3 Types of Doxing and What to do if You Are a Victim

by Sep 11, 2020News0 comments

Technology is continually giving us new ways to connect, learn and share with one another, and life wouldn’t be the same for most of us without the convenience it provides. But it also exposes us to certain crimes, and it’s important to understand these risks so you know what you can do if you become a victim. Here, we’ll cover the act of “doxing”, including what constitutes an offence and how it can be punished under the law in Singapore.

What is Doxing?

Doxing, or doxxing, is the act of publishing personal information of a person or someone related to that person to harass, threaten or incite violence against them. The information could be their:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • National registration identity card number
  • Family background
  • Place of employment or education
  • Passport number
  • Signature
  • Password
  • Photos or videos of the person
  • Anything else that may be used to identify the person or someone related to them

The term doxing comes from dox, which is short for documents. The act is usually carried out online through social media and public forums, however, it can also be perpetrated in other ways such as with graffiti, letterbox drops and public demonstrations.

As of 1 January 2020, doxing is officially classified as an offence in Singapore under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).

Types of Doxing offences in Singapore

man holding phone doxing

There are three types of doxing that are considered offences under Singaporean law:

  1. Publishing personal information to cause alarm, distress, or harassment 

Example: Sharing a person’s mobile phone number in a social media post with insulting remarks intended to harass them.

Penalties: Fine of up to $5000 and/or jail for up to 6 months.

  1. Publishing personal information to cause fear of violence

Example: Sharing an individual’s place of work on social media with a threatening message that causes them to fear violence.

Penalties: Fine of up to $5000 and/or jail for up to 12 months.

  1. Publishing personal information to incite violence

Example: Sharing an individual’s home address on an online forum and encouraging others to harm them.

Penalties: Fine of up to $5000 and/or jail for up to 12 months.

These three types of doxing are closely related, but there are some important differences. You may notice the second definition is similar to the third, except it ensures that even if the published information does not actually incite or facilitate violence – as per the third definition – it may still be an offence if the victim fears violence.

Another crucial point to note is that intent only needs to be proven under the first type of doxing listed above. This means that under the second and third definitions, the act may be an offence if it was likely or foreseeable that the victim would fear or be subject to violence – even if the person who published the information didn’t intend such an outcome.

What to do if you are a victim

Being doxed can be highly distressing, particularly when you fear or are the victim of violence. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to take legal action against the perpetrator. In any case, the first and most important thing to do is take screenshots of the published information and any other evidence as soon as possible in case it is hidden or removed. This may include text messages between you and the offender or any relevant comments they have made online.

The next step is to speak with a criminal lawyer in Singapore who, if you have a strong case, will help you file a lawsuit against the person who doxed you and apply for a protection order if necessary. This order needs to be submitted to the state courts, and the police may need to become involved in more serious incidents.

Have you been doxed or been accused of doxing? The experienced criminal litigation and dispute resolution lawyers at Tembusu Law in Singapore can help – contact us now.