Cyberpunk 2077 and Doxxing
Recently on Aug 22, 2018, someone from CD PROJEKT RED, the Polish video game publisher behind the Witcher series and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, made a tweet that angered some people online. The tweet may have been intended as a joke, but people can interpret things very differently, especially over text. In the aftermath of the tweet, someone decided to figure out who made the post by digging for personal identifiable information, also known as ‘doxxing,’ putting the safety of the poster at risk. This begs the question: is your safety at risk whenever you comment online?
Over the many years of social media, many individuals have been a victim of doxxing. It is very understandable and difficult to have zero online presence, but it is important for everyone to consider if the things that they put online can be used against them, now or even into the future. Should self censorship be the solution? Maybe, but at the same time it could also limit a person’s self expression. The things we put online always has a chance to offend someone in some way without it being the original intention.
This is not the first time a doxxing attack has happened, so let’s take a look at some previous doxxing attacks in the past.
2010 – Jessi Slaughter:
Jessi Slaughter was an 11 year old YouTuber who launch a ‘public tirade’ against 4chan. The users of the site decided to fight back, and doxxed Jessi and her family. This lead to an onslaught of prank calls and harassment. A police investigation was launched, but as far as we’re aware not a single person has been arrested.
2013 – Reddit Wrongly Accuses Someone:
Days after the Boston Marathon Bombing, users of the site Reddit (redditors), tried to help find the individuals responsible for the attack. By using photos that were released by the FBI, redditors gave inaccurate ‘tips’ to police, which may have impeded the investigation. In addition, redditors misidentified two individuals as the attackers, leading to harassment, even death threats for them and their families. All the harassment may have driven one of the individuals to commit suicide.
2017 – Swatting over Call of Duty: WWII
Two individuals playing an online shooting game, had a disagreement over an online bet. This led to one of the individuals in California calling the police with a major threat on the other gamer in Wichita, Kansas, a process known as “swatting”, requiring the SWAT team to respond at the target’s address. The result of this incident led to the death of one of the gamers.
The big takeaway from this and past events is that everyone should be aware of what information exists about you online. The incident with CD PROJEKT RED, as well as other incidents in the past, could have been avoided if everyone took steps to manage their publicly available information. Not only should you know what information is out there, but where that information resides. After knowing what and where things are, it is easier for you to control what the internet can say about you. Regardless of whether you want to remove or change that information, you should have that choice.