Despite the popularity of social media – where people are free to share as much of their daily lives with as many people as possible – data privacy remains an important human right. Nobody wants to reveal details about their names, home addresses, birthdays, Social Security Numbers and bank accounts to total strangers because such information can be abused.
Which is why threatening to leak the personal information of someone online is terrifying. Maybe you’re leaking the home address of someone you despise or revealing the payment card details of another out of revenge. Regardless of why you’re leaking another’s information, it won’t take long for identity thieves and other malicious persons to abuse the data to commit fraud crimes.
Doxing is the act of maliciously disclosing someone’s identifying information publicly online. It’s illegal in Alabama, and if you’re convicted of breaking the law, expect severe punishments.
What counts as doxing?
The term “doxing” is shorthand for “dropping docs,” which is when hackers would publicly reveal information about their rivals. But over time, doxing began to refer to any malicious reveal of identifying information, intending others to abuse the data to harass or harm the doxed person.
Doxing isn’t limited to information drops on the dark web. Even sharing identification details on social media and other online digital platforms counts as doxing.
Any deliberate leak of sensitive personal information may count as a doxing attempt, especially disclosures of the following data:
- Home addresses
- Bank and card information
- Personal phone numbers
- Personal photos
- Criminal history
Revealing embarrassing life details about a person online also counts as doxing.
Penalties for doxing
According to Alabama law, a violation of the state’s doxing rules is a Class A misdemeanor. On conviction, a person faces up to a year in prison and as much as $6,000 in fines.
But for anyone charged for a second or subsequent time, the offense becomes a Class C felony. The convicted face up to 10 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Doxing is a crime in Alabama, and the punishments are harsh even for a first conviction. No matter your reasons for publishing someone’s data on the web, expect to face criminal charges and potential prison time if caught.