Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kosher Doxing

Rabbi Rockower agrees: doxing, when done properly, has my kosher/halal seal of approval:

"Some are calling these efforts “doxing” – publishing someone’s private information for the purpose of punishing them and inciting others against them – and saying they are therefore unethical and illegitimate. According to this view, the demonstrators have a right to express their opinions, no matter how odious.

From my perspective as a professor of applied Jewish ethics, they’ve got it wrong. While every human life is inherently valuable, this view gives too much priority to the rights of the white nationalists and not enough to our obligations to the people being threatened.

Certainly, Jewish ethical teachings wouldn’t support the sloppy internet detective work that led to threats against and harassment of innocent people mistaken for those demonstrating at Charlottesville. Ruining someone’s reputation and livelihood is a serious matter – this is why the teachings on lashon hara, the spreading of gossip, are so extensive. The rabbis of the Talmud avoid singling out one another for crimes as minor as reeking of garlic, and even God refuses to inform on sinners (BT Sanhedrin 11a).

But the Chofetz Chayim (1873) outlines conditions under which we can talk about someone’s theft, fraud or cursing: If I’m an eyewitness, I’m sure of what I saw, I’m not exaggerating, I’m doing it for the right reasons and I’ve tried a gentle rebuke, I can talk to others about what I saw. But if I can handle the matter just as well in some other way, the Chofetz Chayim says I should do that.

Exposing the fact that someone participated in a public rally for violent racism and anti-Semitism doesn’t seem like it fits into the category of lashon hara. If anyone ruined the participants’ reputations, it was they themselves."
-Jennifer Thompson, "Doxing White Supremacists Is Kosher According to Judaism. Here's Why"

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