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Privacy In The Digital Age With Special Reference To Doxing

The digital age has been considered as one of the greatest development in the world. In the past three decades it has been evolving at much higher rate and the biggest reasons are the never stopping inventions to make it possible. As we move forward in this tunnel of digital age the world carves for and quick resources. With its advancement and acceptance all over the world it has even created some questions of privacy and security. Every now and then we hear about scams and loopholes in the protection data of every individual in this age. Furthermore, every country is now trying to develop laws that ensure protection of their citizens.

The loss of privacy is one of the most inevitable risk this mankind is facing with its progress in technology. Every information that we provide to the internet automatically gets rendered to be a property of this digital world. We need to understand that these threats are waiting for us as close as technology is to a person. With more accessibility the threat increases. There are thieves waiting for our information to use them in their benefits and to hack into our personal lives and property.

These people are called hackers who pose such threats. Apart from hackers there are allot of technology giants who are accused or have stolen our information like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and many more. The social media platforms and search engines are the places which hold most of our information. Apart from the information there are threats to our identity, money, burglary, stalking and many more which are going to discussed further. The rise of e commerce has given an opportunity to marketers of all the industries capture our activities online like of buying or just surfing the internet.

Doxing or also known as Doxxing is a term that is associated with internet vigilantism and hacktivism. It mere existence was with the development of this digital age and introduction of social media platform or connecting platforms. Doxware is a cryptovirology attack that was developed by Adam Young and Moti Yung, it initiated the new way of doxing in this digital age. The meaning of doxing is to collect some personal information about someone or something and releasing it to another party or extort from the victims. The people who are targeted through doxing in most cases are further targeted for harassments in different form. There are various ways of doxing and has many impacts on an individual or an organization which follow even after the whole series of incidents.

Research Objective
The objectives of this research paper is revolving around two poles firstly it is about privacy in this digital age and secondly about understanding about doxing and its effects. We will be able to understand and identify the impacts and challenges both these topics. It helps us identify some serious threats that everyone is facing. we will be able to identy the the development of the law about those issues and further what can be the future along with its flexibility to evolve with this never changing technology. It further expands to the issue of doxing and studying its impacts. It even focuses on various methods of doxing and how they are done.

Research Methodology
A doctrinal method of research has been used in preparing this research paper which includes collection of secondary data from various sources such as books, articles, research papers, online legal databases, bare acts etc. The information collected from these sources form the crux and content of the research project so as to come to a valid conclusion. Landmark Judgements and cases have been referred in detail to understand how various statues have been used to pronounce judgements in similar cases. Important text books and study materials have also been referred for the same.

Research Question
  • What is privacy?
  • Is privacy is possible in this digital age?
  • What is the role of surveillance by the government?
  • What are the types of risk in privacy breach?
  • What is doxing?
  • What are impacts of doxing?

Literature Review
Engaging privacy and information technology in a digital age (2007) by James Waldo, Herbert S. Lin, and Lynette I. Millett
National research council of the USA gives their input about privacy and its growing concern in the USA and all around the world. This book informs about the spread of internet and its boundless options of storing information. Online practise of businesses and government agencies present new ways of compromises in privacy.

Black Law Dictionary
This source mentions various definitions to the meaning of privacy. It also encompasses various definitions and theories about privacy given by eminent jurists like Jude Cooley who defines privacy as the right to be left alone.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
This is an international convention that is considered to be one of the most sacred documents to interpret human rights. It also mentions about the importance of privacy and regards it as an inalienable human right.

List Of Cases
  1. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and another V. Union of India (2018) SCC Online SC 1642
  2. Kharak Singh V. State of U.P 1964 SCC (1) 332
  3. Govind V. State of Madhya Pradesh 1975 SCC (2) 148
  4. Smt. Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India and Anr. 1978 SCC (2) 248
  5. Naz Foundation V. Government of NCT of Delhi WP(C) No.7455/2001
  6. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and another V. Union of India(2018) SCC Online SC 1642
  7. People's Union for Civil Liberties V. Union of India (1997) 1 SCC 301
  8. Govind V. State of Madhya Pradesh 1975 SCC (2) 148

Importance Of Privacy
The Constitution of India incorporates Right to Privacy under Article 21, which is a considered necessary of right to life and private liberty. Stressing at the term privacy', it is a dynamic concept which has to be elucidated. The scope of Article 21 is multi-dimensional under the Indian Constitution. Law of torts, Criminal Laws in addition to property Laws additionally understand right to privacy.

