Netherlands could make doxing a criminal offense
Caretaker Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security submitted a legislative proposal to make doxing - sharing personal data of another to frighten or intimidate them - a punishable offense. According to the Minister, doxing has become far too easy with the rise of the internet and social media and it is high time to make it easier to tackle this type of threat.
"The great ease with which some people think they can intimidate by spreading private information about others is more than outrageous. It crosses the line of the permissible when people are hindered in their lives, our police officers are hindered in their work, and scientists can no longer speak freely," Grapperhaus said. "Entire families often no longer feel safe at home, people no longer dare to step outside and be themselves."
Many intimidating behaviors such as threats and stalking are already punishable by law. But in practice, doxing can often not be prosecuted because there is no expressed threat or a systematic invasion of the privacy of the person concerned. Grapperhaus' bill aims to change that. "This really crosses a line and we need to record that more clearly in the law," he said.
According to the bill, those found guilty of doxing can face up to one year in prison. This is for sharing personal data with the intent to intimidate or cause serious problems for another person, or hinder them in the performance of their duties or profession.
The bill includes an exception for journalists and whistleblowers disclosing data in the public interest, as the intention of this disclosure is not to intimidate others but to disclose news facts and abuses.