One Utah lawmaker wants to take action against those who dig up personal information about someone and post it online to intimidate them.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, has filed an anti-doxing bill which makes it a second-degree felony if someone posts personal information online, and that information is used to harass someone. Doxing is short for "document tracing."
"There should be some consequences for posting this digital content online," says Stephenson.
Right now there are federal laws in place that specifically address doxing federal employees. When it's done to a private individual, it usually falls under cyberstalking, harassment or other laws. Stephenson wants to single out the practice in SB227.
The bill lays out a list of "identifying information" that, if published online, would fall under this statute. It includes:
- Social security number
- Telephone number
- Bank account number
If the information is already available through legal means, like government records, then posting it online would not fall under this statute.
"You should be protected," says Stephenson. "We need to close the barn door here. The government can't seize this information without due process. Someone in public should not get away with doing this without some sort of penalty."