Privacy is something that offers with person privacy and additionally which became necessary to be included in advance earlier than the passing of a landmark case, i.e., K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India in 2017 as it became, earlier, no longer taken into consideration a essential right under the Indian Constitution. However, our Indian judiciary has, at present, carved out a distinctive precinct concerning privacy and an upshot of this is Right to Privacy, it's implications, now, diagnosed as a fundamental proper, which is intrinsic under Article 21.

This is a term which isn't very ' to conceptualize and has a variety of meanings and interpretations attached to it. Black Law Dictionary defines it as right to be left alone.' The basic intent behind this is to protect a person's publications, writings, his opinions and it not only extends to theft or trespass to person and/or his property but also against alleged and fake allegations, comments and publications while protecting the original and genuine ones.

Evolution Of Right To Privacy In India
To ensure privacy in digital age we need to understand how the law has evolved over the time and its depth to ensure our security with the changing time and technology. The concept of Right to privacy is not static. It is dynamic. It has evolved with the passage of years since independence. Here is a brief description of the evolution of right to privacy-
Kharak Singh V. State of U.P- The honorable Supreme Court held that right to privacy does not exist. One judge, Justice Subba Rao' dissented by saying that right to privacy exists but it can't be incorporated as a fundamental right.

Govind V. State of Madhya Pradesh:
It was after eleven years after the case state above, that privacy got very minutely recognized as part of personal liberty.

Smt. Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India and Anr- The Honorable Supreme Court said that the term personal liberty incorporates variety of rights such as right to privacy and some rights are also recognized by the constitution like article 19. It further stated that any infringing personal liberty, even privacy as it is covered under its ambit, shall be just, fair and reasonable.

Naz Foundation V. Govt. of NCT of Delhi:
The Delhi HC examined section 377 of the IPC. It struck it down and decriminalized homosexuality and upheld the right to privacy by stating that private space in which a man can be himself. It talked about a sanctuary where people can stay away from the societal norms and be truly themselves.This was later struck down by the Supreme court in 2013.

Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and another V. Union of India:
A nine judge bench was deciding a petition against the Aadhar scheme of the government where Aadhar and biometric linking was made mandatory for availing government schemes and benefits under it. The Supreme Court ruled that right to privacy is a fundamental right under article 21 and should be included under the right to live with dignity. It overruled Kharak Singh's case and declared privacy as a fundamental right.

Privacy Vs Protection: Role Of Government
When we take into consideration that the authorities are allowed to breach our privacy to ensure the protection, it puts our thoughts into a dilemma where we can never decide if its right or wrong. In one hand it gives us protection whereas on the other our private never remains private in this digital age.

It further gives people a thought that if it should be applicable to both the parties equally. If the authorities have the right to invade the privacy, then people should also be given a similar opportunity to maintain the balance. If the police have the right to put up the surveillance to the public, then in the similar fashion public should have right to put to the same to the authorities. Tapping of phones is one such example of this dilemma where it is not at balance.

Tapping of phones- Owing to the new and recent technological developments, phone tapping with respect to right to privacy is debatable. But the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case upheld the judgment made in People's Union for Civil Liberties V. Union of India which considered a phone call as an individual's private matter and hence phone tapping is a infringement of right to privacy.

At one point we take into consideration the balance which is of the common demand but we need to understand that it is existence will lead to a cycle which will further trigger not to enact such surveillance to everybody which further results to protection of information of privacy for all. Equality and transparency and the two factors that will be the pillars to the problem of loss of privacy in this digital age. The give and take relationship can be achieved and the main purpose of it would be to avoid anyone to get private information from anyone if the other party does not will to do the same.

With the extensive advancement of technology, an equally sizable debate on its ethical implications has developed. In recent years an ethical dilemma has arose pertaining to the use of government surveillance. While the increased surveillance of citizens by the government is beneficial to the safety of society, the government might infringe on citizen privacy rights. It is obvious that the extensive government surveillance can aid in the protection of citizens. The threat of terrorism has been widespread and very real. Terrorists, both at home and abroad, constantly use the internet to gain intelligence, purchase weapons with intention to cause harm, and communicate.

Types Of Privacy Breach
There is not one but many ways of breaching privacy in this digital age and some examples are:
Improper Acquisition
The inappropriate access of the computers of users of any platform which further leads to the collection of private information and monitoring of the internet activities without the consent and the knowledge of the users. As an example, RealNetwork used to monitor users identities of users as well as their preferences and Internet activities with RealJukebox.

