Doxxing to Defend Student Privacy

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Mar 21, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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Bob Braun's website was inaccessible when I posted the story about Pearson's spying on schoolchildren last week, but it's available again and Audrey Watters raises some troubling questions about some of the follow-up coverage. She notes that NJ superintendent Elizabeth Jewett's work address and phone are contained in the image Braun posted, and that NJDOE commissioner Bari Anhalt-Erlichson's home address is posted (I personally don't see a home address in the story, just a property value and the fact that that it's located in Princeton). "Warning bells for me," writes Watters. "This was the second story in a row in which Braun had disclosed the personal information of a female edu employee of the state of New Jersey."

The connection between Anhalt-Erlichson and Pearson is very tenuous. She is married to Andrew Erlichson, who is a VP at MongoDB, which once did work for Pearson. You may equally well connect me to the Pearson spying case, because I've used MongoDB and have praised it in the past. But the tenuousness isn't the issue here; the doxxing is - the releasing of people's personal information and documents, their 'dox'. And even that wouldn't an issue were it not for the harassment that follows, which is disproportionately aimed at women. The information is "broadcast across the Internet with the express purpose of having that data be used for punishment." The very first comment in Braun's article talks about how to punish the offenders.

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