Author Topic: WHAT IS DOX? Baby Don't Dox Me. Don't Dox Me. No, No.  (Read 4448 times)

dsmart

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WHAT IS DOX? Baby Don't Dox Me. Don't Dox Me. No, No.
« on: April 12, 2017, 10:39:37 AM »
BACKGROUND

First things first. Read this CBS News article. All of it.

Back in 2013, I wrote a blog that was a basic primer about doxing. It was really just due to the fact that, at the time, a lot of people were trying to redefine the meaning - and legality - of the term, doxing.

As with most everything controversial, a group of clowns tend to hijack social constructs for their own gain - when it suits their narrative. Since that time, a lot about doxing has emerged, and in our corner of the web, outside of politics and religion, GamerGate (which I wrote about in this 2015 blog) cast a spotlight on this phenomenon because some people from both sides of that debate, under the protection of anonymity, were basically doxing their opponents. It basically became a weapon for harassment, slut shaming, speech suppressing etc; though some of those people were actively trying to justify it by claiming to be unmasking people behind illegal activities.

Everyone has a right to anonymous speech - for whatever reason; and here in the US, it is protected under the First Amendment. The EFF (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)has written extensively about this in various articles, court opinions, commentary etc. Even State and Fed legislatures have - and are still trying - every trick in the book to outlaw anon Free Speech. Here's one attempt in Utah. It's hilarious - and didn't pass. And Florida tried to take it one step further.

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As just one example: in January, an activist exposed a St. Paul, Minnesota policeman's online attempts to incite violence against Black Lives Matter protestors. After the activist connected that officer's name, place of work, photo, and other identifying information to his pseudonymous online posts—which encouraged car drivers to "run [protestors] over"—the department in question suspended Officer Jeff Rothecker. A report from The Washington Post mentions Supreme Court cases in which citizens' rights to identify public figures has been upheld.

You would think that it should be clear that people who would seek out public records (court, county, school records etc) for the sole purpose of intimidating, harassing, frightening, and shaming others, are doing actions which i) are illegal ii) blatantly fall under doxing, regardless of whether or not the records are in fact true. Yet somehow, those who do - or attempt to do so - seemingly can't find a plausible reason for doing it. And that's precisely why, regardless of Section 230 of the CDA, you simply can't do it on most sites which care about protecting anonymity of the posters.

And anyone - whether you are active online or not, a journalist, public figure, politician, beauty queen or whatever - you are still subject to doxing (1, 2, 3) once you become a target.

For example, less than a year ago, one Devon Tracey (if you don't know who that is, you're not missing out on anything), was the central figure in a major doxing discussion.

Then there was that time when it was uncovered that some people were even using improper DMCA requests in order to uncover the identities of their targets. In one such instance, the EFF actually sued - and won.

When broken down, it's very simple:

  • Attempting to identify someone involved in illegal activity - public figure or not - isn't doxing
  • Posting someone's real name online, whether or not they are a public figure, isn't doxing
  • Posting a link to a public facing social media site (Twitter, Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn. IMDB etc), isn't doxing

But regardless of how clear cut this should be, at the end of the day, the enforcing of dox rules by sites which host forums, comment sections etc, ends up in a Grey moral ground that's tainted with hubris, ignorance, and self-preservation. Which is precisely why you see so many complaints on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook about questionable content and posters still being on the service, even though others have either had their content removed, or found themselves being suspended or worse, banned. And despite the fact that Free Speech is a govt. mandate, many are eager to cry foul over their "Free Speech" rights being violated, when they post dumb shit they know is inappropriate.

The hilarious part is that even those who are pretending to be the good guys, end up doing the same darn thing to people they don't like, and who they would very much like to silence. Case in point, the curious case of Crash Override Network. Those of you familiar with the GamerGate fiasco, should already be familiar with that one. Especially after some of those in that group were exposed as doxers and doxer advocates, in an article.

And when it comes to legal activities, even lawyers, like PIs who have a license to snoop, also take to social media in order to unmask their targets. In this recent case, a police officer accused of entrapment.

And when it comes to public figures, even limited purpose public figures, there are no protections whatsoever. Sure you can create an anon online persona and post all you like - just as any normal person would. But once you're "known", all bets are off. And that's when it all gets dicey (1, 2, 3) and any recourse depends on the size of your bank account and/or liability insurance coverage.

