Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Doxxing Could Soon Be A Federal Crime

Jul 2, 2017
In The News

Doxxing is one of the many online harassment tactics that is considered illegal under state criminal laws but has indirect coverage. Doxxing refers to the deliberate search and publishing of identifying information about a particular individual on the internet with malicious intent. A federal law criminalizing the practice would be more effective, and it appears that one might be on the way.

Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) have sponsored a bill to criminalize online harassment tactics like doxxing, swatting, sextortion, and revenge porn at the federal level.

“The fact of the matter is, the laws governing sextortion, doxxing, and swatting were written when computers didn’t fit in our pockets, phones were plugged into walls, and texting required a stamp,” said Congresswoman Brooks.

The proposed legislation, titled Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017, has been positioned as a roadmap for Congress to “address online safety and combat the rise in online crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls.” The bill particularly mentions sextortion, doxxing, swatting, and revenge porn.

Revenge porn in particular has already been criminalized by several states across the country. It will also provide training and resources for state and federal law enforcement to deal with these issues.

It’s unclear at this point in time if all major tech companies will come out in support of the bill but at least we know that Facebook has thrown its weight behind the bill.