For six years, I worked as an editor at Computerworld.com. Since 2013, I’ve been a freelance writer for the website, which published my anti-doxxing feature this past November. As a follow-up to that piece, editor Rebecca Linke dusted off my old blog, Techbits, and allowed me to offer the following editorial commentary on this week’s Polygamer interview with Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz.
The Internet is becoming a more dangerous place, with trolls and pranksters able to escalate online grievances into real-world threats. Doxxing — the unauthorized publication of someone’s personal contact information or financial records — and swatting — anonymously reporting a fake threat in order to get a SWAT team sent to someone’s home — are two of the more alarming methods being used.
But the tide may be turning, as more intended victims start to fight back. The latest is Zoe Quinn, the original target of GamerGate, the disorganized movement ostensibly about ethics in games journalism but more commonly associated with misogyny and harassment. Quinn has been continuously harassed and threatened since last August. She has not been home in nearly six months, saying, “it’s no longer safe to be [there] while we try and figure out how to move on from this meteor hitting us and be people again.”
Enough is enough.