Nowadays, if you post a link to someone's social media page, or even their name - known to all - or even write an article in which you reference publicly available material, you can get accused of doxing; usually by those who use it as an attack against the writer, than a righteous attempt at integrity. Which is why the EFF even has extensive articles and guidelines about this very thing, for those of us who write blogs and articles.

THE PARADIGM SHIFT


Here are some examples as they pertain to me.

Back in July 2015, I started writing a series of articles on what I believe to be an on-going crowd-funded scam, Star Citizen. In one such article, in attempt to provide context to show how backer money was being spent by the creators of the project who have been lining their pockets on lavish things, I posted a URL to a real estate listing for a lavish home they had rented - with backer money. Normally, you would see such things in any such investigative article online. But no, instead, in a strongly worded, and inflammatory C&D, I got accused of doxing by non other than a partner (and a media attorney no less!) in the project, and someone who gains financially.

It gets better.

In that same scenario, because I had re-tweeted a link to an IMDB page for another co-creator, and which showed a connection (they were married and hid the nepotism from backers until I broke the news) between two parties - and which also had their children (who appeared with a parent in the IMDB page and a promo video for the project), I was accused of doxing - and, get this - stalking. 

It was hilarious.

After speaking with my liability insurance company and getting the all clear, I called up my attorneys in CA, and put them to work. My attorneys response (also covered in one my recent blogs) brought that bullshit to a complete stop. Right there and then.

This was yet another attempt by a corporation - funded by ill-gotten gains - to bully a critic into silence.

All this costs money; even with insurance coverage. In an on-going case against Techdirt, the EFF wrote:

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The First Amendment provides vitally important protections for publishers – the Supreme Court ruled that public figure plaintiffs in defamation lawsuits must prove that offending statements about them are in fact false, and that the speaker actually knew they were false or seriously doubted them when they were published. That rule protects speakers, bloggers, and reporters against lawsuits designed merely to squelch critical speech about public figures. Nonetheless, defending against such suits can be very costly.

Make no mistake, as the Daily Mail and others have found, just because someone is a public figure, doesn't mean that you get to engage in defamatory conduct or doxing at will. In the recent case, Melania Trump, sued the Daily Mail - and recently won a settlement and apology.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE


On Reddit, my account was shadowbanned when a group of Star Citizen backers (led by Dolvak. more on this clown later) got one of their mod friends to restrict the account because I was in a heated debate, and subsequently posted a LinkedIn profile tying yet another prolific Star Citizen harasser,  Wulf Knight (aka AccelerWraith, who was accused of sexual harassment) to an online article (which made him a public figure) about him.

On Frontier Dev forums, I've been suspended for "doxing" three times. Why? for posting links to social media accounts, while engaging in heated discussions which violated rules 2 & 13.

On SomethingAwful, a forum that I've been a part of since the curtains went up, you can now be suspended for violating....some unwritten rule (yeah, it's hilarious, I know). But this one bears more details due to the circumstances.

Basically it ends up being a power play between SA Star Citizen backers trying to get the sub-forum on SA shutdown, and us prolific backers who keep discussing and exposing the fallacy that is the scam. You have to ask, how does anyone get banned for doxing; on SA (and we're talking about the tame version of 4chan, 8chan, Reddit etc btw) of all places? Well, in my case, it was simply linking to publicly available material on social media.

There was that time when after investigating a person who was doxing me, and posting defamatory nonsense on Reddit, I linked to his Facebook page - and threatened to have my attorneys notify his parents. I was then accused of doxing. And the "That's him in the wheelchair!" meme was born.

The first time I was suspended (you have to pay 10 bux to re-sub) it was just the very threat of doxing (image) someone who has just posted that I had a traffic violation - which that person (a Star Citizen backer, aka MoMa, rumored to also work for the company) would never have known about if he wasn't trolling public court records for my information. Because I was writing bad things about a video game, somehow that equates to me being a similarly bad person because there just happened to be a traffic violation - for a car (I have several registered to me) that I wasn't even driving at the time.

See where this is going? Remember what I said earlier about how the enforcing of site rules depends on the clowns (aka mods and admins) in charge, and who are tasked with making a judgement call, rules be damned? Well they descended on the sub-forum, shit up the place, then subsequently suspended and closed (it was later re-opened through much infighting and politics) the sub-forum. And just like that, the most popular sub-forum on the site, which got the most traffic - and just happened to be discussing Star Citizen - was no more.