Improper Use
This has not one but many factors under it which includes variety of tactics as well which mainly includes transfer of private information about any user or consumer without their knowledge and consent. For example, at one point tracked how individuals surfed Web advertisements, noting their preferences (Wang, et al., 1998). In another case, Universal Image sued Yahoo for US$4 billion for its failure to disclose user information.

Privacy Invasion
Privacy invasion has its principle revolving around the private information of specific consumer or a user. Which further gets transferred to a second party without consent, knowledge and information of the user or consumer which further leads to many unconsented issues. For example, collected personal information about eBay customers, using this data to gather customers improperly from its rival.

Improper Storage
There are enormous security issues world has face when it comes to stored digital information and specifically in safeguards of data. For example, in 2003, about 59,000 social security numbers and personal data were collected from the University of Texas at Austin computer system by hackers.

Social Media Privacy Scams
Social media with the advancement of digital age has made everyone closer than ever before but also raised many securities concern and they provide us with the platform of sharing and keeping our private life. They have information and details like our phone number, email address, bank account information and many more. Hence the issue of data security which is essential for privacy with this technology and its breach is one of the greatest concern. There are various types of scams that there on these social media websites and application that puts our privacy at risk.

Some of them are
Duplicating Accounts
In this type of scams while logging into the profile and providing information the phishers can duplicate your account.

Viral Videos
These type of videos are very attention seeking and hence become the perfect bait for scammers. While clicking or viewing the video there might be a pop-up and which may ask you to perform or execute something in your device on which you are accessing which further downloads many types of malware and viruses in your device without consent and permission.

Identity Theft
It is one of the ragging issues in the world and it can easily be performed if someone knows the answer to your security and authentication information which identify the owner of the account.

Money Scams
They have been existing in many forms since a very long time and have evolved with this digital age. In this scammers could use your account or get you to pay them by a fake promise for return of something attractive to you or to make you popular on the respective social media.

The criminals use social media to determine your location by your activity and then use it break into your houses. For example, when someone uploads information about being on vacation public ally or with the criminal by trusting or because of socializing.

Free Coupons
They are very commonly visible and on social media. Scammers give fake coupons for just logging in or by providing some of your information online or to their portal in exchange.

Through geo stalking, criminals use your location on social media and stalk or follow you.

Contest Scams
Fake contests are made just to get your information by attracting you to prizes and lotteries by using fake accounts.

Love Scams
These scams are usually schemed to find unwitting targets who feel alone by giving many fake promises that may satisfy their needs mentally, physically, emotionally in their personal lives.

Doxing And Its Impact
Doxing or doxxing are social media terms in which a person or group of victims are targeted and are online attacked. In this hackers finds out your personal information and documents with an intention of exposing one's anonymous identity unwantedly. The goal is to shame and harass the victim which leads to some serious mental health problems because various impacts on the victim's life. It has not one but many form for example by using fake identities, hacking, stealing and many more.

Doxing is mostly an online attack today but it has its roots from before this digital age. When people use to pay or do find out personal information about an individual or a group and find out personal information that is not made public or is without the victim's choice.

There are many ways of doxing and some of the methods used are:
Packet Sniffing
In this hackers intercept your internet connection and look up for passwords and other information. They connect to an online network and crack its security measures and take the data out of the network.

IP Logging
In this hacker or also called IP loggers in this case attach a code which might not be visible to the victim and send it via an email message. As soon as the victims open the message and code tracks their IP address and sends them back to the IP logger which results in sending a quick information about you.

Reverse Cell Phone Lookup
Once hackers know your mobile phone number, they can find out more about you. For example, reverse phone lookup services like Whitepages let you type in a mobile phone number � or any telephone number � to find out the identity of the person who owns the number. Sites such as Whitepages charge fees to provide information beyond the city and state associated with a mobile phone number. Though, those willing to pay can discover additional personal information about you from your mobile phone number.

Social Media Stalking
By using the updates on social media the perpetrators track information about your personal life that you may not want to be told to everyone. They may find out your whereabouts and use in a wrong way and troll you over social media or release it to publically without your consent.

It has become easier with the development of this digital age and invention of social media. There are vigilantes who plan social-media-based doxing attacks. Some forms of doxing have also been considered a part of cyber bullying and have been considered illegal if the information exposed is not a part of the public record. For example, publishing someone's bank details, birth certificate, passport details, etc. Some ways of doxing may not be considered illegal but they are definitely considered unethical even if the perpetrators are using the public information.

