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Understanding doxing and when it becomes illegal

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Currently, doxing in Texas is not illegal in most circumstances or at the federal level. However, making personal information public could be illegal in certain cases. This type of cybercrime is not as cut and dry as other forms such as hacking.

Dot Esports states that doxing is common in online gaming platforms as a form of revenge or punishment for another player. By revealing the player’s name and other identification information, a player can payback someone for threatening their place in these communities. The person committing the doxing can find most of this personal information online.

Spreading publicly available information online crosses into illegal territory when that information intimidates or harasses another. Those that are victims of doxing can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator including the entire gaming community. The threats tend to be high in these highly competitive online communities.

The State of Texas Guide to Doxxing & SWATing states the gathering of personal information is usually for malicious purposes. The legality of doxing varies depending on the local jurisdiction. A doxxer usually has expertise in information gathering that they then use for their gain.

Beyond the gaming community platforms listed above, doxxers can target government entities. The guide provides ways for those not interested in having their information used to limit or remove that information from a variety of websites including social media.

With the grey area currently in the law, it is hard to determine whether or not a person accused of doxing another will face criminal charges. New cases could change the legality of doxing altogether moving it from marginally illegal to completely illegal across the nation.