Dox

I was perusing my e-mails this evening and ran across an article that quickly drew my consideration. The attention getter was a word I had never seen before. The title of the article was, “Democratic Aide Arrested for Doxxing…” I didn’t feel too badly about my ignorance, because my spellchecker didn’t recognize the word either.

I looked it up to make sure some inventive reporter wasn’t merely coining a new term, but, lo and behold, right there it was. Dox—to “search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.” The Urban Dictionary had another definition that was a tad more explicit than that, but I won’t run that one by you.

Apparently, this guy found the personal info of some of our governmental representatives and hoisted it up onto the Internet for all to see, glean, and use. This process (which is, evidently, illegal) is referred to as “dropping the dox.” It appears that the word, dox, in this context means documents. So, my advice to you is to avoid dropping the dox on anyone—even on people you don’t like (maybe especially on people you don’t like).

Dropping the Dox

Originally when I spotted this term, I was guessing it came from the same root word as doxology. Doxa is a Greek word meaning glory. Many Christian congregations sing the “Doxology” during every service. They do it in order to give glory to God. Obviously, I was wrong about my initial speculation. There is no glory intended in dropping the dox (at least none that I can see).

In an interesting sidelight, as I was poking around for the definition to doxxing, I ran across another modern term—swatting. I thought I knew what swatting meant—but no. Swatting is now the “action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” So if you can fallaciously goad a SWAT team to someone else’s home, you’re successful at swatting. What sport!

Gin Rummy

Whatever happened to Kick-the-Can, Duck-Duck-Goose, Hide-and-Seek, and other such fun (and physical) games? Have they become obsolete? Have they been replaced by such wonders as doxxing and swatting? Maybe we should issue everyone a deck of cards and teach them to play Gin Rummy. It might keep more people out of trouble.

There’s an old saying propagating the idea that “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” This can be backed up Biblically in verses such as Ecclesiastes 10:18 which states, “Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.” Because of evil games like doxxing and swatting, the house we call America has a few leaks in the roof.

I’m not sure what they’ll end up doing to the guy who was caught doxxing. From what I can gather, though, he’s looking at a jail term that could add up to a lot of years.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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