Illinois may allow doxing victims to sue harassers thanks to new bill

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois doxing victims may soon be able to sue the people harassing them online.

A proposal to allow victims of doxing the right to a civil private right of action for damages to help deter bad actors on the Internet is making its way through the Illinois legislature. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday, and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Doxing, defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, is to publicly identify or publish private information about someone especially as a form of punishment or revenge. Examples of information shared for doxing can include home addresses, phone numbers or place of employment.

Legislators say the state’s laws have lagged behind online technology.

“It is absolutely critical for our laws to evolve with the changing nature of the cyber world,” Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said. “This legislation provides a necessary solution to the dangerous practice of doxing, by both helping victims and deterring future bad actors.”

Advocates hope the threat of lawsuits discourage people from doxing.

“This is an encouraging next step forward in our efforts to give doxing victims a voice and hold people accountable for online hate and harassment,” Anti-Defamation League Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg said. 

The bill has received unanimous support in both chambers.