Doxing is one of the latest examples of harassment adapted to recent times. It is a sample of how our way of harming others evolves at the same time as new technologies develop.

Specifically, is a type of harassment based on the udo of the Internet and the power that this virtual space has when it comes to harming us, to the point of making us fear it. Unfortunately, doxing is also increasingly common, and it is especially prevalent among women. In this article we will see what it is.

What is doxing?

One of the characteristics by which the Internet is usually valued more positively is that it allows us to do almost everything while maintaining relative anonymity. However, this anonymity can actually become a mirage . It may be that the network of networks is a place where it is common to surf with a mask on, but it is also true that it gives the possibility that thousands of people see private data about us or that some even manage to find out things about our lives that they would hardly be able to know if it were not for the Internet. With some knowledge of computers or programming, a few clicks are enough to remove the mask that stands between a real eprsona and a forum or a social network.

Doxing is, technically, a set of strategies aimed at collecting information from a target, either an individual or an organization. However, in practice, it does not have to remain simply to store this data, and this type of private information is used as a form of Internet harassment, threatening and extorting to make public what has been discovered about the victim .

Normally, doxing takes advantage of the fingerprint we leave behind when surfing the Internet, when leaving comments and when registering and interacting with web pages to, from those few details, pull the thread and find things like where we live, the names of our closest friends, our hobbies, our political opinions… or even compromising confessions and videos.

A long-range form of Internet bullying

In an age when an unfortunate photograph posted on Facebook can cost you your job, doxing is a form of extortion that knows virtually no bounds. If a photograph, a video or a story published on Twitter reaches a level of diffusion that approaches the viral, a person can receive dozens of mock-ups and threats overnight , from people they don’t know and won’t know but who, at the same time, have the power to mistreat them psychologically.

Doxing is especially used to eliminate the influence of competitors in the political or labor field. Information about certain people’s past can be published in full view of everyone from anonymous Twitter accounts, for example, and involve more and more people in its dissemination, through a kind of snowball effect .

Besides, in these cases the truth can be coupled with the lie. Accompanying the falsehoods with data, videos or images that are true allows to give veracity to a set in which most things are invented, and all this to hurt someone remotely. In any case, regardless of the veracity of what is disseminated, the trace left by this type of information on the Internet is permanent, and can be reached years after everything has happened.

Minors are the most exposed

Doxing often goes hand in hand with cyberbullying, and its effects on young people are particularly harmful. On the one hand, the end of childhood and adolescence are times in life when belonging to the group is often of paramount importance, and being exposed in this way can endanger the possibility of receiving social acceptance or even make it more possible for bullying to appear or intensify. Furthermore, as it is a type of threat for which one is not prepared, indecision about what to do and dependence on adults lead to the appearance of very high levels of stress and anxiety.

However, adolescents and children are not the only demographic group that is particularly vulnerable to this type of practice. Doxing is a type of symbolic violence that also greatly affects women .

A problem that especially affects women

According to a recent study, doxing as a form of threat by disclosure of personal data mainly affects women. Specifically, one out of every four Spanish women who have been harassed on the Internet have suffered from its effects at some time, through threats for disclosing data that may leave them in a situation of vulnerability .

How do you explain this? Part of it has to do with 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, since it is still relatively standardized to judge people associated with that gender . This disparity makes this type of threat more effective in dominating the victims, who in the case of doing what is asked of them, may become increasingly exposed, as more and more confidential information is generated.