The second time I was suspended was when we caught some guy in Norway posing as a female Star Citizen player and fleecing other backers for money, and gifts. We did the investigation, I unmasked that person - without posting any data (home address etc) which would run afoul of the law; only social media and pages they had created as part of their scam. I was - again - accused of doxing by the same clowns looking for a reason to shutdown the sub-forum. And they - again - succeeded. It was once again re-opened after much of the usual behind-the-scenes bullshit. Only this time, they took it one step further when an admin installed a temp mod (who replaced me and others) from a competing sub-forum; and who ended up doing such a bad job, the coup that followed was amazingly hilarious - for days.

Then yesterday, in yet another twist of fate I was suspended yet again on SA. This time for using the real name of one of the toxic members of the Star Citizen backer community, Trevor Noblitt; who was already using his real name on a Star Citizen related crowd-funding site, and other places, as well as being a mod of /r/StarCitizen (he was later forced to step down), while writing about Star Citizen - without disclosing his affiliation (as Dolvak) at a website (where him and his buddies have since been kicked out of) dedicated to Star Citizen propaganda. Another Reddit cohort, Keith Elwood, aka /u/ilovecreamsoda who used to write for TechRaptor did the same thing.  This is the same person who, along with a group on Reddit, have waged a two year long illegal harassment campaign against myself and other backers, for writing bad things about Star Citizen. Then he stepped in it.

The hilarious part? Aside from the fact that we already knew his name over a year ago, someone having used it - without being banned (image) - just yesterday he posted this on Reddit.

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I am ok with my name being out there now it's not like it's a secret anymore. I Fully give permission to anyone on this sub to use/post my real game in relation to derek doxing me.

Not only did I use his real name, but I also included a link to a Tweet I made - and which Twitter didn't find objectionable when his buddies on Reddit decided to report it, in yet another failed (Twitter response) attempt to get my verified account suspended.

So what's the common denominator in all of this? Shitizens (the toxic anti-social Star Citizen backers waging an Internet war against dissent) who were the subject of my War Of Attrition blog from last year.

But you wait; I'm just getting started. With the impending collapse of the Star Citizen scam, the battle is going to get a whole lot worse. If they think they hate me now, and can silence me through harassment, nothing is going to prepare them for what's coming.



Below is my statement that's part of the discussion we had on my Discord channel about the Star Citizen backer mods on SA. It was the impetus for this article.



Below is my statement (about the Dolvak fiasco) which I posted on SA.

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I didn't dox anyone.

It really is that simple.

Repeating nonsense isn't going to automagically somehow i) make it true ii) make it funny

Rules are rules. And various places have their own interpretation of the rules. Which is why Twitter, Facebook, Reddit et all, all have their own definition of doxing and posting personal information, harassment etc.

Like ToS bullshit, rules are based on the site's interpretation by the people who write them.

We're here. On Something Awful. Arguing about "what is doxing?", and where posting someone's PUBLICLY KNOWN real name is doxing now. Because using someone's publicly known real name is somehow a more egregious offense than, you know, racism, homophobia, antisemitic bullshit and such that permeates other forums.

My only issue with Beet's ban, is that others get sixers for doing worse shit; but ZDR saw it fit to approve a full on ban. For posting a publicly known real name. Of a lying shitposting fucker who is part of an on-going scam.

But, now that we have yet another variation of the "rules", I will be sure not to use someone's real name. Instead, I will refer to them by the code names used in their NSA and/or FBI dossiers.

And furthermore

This was just today.

A distinguished Navy SEAL working in porn under the screen name Jay Voom is being investigated for violating SEAL policies, putting his career and pension at risk.

Navy Seal.

Real name in a publication.

Doxing?

You be the judge.

The SA mod basically then came out and flat said that he approved a temp ban without investigating it. So, yeah.

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Derek the SA forums aren't serious journalism and hell I didn't launch an investigation before I approved that ban either. A mod submitted it, I looked and saw that it the post essentially checked out and approved it. It's supposed to be a comedy forum, or at least not a super serious one and I don't have it in me to have to have 500 subsections describing doxxing. If it's kept simple and it's punished when it happens then it's easier on the mods to deal with.

Seriously I don't have anything against you personally I was just doing what I normally would have done to generic goon #5634$8 if he got reported for the same shit.

UPDATE: Added image links to SA posts which may be hidden behind a $10 paywall at some point in the future.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 10:15:45 AM by dsmart »
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

 

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