- Anthony Albanese moves to criminalize doxxing
Social media platforms used to spread people’s personal information without consent could soon be fined or de-nominated under sweeping new anti-doxxing laws.
Anthony Albanese’s government is accelerating its efforts to criminalize so-called “doxxing” following an incident involving the Jewish community.
Pro-Palestinian activists posted online the names, photographs and social media accounts of hundreds of public figures of Jewish descent who were members of a private WhatsApp group, and prominent social media personality Clementine Ford posted a link to the list.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government is seeking to ban doxxing – the online exposure of an individual’s private information without consent.
One business owner, who requested anonymity, reported receiving dozens of abusive messages despite having been part of the group for only three days.
In response, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus is exploring laws that would address doxxing and strengthen protections against hate speech.
The government’s online safety watchdog defines doxing broadly as “the intentional online exposure of an individual’s identity, private information or personal details without their consent.”
When asked for his definition, Dreyfus said it was “the malicious disclosure, publicly, of people’s personal information without their consent.”
Social media personality Clementine Ford posted a link to the WhatsApp group member list
“The recent targeting of members of the Australian Jewish community through practices such as doxing was shocking but, sadly, this is far from an isolated incident,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
‘We live in a vibrant, multicultural community that we must strive to protect.
“No Australian should be attacked because of their race or religion.”
The potential changes would use the eSafety Commissioner’s powers to send takedown notices to social media sites and impose penalties, along with other measures.
When asked by a journalist whether publishing the group chats initially in a newspaper would be considered doxing, Dreyfus did not give a clear answer.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has been quietly pushing for big changes to privacy laws in Australia
“We see that with the massive changes in digital technology that are occurring throughout our society, the opportunities for invasion of privacy, the opportunities for people’s information to be used without consent, the opportunities for actions to be taken really malicious, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. , very, very, quickly it has been possible.
‘Legislation has struggled to keep up. That is part of the reason behind this reform of the Privacy Law that we have undertaken. And clearly it is necessary to analyze all those things.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday that the doxxing that took place was completely unacceptable.
“This is not the Australia we want to see,” he said.
‘There are 600 people from the creative industries, people like the singer Deborah Conway, people from the artistic and creative sector, who had a WhatsApp group.
‘It’s not a WhatsApp group that was very political, but a WhatsApp group to provide mutual support because of the rise in antisemitism we’ve seen.
“And what we’ve seen is that they are being attacked.”
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has welcomed the government’s plan to make doxxing a crime.
“We look forward to working with the government to ensure the full extent of the harm caused is understood and that the new laws effectively protect Australians from this shameful and dangerous practice,” council president Daniel Aghion said.