A draft law to combat sharing personal data, such as names, private addresses and phone numbers online as a means of intimidation has been approved by the senate and will come into effect on January 1 2024.
Doxing, as the practice is called, is often, but not exclusively aimed at people in the public eye, such as politicians. In 2022, angry farmers turned up at the home of nature minister Christianne van der Wal twice, later describing her frightened children as “pussies” while a known conspiracy theorist doorstepped D66 leader Sigrid Kaag brandishing a burning torch,
Scientists, opinion leaders, journalists, police officers, local council workers as well as private citizens have also been targeted.
Many fear for their own and their family’s safety, and are no longer able to do their job, or express an opinion. That, caretaker justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz said, is an “attack on fundamental freedoms and the democratic rule of law”.
“Emergency service workers, police officers and others who are protecting a free society are out of bounds! Spreading private data to frighten someone is unacceptable,” Yeşilgöz said.
The maximum penalty for doxing will be a two-year prison sentence and a fine of up to €22,500.
Victims will also be able to start a civil procedure against a known perpetrator for compensation and removal of the data. The law also states if the perpetrator cannot be identified the platform or provider that knowingly hosts the illegal practice must take action.