In the wake of widespread anti-police rebellion in the streets, we’ve seen the expected repression by police with mass arrests, chemical weapons, and inflated charges. While it’s been heartening to see police forced to retreat in some situations – resulting in short term autonomous and free zones – we also know that in some cases police make a tactical choice not to engage. They know that they can build cases after the fact by combing through video and photos – both what they take and what they collect from social media.
And it isn’t just the cops – upset do-gooders, white supremacists, and sadly even other protestors – frequently try to identify individuals who participate in street protests. Similarly, once people are arrested, a favorite tactic of white supremacists is to dox those who are arrested and to use that information to conduct online and offline harassment campaigns.
In light of this, it’s important to take a bit of time to consider the possibility of being doxxed and to take steps to mitigate your risk.
Quick Steps to Prevent Doxxing
- Lock down social media accounts if you have them (it’s always better to abstain or use a pseudonym). Set everything to private and don’t have a publicly accessible photo.
- Remove yourself from people search websites. These can leak your address, phone number, family and can put you at risk for retaliation.
- Do an online search for yourself and see what information you can find. Think like an adversary and then take steps to plug weak points. A guide to help do this was produced by the New York Times.
- Practice strong online security. Use a password manager and strong unique passwords for each service you use, enable 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) wherever you can, and prioritize secure providers.
We’ve reviewed a variety of resources on combating doxxing these are some of the best:
- Anti-Doxing Guide for Activists Facing Attacks
- Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment
- Personal Data Removal Workbook – A very detailed and frequently updated guide to removing your information from the Internet
Digital Security Resources
A strong defense against doxxing also requires taking steps to increase your digital security. The Surveillance Self-Defense Guide from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a great starting point that will walk you through the process of assessing your risk (threat profiling) and developing a plan. PrivacyTools.io is another solid source for vetting software and services.