Anyone who shares private information to intimidate another person must be able to prosecute for this. Outgoing minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice and Security, CDA) has Thursday a bill for consultation submitted to make this possible. Grapperhaus wants from now on a maximum of one year in prison for providing, disseminating or otherwise making available identifying personal data with the aim of intimidating.
Doxing, the distribution of personal data to frighten someone, has taken off, partly due to the rise of the internet and social media, according to the minister. Unlike other forms of harassment, such as threats and stalking, there is currently no criminal offense to share private information with malicious intent. For example, a man who puts his ex-partner’s phone number online without her permission to intimidate her can still get away with it with impunity. Grapperhaus wants to change that with a new law.
“The great ease with which some people think they can intimidate by spreading private information about others is beyond rude,” said the minister, who says that doxing is also increasingly affecting politicians, aid workers, opinion makers, journalists and scientists. “It’s about the limit of the permissible when people are hindered in their lives, our agents are hindered in their work and scientists can no longer speak freely.” According to Grapperhaus, the online sharing of private data sometimes means that entire families no longer feel safe at home and people no longer dare to go outside without prejudice.