Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, points at the Alabama Senate gallery on March 7, 2023. Legislators gathered Tuesday for the first day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2023 regular session. (Brian Lyman/Alabama Reflector)
A bill that would outlaw doxing passed the Senate on Thursday.
HB 287, sponsored by Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, makes it illegal for someone to intentionally post personal identifying information online to harass or harm another person.
If the person whose information is shared is a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or public servant, then the intent also includes keeping them from doing their official duty. The individuals whose information is shared needs to be “actually” harassed, harmed or impeded.
“So, this bill creates the crime of doxing, it’s defined in two ways,” said Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who spoke for the bill on the floor.
The bill passed 30-0.
A first violation would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Further violations are Class C felonies, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Personal identifying information is defined by the bill as including, but not being limited to, a home address, “photographs or information of the victim’s children, including the schools they attend” and “any other information that would enable the victim to be harassed, threatened, or harmed.”
The amendment replaces language around public officials’ contact information. Contact information of public officials to encourage citizens to lobby officials is allowed, the information allowed to be shared is “an official address, email, or phone number used by the public official for his or her public service.”
The bill makes an exception for political speech.
According to Alabama Daily News, Stringer had a similar bill in 2021.
The bill returns to the House of Representatives with amendments.
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