The Netherlands is to make ‘doxing’ – sharing personal details such as addresses and telephone numbers on the internet without permission – a criminal offence, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus has told MPs in a briefing.
The minister has drawn up draft legislation which will impose a maximum sentence of a year in prison on people who provide or disseminate information that identifies a person with the aim of frightening and intimidating them.
The internet and social media have exacerbated the problem, Grapperhaus said.
‘The ease with which some feel they can intimidate someone by spreading their private details is more than evil,’ he said. ‘A line is crossed when people are no longer free to live their lives, when police officers are prevented from doing their job and scientists no longer dare speak out.(..) This has got to be made clear in law.’
Doxing has been difficult to tackle because it constitutes no direct threat of a crime or a persistent breach of a person’s privacy.
The new law will change that, Grapperhaus said, and will also make it easier for people affected to call on providers or platforms to remove their information.
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