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What is doxing, and how can it get you in trouble with the law?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Cybercrimes are serious. If you commit one, you could face charges for hacking into someone’s computer or releasing their personal information online.

One of the common issues is a crime called doxing. Doxing someone is largely against the rules in online spaces because people know that doxing someone could lead to harm. Doxing occurs when someone finds information about a group or individual and then publishes that information online without their permission to do so.

Anyone who is doxed could quickly become a target.

What is doxing, and how does it work?

Doxing, which is sometimes also referred to as doxxing, is a malicious act in which a person or group of people online expose the identity of someone anonymous. They may also dox a person in order to humiliate or harass them.

The problem with doxing is that it is personal and exposes private information. Even though that information may be collected legally in some cases, the reality is that doxing another person could lead to harm.

Common methods used to dox another person include:

  • Cyberstalking their social media accounts
  • Going through government records
  • Tracking their usernames
  • Packet sniffing
  • Tracking IP addresses
  • Running WhoIs searches

While obtaining this information is not necessarily illegal, exposing that information to others with the intention of causing harm to the other party is. If doxing results in personal threats, cyberstalking or other issues, then it can be considered a crime. The penalties may vary based on how serious the case is. For example, releasing just a name and phone number might not be as serious as releasing a person’s home address and work schedule.

What should you do if you’re accused of doxing someone?

If you are accused of participating in doxing, take the allegation seriously. Even if you didn’t release information with the intention of it causing harm, you need to know that it could. If someone has been hurt as a result of actions you participated in, or if you are being falsely accused, then you will want to have a strong defense to protect yourself against a conviction.

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