos of underage girls].’ (Morris 2012). Doxing is often thought of as the worst breach of Internet etiquette imaginable, even more so than things like underage porn or neo-Nazism, because ‘doxing undermines the community’s structural integrity: Reddit simply would not exist as we know it if users weren’t operating under the freedom of a flexible identity.’ (Morris 2012). For these Reddit users and other socially privileged groups, free speech is celebrated and doxing is condemned because on the anonymous Internet, they are allowed to express ideas that are taboo offline. Often, these privileged users have little risk of offline harassment in their everyday lives, and thus their primary fears are related to accountability and the subsequent loss of social privilege.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 3 These fears also contributed to the rise of the GamerGate ideology, as many free speech advocates and male gamers began to believe that female gamers and game developers wanted to stifle their artistic expression in the form of misogynist tropes and content. This, in addition to the feeling among gamers that they themselves are a marginalized and oppressed population and the tendency of online forums to act as echo chambers, led to GamerGate’s astounding ability to justify its actions as fighting against unethical journalism and motivated supporters to punish dissidents even more. An added consequence of the anonymous or pseudonymous nature of many GamerGate supporters is that it is impossible to accurately judge the number of like-minded individuals; the GamerGate movement is thought of by supporters as larger than it really is (So just how popular is #GamerGate? 2014). The self-righteous excuses for harassment are also made more justifiable by news coverage in the mainstream, non-industry-related media; the tendency of non-specialist publications to claim that there’s a middle ground legitimizes the excuses made by harassers and abusers that they’re doxing women to promote ethics. Even if they condemn doxing, mainstream writers often try to balance two viewpoints and claim ‘the answer is somewhere in the middle [and] there’s good points to be made on both sides,’ (Hern 2014), giving GamerGate supporters all the more reason to claim that there are ‘interesting concerns [about] changing video game culture, but those concerns have been warped and drowned out by an army of trolls spewing bile, often at women.’ (Marcotte 2014).

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 2 For privileged Internet users, privacy and anonymity protects their ability to say what they want without fear of being forced to acknowledge or lose their privilege. For marginalized populations, however, anonymity protects their emotional, physical, and mental safety. For women, anonymity and privacy are oftentimes the only barrier protecting them from abuse, and as such they are crucial to a safe online experience. As the Internet becomes more integrated into everyday  life, it becomes significantly harder and hardermore difficult for women and other unprivileged groups to maintain the essential separation between online and offline life and protect themselves in both spaces from offline bias.. 

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 5 Therein lies another significant difference between two types of privacy, and underlines the difference between the two categories of doxingThe two types of privacy, two categories of doxing, and the degree of severity for each are evident when compared. In early Usenet cases and accountability doxing incidents, simply reassociating identities with speech breaches anonymity, and often this is punishment enough for victims. Users are henceforth connected to their actions, and can then be held accountable by the community or the public for their crimes or hate speechtransgressions. For women, particularly those involved in the video game community, their identities are generally already public, and the next degree of privacy violation is to release their private information. Misogyny takes over, and women are subjected to the kind of rape and death threats that are rarely directed toward men.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 3 Doxing as an act of punishment combines the dissociated nature of the Internet, the tendency for anonymous individuals to act ‘more destructively when they do not perceive the threat of external sanction,’ ingrained and violent misogyny, and the power of an Internet mob; these factors evolve doxing from a technique to end forum arguments to an act that is incredibly skewed toward punishing women in reprehensible ways (Citron 2014, 58). Not only are misogynists and Internet trolls able to ruin women’s lives with a few keystrokes, they are also able to do so under the guise of self-righteousness. Doxing is not gendered by definition; the methods are not better suited to harass any gender over any other. However, when women are doxed, the amalgamation of Internet culture, systems of privilege and power, and highly publicized, misogynist movements like GamerGate, and an entire historical and societal foundation of sexism cultivates a particularly abusive and dangerous version of the practice; doxing has have transformed the perception of doxing  from a simple but embarrassing prank to a gendered act of violence and violation—one with implications that grow more serious as personal privacy in the Internet age becomes more and more imperative.

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80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 Wu, Brianna. 2014. “It Happened To Me: I’ve Been Forced Out of My Home and Am Living In Constant Fear Because of Relentless Death Threats From Gamergate.” XOJane, October 16. http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/brianna-wu-gamergate.

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Source: http://adareview.fembotcollective.org/ada-issue-11/ruin-life-tactics-on-the-gendered-evolution-of-doxing/