A basic guide on what you need to know about Doxxing
A relatively new and strange-sounding term has made its rounds recently across the world, and especially in Singapore. Doxxing – or doxing, is the act of researching, and then broadcasting the private information – including photos, addresses and/or contact details about an individual or organisation with the intention of harassing or shaming the subject online.
The methods usually employed in this process include searching for information through available public sources, as well as relying on social media sites such as Facebook, or in some extreme cases, through hacking.
Under recently proposed changes to the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), doxxing has now been classified as a chargeable offence – with punishments that include a S$5,000 fine and up to 12 months in prison.
Doxxing in Singapore
Singapore is no stranger to doxxing as being a tech-savvy and highly-connected society, there have been a few instances where individuals found themselves on the wrong end of the public approval spectrum – mainly due to an act they have committed which may or may not have broken the law, but may have been bad enough to upset enough people to resort to online vigilantism as a way to serve justice to the perpetrator.
Recent examples in Singapore include a case where a lorry driver and a cyclist were involved in an incident in Pasir Ris which was recorded on camera from a different vehicle facing the action. The video was subsequently shared online.
In the video, the cyclist punches the lorry’s side mirror, which eventually leads to the lorry swerving towards the cyclist, thus knocking him down to the ground.
Moments after the video’s release, huge debates sprung all over Facebook arguing over who was in the wrong, and the general consensus was that the cyclist was at fault because he was hogging the middle of the lane and also punched the lorry’s mirror first.
With that, the doxxing – colloquially referred to as the act of “CSI-ing” started. The cyclist’s personal information started making its rounds online and the harassment flowed into his professional life as well, with screenshots of, and links to his LinkedIn profile being widely circulated online.
Both participants in that video have since been charged in Court.
Another notable recent instance of doxxing in Singapore includes the incident where an elderly security guard had to deal with a bully – who eventually punched him.
When the video of the incident recorded by the security guard’s colleague was uploaded online, it triggered a furore that also eventually led to the doxxing – and subsequently the identification, naming and shaming of the bully online.
The bully has since been charged in court for his actions.
Why the amendments to the law?
The new law on doxxing is meant to enhance protection for victims of harassment and falsehoods, and to make it easier for them to obtain remedies.
The amendments also ban the publication of personal information with the intention to harass a victim, or cause violence.
Under Singapore’s existing laws, intentional harassment is banned if it assumes the form of threatening, abusive or insulting words, behaviour or communication.
The new law will now make posting someone’s personal information online with the intention to harass or cause violence a form of deliberate harassment, even if threatening words were not used.
What is the penalty for doxxing?
If charged with doxxing, one could face a fine of up to S$5,000 or a jail term of up to six months if the intention was to cause harassment.
The jail term can go up to 12 months if there was an intention to cause fear or provoke violence.
For more information, feel free to contact us to speak to our team of lawyers led by Amarjit Singh Sidhu.
Amarjit has vast experience in Singapore’s laws and has defended numerous clients, including some highly-publicised criminal cases. He has guided clients over the years with his deep knowledge, as well as his compassionate approach, and supported by a strong team of lawyers.