I found this story this morning: Twitter troll fired, another suspended after Curt Schilling names and shames them
To summarize, Curt Schilling’s daughter was accepted to Salve Regina University where she will be the pitcher for the softball team. Great stuff any proud dad would tweet. Then the troll problem emerged with snarky comments escalating to threats of rape and other assorted nastiness. Mr. Schilling responded by tracking down the most egregious offenders, finding their real names, schools, and residences. Then he called them out, by name, online. He basically doxed them. This resulted in many of the offenders being suspended from school and/or sports teams.
This caused my head to explode a little. First off, as the father of a daughter, my emotional reaction is that those trolls need to be strung up by their testicles and punched in the throat. Repeatedly. Secondly, my perspective as an INFOSEC guy chimed in. One guy, who is presumably not a techie, just doxed a bunch of people and derailed their school and sports careers pretty significantly. How do the ethics of this situation sort themselves out? I’m not entirely certain.
Here are my observations:
- This doxing attack was pretty effective. The interesting question is how much did Curt Schilling’s fame amplify the success? Would I have similar results?
- I checked out his Wikipedia Page. Other than founding a software gaming company, he doesn’t have much tech cred. I’m sure he is a bit more savvy than the typical user, but probably not by much. Given this experience, he was able to track down the real identities of previously unknown people. Think about that for a minute.
- Reputation is simultaneously powerful and fragile, especially now. What are we doing to secure it as individuals and as organizations?
- I’m not a lawyer, but Schilling’s actions don’t seem to be slanderous or libelous. However, could there be legal liability on his part for calling out these trolls?
I don’t have any answers in this post. Mostly I just wanted to get these thoughts out of my head and process them a bit. What do you guys think?