Doxing or doxxing is collecting someone’s personal information and releasing it online without their knowledge or consent, such as their name, address, phone numbers, and financial information. It can be very harmful to the targeted person, and it can also lead to legal issues.
In this article, I’ll provide an answer to the question, “Is doxxing illegal in Australia?”. In addition, I’ll talk about how doxing works and some prevention tips so it doesn’t happen to you.
Doxing (dropping documents, dropping docs (dox, doxing)) is the act of finding and publishing private or identifying information about someone without their consent. It’s usually done to harass, intimidate, or embarrass the victim.
Doxing attacks can be grouped into these categories:
It’s good to know that in 2020 25% of all online scams in Australia included the loss of personal information, which is a 6 per cent increase compared to 2019. And, according to some statistics, that number will only rise in the future.
There have been some high-profile doxing cases in recent years. Here are two examples:
There are several ways that doxers can collect information about their victims:
The most common way doxers collect information is by stalking someone on social media platforms. They might look through old posts and comments to find information or search for photos containing GPS data to figure out where the victim lives or where it goes.
Doxers use online public records to find property records, court documents, birth certificates, marriage licenses or other licences.
A WHOIS lookup is a way to find out who owns a domain name. In addition, doxers can use this tool to find the victim’s other personal information.
This service is used for finding who owns a particular phone number. Sometimes, doxers can find more information, such as an address.
Hackers have ways to find out your IP address and then your other personal data.
Phishing is a way to trick someone into giving up their personal information. Doxxers will create fake websites or send emails that look like they’re from a legitimate source. Also, they send text messages or make phone calls pretending to be from a bank or government agency.
Once doxers have gathered enough information, they’ll publish it online on a website or forum, or they can even send it directly to the victim’s family or employer.
If you think you might be a victim of doxing, there are some things you can do:
The best way to prevent doxing from happening to you is to be careful about the information you share online.
Aside from being careful, here are some tips you can benefit from:
It isn’t currently illegal in Australia if a doxer finds the information lawfully, but there are laws for prosecuting someone for harassment, stalking or threats.
Namely, Section 474.17 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code counts harassing, offending, and threatening as an offence if a carriage service (the internet) was being used.
In addition, under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act of 1998, publishing personal details is considered a transgression.
At the beginning of the article, I provided some examples where the action was taken against doxers, but there were more unverified cases.
Doxing is a growing problem in the world. While there are no specific laws against doxing, it can be considered a form of stalking, harassment, or cyberbullying and is punishable by law. Therefore, if you are a victim of doxing, it is essential in some cases to report it to the police and take measures to protect your personal information.
Doxxing generally means releasing personally identifiable information (PII), such as someone’s full name, home address, email address, or phone number, without their consent. In some cases, doxing may also include sensitive financial or medical information or information that could be used to blackmail someone.
Is doxxing illegal in Australia? While there is no specific law against doxing in Australia, it can be considered a form of stalking, harassment, or cyberbullying, which are punishable.