The right to privacy has evolved with many recent developments. Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 also deals with the Right to Privacy. According to this, accessing someone's computer and his/her personal information stored in it in an unauthorized manner is an offence and is also against a person's right to privacy. If that person uses that information to harm the reputation of a person by publishing it without the knowledge of the person, i.e. accessing his/her computer without his/her knowledge and making public that piece of information will be against the person's right to privacy.

The right to privacy was earlier non-existent and then it was considered as a statutory right. Meaning, any decision made by the Parliament regarding right to privacy required simple majority, i.e 50% + 1 of those present and voting. This would mean that it could be amended easily. Later, when the latest right to privacy judgment came out in 2017, right to privacy was considered as a fundamental right. Now, if the Parliament needs to make any decision pertaining to right to privacy, it needs a special majority, i.e. 2/3rd of members present and voting plus ratification by more than half of the state legislatures.

Social media is more and more used to make presumptions and decisions about people. If I get to know someone I will go to Google and try to find out what can be found instead of waiting how all info itself will arouse by time passing. It's debatable if it is ethical to spy about people in social networks because behavioral patterns witnessed there belong more to private sphere.
Individual citizens' rights to digital privacy continue to be to challenged by the increasing need for national security one the one hand, and the increasing digital vigilance many companies are putting into place to protect themselves while learning more about their customers.

These factors are a volatile catalyst that continues to change the ethical, legal and personal landscape rights of digital privacy in the information technology age. The depth and pace of change that is occurring in the areas of capturing, aggregating, analyzing and using personal data is unprecedented and will continued to escalate as new risks emerge.

People know that their privacy is under attack but they might not be to understand fully what are the factors that are causing it. We need to fight back against the threat of the digital age as quickly as we can manage actions over technology. Privacy need not to be redefined if there is a discipline on how to manage their information available. Personal information should remain personal and should be a matter of choice and whom they want share with.

  1. James Waldo, Herbert S. Lin, and Lynette I. Millett Engaging privacy and information technology in a digital age (2007)
  2. National Research Council. 2007. Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  3. Internet privacy concerns confirm the case for intervention, Communications of the ACM, volume 42, number 2, pp. 60�67
  4. Internet privacy, Communications of the ACM, volume 42, number 2, pp. 28�38
  5. Internet privacy: A public concern, netWorker, volume 2, number 3, pp. 13�18
  6. The privacy hoax, Communications of the ACM, volume 42, number 2, pp. 17�19
  7. Privacy lost, anytime, anywhere, Communications of the ACM, volume 40, number 8, pp.8�13
  8. Crowds: Anonymity for Web transactions, ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, volume 1, number 1
  9. Comments on the OECD Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce (DSTI/Cp(98)4/REV5)
  10. Consumer privacy concerns about Internet marketing, Communications of the ACM, volume 41, number 3, pp. 63�70
  11. Privacy of the digital age (2016) by Gursimran Singh
  12. Electronic Frontier: The privacy hoax by Brock N. Meeks
  13. Crowds: anonymity for Web transactions by Michael K. Reiter and Aveil D. Rubin
  14. Evolution of Right to privacy in India, legalservicesindia, Shubham,
  15. Black Law Dictionary
  19. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
  20. The International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, 1966
  21. The European Convention on Human Rights, 1953
  22. Information Technology Act, 2000
  23. (Bare Act) Constitution of India Act, 1950
  24. (Bare Act) Indian Penal Code, 1860
  25. SCC OnLine
  1. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and another V. Union of India (2018) SCC Online SC 1642
  2. What is Privacy?, Black Law Dictionary,
  3. Evolution of Right to privacy in India, legalservicesindia, Shubham,
  4. Kharak Singh V. State of U.P 1964 SCC (1) 332
  5. Govind V. State of Madhya Pradesh 1975 SCC (2) 148
  6. Smt. Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India and Anr. 1978 SCC (2) 248
  7. Naz Foundation V. Government of NCT of Delhi WP(C) No.7455/2001
  8. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and another V. Union of India(2018) SCC Online SC 1642
  9. People's Union for Civil Liberties V. Union of India (1997) 1 SCC 301
  10. Dekleva (a), 2000
  11. Dekleva (c), 2000
  12. Dekleva (g), 2000
  14. Section 43 of IT Act, 2000
  15. Govind V. State of Madhya Pradesh 1975 SCC (2) 148

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