An addendum

An addendum to my prior post on speaking to the manager: Writer Ijeoma Oluo was the target of an attempted SWATing. Of course this is wh*te supr*macist terrorism. It is also an extension of the techniques developed during g*mergate (systemically, as part of a community) and employed now outside of it.

SWATing is an especially insidious murder attempt, where a false call is made to police reporting a violent murder in progress in hopes the police will go in shooting. SWATing has ended in deaths.

The first step in a SWATing is, frequently, a doxing, where personal information is found and dropped into a public forum. The understanding is someone in that group is probably willing to do some violence. And so there’s a sort of distributed responsibility, a funhouse version of the Kitty Genovese effect, where acts like signal boosting harassers, doxing, etc. are distributed among several people. The most violent members of a group even make sock puppets to do the worst parts so everyone can disavow the worst of it. Me? I’d never call in a SWAT attack. All I did was keep people informed. I don’t even know who did it. How dare you associate us with that! We have legitimate grievances.

Unfortunately, SWATers tend to call in tips from untraceable sources now. The majority aren’t caught. Isn’t that fuckin’ swell?

I’m sure the less tech savvy (and more disingenuous) among us will say all you have to do to to stay safe is not share your info online. Well, what if you want to do business under your real name, hm? As has been normal for centuries? Unfortunately, a lot of tax records and other information are a matter of public record, and there are sites that’ll aggregate every public record about you (and some they bought from elsewhere) where anyone can find it. Unless you’ve taken steps to protect yourself, your name, date of birth, address and immediate family are extremely easy to find. I found this out when I got doxed and looked into how people do it. It ain’t hard, folks. There are steps you can take to make it harder, but none which will make it impossible. All it takes is one person among hundreds who has the time for you.

We’re gonna see these techniques increasingly across many, many professions and sectors that are public-facing. Minorities will bear the brunt of it, although not all of it.

What are you doing in your workplace, in your organizations, to support people through this? Does your city council know this is going to be happening? Ijeoma Oluo’s community rallied to prevent this from turning bloody. What are you going to do to save your neighbors’ lives?

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