On the Subject of Doxing

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 04:27 PM

Official photo from Bitcoin. (Bitcoin.com)

Yesterday, I wrote an article about how doxing differs from reporting, and about Newsweek's article alleging that it had found the elusive creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. In the post I said that whether Leah McGrath Goodman's Newsweek story constituted doxing rested entirely on whether she had found the right man or not. She has claimed in multiple interviews that she is confident she has. The internet, however, apparently furious at what it considers a violation of the putative Bitcoin creator's privacy, has chosen to give Newsweek a taste of its own medicine by doxing Goodman and two others.

The website Cryptome, which has been a repository for information on spying, privacy and cryptography for almost two decades, has posted what it calls "eyeballs" of several Newsweek staffers - information it gleans from public databases about addresses, Google Earth and Maps searches. The site posted eyeballs for Leah McGrath Goodman, her editor at Newsweek, Jim Impoco, and Salon writer Andrew Leonard, who wrote an article in support of McGrath's work.

I honestly had reservations about posting this because as I defined doxing yesterday, Cryptome’s actions seems like retribution more than anything else and generally without any benefit to the public interest. To that end I'm not including a link to Cryptome's articles themselves. But this is an interesting and newsworthy development, so I feel like I would be remiss in not mentioning at all. 

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Comments [3]

Chris from Still NY

Far be it from me to start an argument, but I'm not sure I understand the comment. If the goal is "an even playing field" and "journalists have no more right to privacy, or privilege, than what they allow others" is the argument that the "even playing field" should be continually degraded until the lowest common denominator is reached? I say this not as a challenge but as an honest inquiry.

Mar. 11 2014 07:10 PM
Cryptome from New York, NY

Cryptome's view is that journalists have no more right to privacy, or privilege, than what they allow others. All kinds of scoundrels now claim to be journalists, and all too many journalists have adopted the practices of scoundrels (perhaps always have).

Best is an even playing field for all of us, journalists, spies, data harvesters, researchers, officials, tax collectors, investigators, law enforcement.

Those who claim to know what is best for the public are not to be trusted based on continuing evidence of their over-riding self-interest, most often pecuniary, as with the case of Newsweek though hardly exceptional.

And those who hide their duplicitous intentions from their targets deserve to be exposed. It's a big job for a massive scale of digital invasion made possible by powerful tools to gather data and weak protections against those tools.

And all of us need to help combat the opportunists who pry and spy for noble and ignoble purposes. Our doxing demostrates how easy it is to pry, and how money is being made from vast databases which likely exceed those of governments so readily castigated for official, somewhat regulated, spying as if to divert attention from the from free for by businesses, prime among them journalism whose venality is cloaked in high-minded principles.

Mar. 11 2014 06:45 PM
Chris from NY

Speaking of once oft-used internet terms, these retaliatory moves really should beware the Streisand effect.

Mar. 11 2014 05:38 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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