Doxing, doxxing, or „dropping docs“, is the collection and publication of information about a person in order to cause him or her inconvenience.
The term is derived from the expression “dropping docs”, information (documents) releasing.
Information about a person may be collected from public sources as well as through hacking, and the purpose of the activity is to collect as much personal information as possible in a “file”.
Such information may include:
Personal photos of him;
Photographs of children;
Bank card numbers;
Place of work and address;
Different email addresses used by people;
Usernames for social media and communication channels;
Children’s hobby circles and trainings;
Car make and number;
Disclosure of this kind of personal information is intended to cause a person to feel uncomfortable, to make them feel insecure, to force them to withdraw from public life or discussion, but also to feel embarrassed.
Doxing has been used to reveal the identity of individuals who are anonymous or hiding under fake accounts; to silence journalists or other public figures; to target using harassing phone calls, social media posts or emails, etc.
Today, doxing takes place mainly on the Internet, but has also been used, for example, on the walls of public toilets, such as the toilets of entertainment establishments, where the names of activists are written, along with telephone numbers, resulting in harassing late-night calls.
In Estonia, for example, journalists and activists who work in public, not hiding their identities or face, but who are not public figures, consequently not receiving any heightened attention, have fallen victim to doxing.
The best-known example in Finland is the journalist Jessikka Aro, who revealed the activities of Russian trolls. The fake news magazine MV-Lehti, which called on readers to harass Aro, targeted her.
The legality or illegality of Doxig depends largely on how the information is obtained – whether it is obtained from public sources accessible to all or whether it is obtained through hacking and other illegal means of obtaining information.
Photo: Alexandre Duret-Lutz/Flickr/CC