By Michael A. Wiseman
And the fight back against #GamerGate has begun…
Last week, former online doxing target Zoe Quinn and fellow video game producer Alex Lifschitz went public with their new “online harassment task force,” the apt-named Crash Override. Their goal is to provide “resources, outreach, and support to combat mob hatred and harassment.” Basically, they want to keep internet trolls from harassing you.
It’s an interesting business idea and not without altruistic merit; since both Quinn and Lifschitz are former cyber-attack victims, they’re in a prime position to help, and they understand the victim position better than most. Plus, their focus isn’t on retaliation – it’s on supporting victims, crafting better policy, and involving law enforcement in a productive way. A common-sense approach to troll extermination.
And it’s something that needs to happen. If you’ve never heard of doxing, it involves a group of internet denizens actively working together to find out an individual’s personal information: their phone number, home address, place of employment, anything to make them feel vulnerable. Then, that information is then used to harass said victim nonstop. If that’s not scary enough, there’s this prank known as “swatting,” where an anonymous person puts in a call to local law enforcement under the guise that something dangerous is happening at a victim’s household. For example: the troll pretends to be a wife under duress whose husband has a gun. Police then show up in full force expecting an armed assailant, and instead, find a swatting victim with no knowledge of the situation. It’s dangerous, scary, and an abuse of basic human rights.
So the idea that somebody might actively be fighting back is encouraging. It’s an obvious evolution of the previous #GamerGate drama sure, but more importantly, it’s a strike back against the aggressive jackasses who use internet anonymity for pure evil. These online mobs are no better than faux news channels or authoritarian regimes who use fear and intimidation for ultimate control, so it’s empowering to see Quinn, Lifschitz, and their anonymous supporters use these same tools for good.
But will it work? Who knows. It’s already proven successful for Bad Ass Digest’s game editor Andrew Todd, who wrote about his positive experience with Crash in a column published this past weekend. He outlined how the site had already been accused of being a “scam” and “false-flag operation” (huh?), but surmised, “(Crash Override Network) turned a spiral of paranoia into a path back to clarity.”
Individual success stories aren’t the only thing that matters, though. What’s important is that the internet is fighting back – that average citizens are harnessing Al Gore’s series of tubes to make the world just a little better; that, in place of an honest-to-goodness internet police force, people are levering widely-available resources for less selfish gain and more humanitarian gain.
And they’re proving that, while the system doesn’t always work, when it does, it’s a spectacular thing indeed.
You can see CCD’s previous coverage of #gamergate HERE.
You can visit Crash Override HERE.