‘Doxxing’ Versus Free Speech – Intercessors for America

Illinois passed a law to prevent doxxing, but some worry that this may hurt free speech. Intercessor, what do you think?

From The Epoch Times. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a new doxxing bill earlier this month that critics argue is “overly broad” and could impact speech protected under the First Amendment. …

Let the IFA community know how to pray for you.

Doxxing is the act of publishing online private or identifying information about an individual, such as their address or phone number, typically with malicious intent.

Under the newly signed legislation, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, doxxing is defined as intentionally publishing another individual’s personal information without their consent “with the intent that it is used to harm or harass the person whose information is published or reckless disregard that the person whose information is published would be reasonably likely to suffer death, bodily injury, or stalking,”

The law states that doxxing would also have occurred if the publishing of the information causes the victim to “suffer significant economic injury or emotional distress or to fear serious bodily injury or death of the (victim) or a family or household member,” or cause the victim “to suffer a substantial life disruption.” …

The bill includes exceptions, such as if an individual provides another person’s identifiable or sensitive information to report criminal activity to law enforcement officials or intelligence agencies, and if they are providing such information in connection with “activity protected under the United States Constitution or the Illinois Constitution pertaining to speech, press, assembly, protest, and petition, as well as the provision of personally identifiable information to the press.” …

[Critics], including the ACLU of Illinois, a nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization, have argued the bill is “overly broad” and could essentially deprive individuals of their constitutional right to free speech.

ACLU advocacy strategist Angela Inzano, who testified against the bill in Springfield, told local media that critics are concerned with the law’s definition of “publish” which she said remains too broad.

‘Chilling Effect’ on Free Speech

The bill describes the term “publish” as “circulate, deliver, distribute, disseminate, post, transmit, or otherwise make available to another person.” …

Ms. Inzano said the bill only excludes one-on-one texts or emails and does not cover private communications between three people or more.

She also pointed to what the law deems “personally identifiable information.”

“The way the law is drafted right now, a person’s name and then where they work, in combination, would be considered personally identifiable information,” Inzano said in an interview cited by the Chicago Tribune. “And so, to us, a lot of folks are sharing information like that on social media and we’re just concerned about a chilling effect on that speech.” …

What do you think of Illinois’ doxxing law? Share your thoughts and prayers in the comments.

(Excerpt from The Epoch Times. Photo Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash)

Previous ArticleNext Article