Doxing (spelling variant Doxxing) is an abbreviation of document tracing, the Internet-based practice of researching and publishing personally identifiable information about an individual. The methods employed in pursuit of this information range from searching publicly available databases and social media websites like Facebook, to hacking, and social engineering. It is closely related to cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism, and cyber-bullying.
The term "dox" entered mainstream public awareness through media attention attracted by Anonymous, the Internet-based group of hacktivists and pranksters who make frequent use of doxing, as well as related groups like AntiSec and LulzSec.
In December 2011 Anonymous exposed detailed information of 7,000 members of law enforcement in response to investigations into hacking activities.
Human flesh search engine
The Chinese Internet phenomenon of the "Human flesh search engine" shares much in common with doxing. Specifically, it refers to distributed, sometimes deliberately crowdsourced searches for similar kinds of information through use of digital media.
Reddit has a site policy of not allowing its users to post any kind of personal information, except for those of professional people such as a senator or a CEO of a company. Some users have been completely banned ("shadowbanned") from the website for doxing. One of the most notable doxing incidents occurred in October 2012, when Adrian Chen, a journalist for Gawker, revealed the personal identity of "violentacrez", a user who moderated several subreddits (communities) of perverse nature.
Journalists with the Westchester County newspaper The Journal News were accused of doxing gun owners in the region in a story the paper published in December 2012. Strictly speaking, it was only the addresses of gun license holders, who may or may not own guns, and it was publicly available information. The data did not include owners of long guns, rifles or shotguns, and aside from the NRA, there are no known comprehensive lists of gun owners. It is debatable that researching such publicly available information constitutes "doxing."
- Ryan Goodrich (2 April 2013). "What is Doxing?". TechNewsDaily.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- James Wray and Ulf Stabe (2011-12-19). "The FBI’s warning about doxing was too little too late". Thetechherald.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Zurcher, Anthony. "Duke freshman reveals porn identity". BBC, United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- S-W, C. "What doxxing is, and why it matters". The Economist, UK.
- Bright, Peter (2012-03-07). "Doxed: how Sabu was outed by former Anons long before his arrest". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Clark Estes, Adam (2011-07-28). "Did LulzSec Trick Police Into Arresting the Wrong Guy? - Technology". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- "Anonymous's Operation Hiroshima: Inside the Doxing Coup the Media Ignored (VIDEO)". Ibtimes.com. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Fletcher, Hannah (June 25, 2008). "Human flesh search engines: Chinese vigilantes that hunt victims on the web". The Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009.
- Branigan, Tania (March 24, 2010). "How China's internet generation broke the silence". The Guardian.
- The Daily Dot - Lawyer doxes 50 journalists who doxed gun owners
- Danger: Media Adopting Anonymous's 'Doxing' Tactic
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