NYC Doxing Lawyer

NYC Doxing Lawyer

What is “doxing,” and why is it a crime?

As hackers and their online schemes become more sophisticated, their tactics evolve. One of them is called doxing and can lead to a range of consequences.

“Doxing” definition

Doxing, a slang term short for “dropping documents,” is the practice of posting someone’s personal information online, sometimes in a public forum, without the person’s consent, often with the intent to make the person a target in the real world, offline.

Most people use online platforms with the expectation of privacy, or even full anonymity, and doxing someone takes that assumed protection away. Many have found their home addresses, phone numbers, places of employment, hacked emails, and even their family members’ addresses and more posted online for entire forums or websites of users to see.

The goal of those who dox an individual could be intimidation, humiliation, revenge (by attempting to cause loss of employment or even a breakup of a relationship). Most of the time, the intent is to make the person a target of alleged harassment offline and online, hence the use of personal addresses and whereabouts.

Different tactics used

Often times, those looking to dox someone can use free and even legal ways of obtaining personal information. That can include government records, easily searchable online, if the alleged doxer knows their target’s full legal name.

If the target is using a pseudonym online, their alleged doxer can search for clues online to locate more information about the person. Often, people may use the same handle or username across different social media platforms, and their posts can reveal snippets of information that can be used against them. Something you posted years ago about your home or location may help form a fuller picture of your life years down the road and can be used to locate you.

Is doxing a crime?

As the internet evolves, the law tries to keep up with how an individual can be charged related to an offense like doxing.

Often, you should assume that you will be arrested if you are found to be linked to a doxing event. It does vary by jurisdiction and circumstance, but the act of searching for someone’s information itself can be illegal from the get-go, depending on which sites and methods are used. Information is obtained illegally if it is received from hacking a website, or buying it from a database of information passed around on the dark web.

One could also reasonably assume that any in-person harassment or assault as a result of doxing an individual could lead to any number of charges, like assault, stalking or battery, depending on the circumstances.

A New York man was sentenced to 24 months behind bars on three federal charges related to the doxing and “swatting” of dozens of targets. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a range of federal offenses (including identity theft and social security number misuse) and other charges such as one count of threatening and conveying false information and one count of cyber-stalking.