Lately we've seen a whole lot of "doxxing," or outing people publicly, for everything from sexual harassment to being a white supremacist.
But when we start to hear about cases like Tony Hovater, who was featured in a New York Times story as "the Nazi sympathizer next door" and then lost his job and had to move out of his house, it begs the question: Is doxxing ethical?
The answer depends on whether the doxxee, like Hovater, willingly revealed his or her identity. It also depends on whether the doxxing is done competently and with a positive moral purpose.
In August, anti-fascist doxxers outed certain white nationalists who participated in the protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. One white nationalist lost his job as a result of the exposure. White nationalists, in turn, doxxed a number of anti-fascist protestors and threatened them and their families.
Was such doxxing ethical? That depends in part on motive, which matters greatly in ethics.