“Doxxing” Now Punishable Under Revised Harassment Act

Every time someone does something seemingly unreasonable and gets caught on video, the Internet is quick to do some ‘CSI’.

Digital vigilantes try matching the face to a profile and digging up information. When they find a lead, they release it online to shame the alleged culprit. This is called “doxxing”.

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A revision to the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA) on Monday (1 Apr), however, means that doxxing may now get the supposed ‘vigilante’ fined or even jailed.

Protection from Harassment Act

The PHA was enacted in 2014 to protect the public from harassment, stalking, cyber-bullying and other kinds of social malice.

But given the increasing trend of online ‘vigilantism’, it’s not surprising that doxxing has assimilated into the act.

Doxxing includes the publishing of:

  • Names
  • Contact details
  • Photographs
  • Family relations
  • Workplace and employment details
  • Education details

Essentially, putting up information which will likely cause distress to another person may land you either a fine of $5,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months.

The PHA applies only to individuals, which means that a company or a social group cannot collectively make appeals under this act.

Don’t be a blind hero

It’s natural to feel compelled to condemn a person for a nasty or downright unreasonable act.

But sometimes, we get the wrong person. And even if we do get the right person, he or she will end up suffering tremendous distress.

So let’s practise a little restraint and let the law deal with those unreasonable people. If they were captured on video, the authorities should have as good a chance of finding out their identities as we do.

Featured image from Facebook and Facebook