The technological shift that we have been experiencing for the last few decades is astounding, not least because of its social implications. Every year the online and offline spheres have become more and more connected and are now completely intertwined, leading to online actions having real consequences in the physical realm — both good and bad.
One of the most affected areas in this regard is communication and sharing of information, especially personal. Posting something on the internet is not like speaking to a select club of like-minded tech enthusiasts anymore — it is more akin to shouting on a crowded square. This gives rise to many unique threats, from cyberbullying and simple financial scams to spear phishing and social engineering attacks on business executives and government officials. And while awareness of privacy issues is increasing, much of the general public still only have a basic understanding of why privacy matters.
Unfortunately, even if we take good care of how and with whom we share our personal data, we are not immune from being doxed. The abusers may be motivated enough to go beyond gathering data available in the public domain and turn to the black market in the hope of finding personal information that will do real harm, for instance, gaining access to social media accounts. In this report, we will dig deeper into two major consequences of (willing and unwilling) sharing personal data in public — doxing (the public de-anonymization of a person online) and the selling of personal data on the dark web — and try to untangle the connection between the two. We’ll’ also look at how these phenomena affect our lives and wh ..