You’ve Been Doxxed

Peter Cvjetanovic was doxxed.  Was it ethical? Did he deserve it?

neo-nazis charlottesville

Peter Cvjetanovic (right) chants while holding torches at a march organized by neo-Nazi, white supremacist and white nationalist organizations in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday night.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Doxxing – the act sharing someone’s personal information online in the name of social justice . Someone saw this photo taken at the rally and somehow knew the star of the photo. A Twitter account,”Yes, You’re Racist,” relied on crowdsourcing to identify the marchers at the protests as neo-nazis and racists, and those identified, like Cvjetanovic, have been heavily targeted. People are calling for him to be expelled from UNR for identifying as a white nationalist and promoting racist rhetoric at the rally, and they don’t feel bad about it.

But is it ethical to use the tool of doxxing for “social good”?

Many times, people aren’t posting private information . Cvjetanovic was attending a public rally without hiding his identity – someone just happened to post a picture of him that went viral. Others argue that doxxing is digital release of private information without their consent, and therefore, can’t possibly be ethical.

My first thoughts regarding why doxxing could be troubling:

  • Misidentification – like this professor, who has an evil twin that happened to be at the Charlottesville Rally
  • Doxxing screams acts of vigilante justice, which we know from experience, can end very badly
  • We never know the full story behind those we are doxxing, and this means facts and motives can very easily become misconstrued

Theoretically, Pete Tefft (above) could have been protesting this rally and not involved in perpetuating the hateful rhetoric at all – there’s only so much we can get out of this picture. But if he really was spewing hatred at the rally, does he still deserve to get fired from his job for exercising his right to free (but hateful) speech? I’m not sure where I stand on this one, but I won’t deny that I was a little giddy when I initially found @YesYoureRacist on Twitter.

 

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