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Proposed Bill In The U.S. Congress Will Make Doxing A Federal Crime

In case you’re unfamiliar with doxing, it is term that describes using the internet to search for and obtain the personal information of others, and to post it publicly on the internet with the intent to threaten, intimidate, harass or incite the commission of a crime of violence against a person or a member of the immediate family of that person.

Some states consider doxing to fall under stalking laws and include an intent to cause the person doxed extreme emotional distress.  In fact, in some prosecuted cases of cyberstalking, the victim’s personal information can be the personal knowledge of the perpetrator who posts it publicly on the internet for a malicious purpose.

The personal information that is publicly posted does not have to be accurate.  In fact, it can be for someone totally different, which can then lead to civil lawsuits for defamation and identity theft. Doxing has become a serious problem in the United States.

There is a current federal statute for protecting individuals performing certain official duties from having their personal information and that of their families made publicly available.  The statute is 18 U.S.C. § 119.  It makes it a federal crime to make publicly available the Social Security number, home address, home phone number, mobile phone number, personal email, or home fax number of, and identifiable to, restricted personnel.

The federal statute defines restricted personnel as a grand or petit juror, witness, officer in or of any court of the United States, or an officer who may be, or was, serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate; an informant or witness in a Federal criminal investigation or prosecution; or a State or local officer or employee whose restricted personal information is made publicly available because of the participation in, or assistance provided to, a Federal criminal investigation by that officer or employee.  Family members are also protected under the statute.

I’ve often wondered why our federal government does not seem to believe that all citizens want the same protection and the right to be let alone.  Maybe that will change soon. Read the rest of this entry

Congress Passed a Bill Addressing Police Killings While No One Was Looking

Let Our Voices Echo


After watching nationwide protests unfold against police brutality, members of Congress did what they have seemed incapable of doing for years: something.

A bill passed by both chambers of Congress and headed to President Barack Obama’s desk will requirelocal law enforcement agencies to report every police shooting and other death at their hands. That data will include each victim’s age, gender and race as well as details about what happened.

“You can’t begin to improve the situation unless you know what the situation is,” bill sponsor Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) told the Washington Post. “We will now have the data.”

It’s not the first time Congress has tried: The same law was actually passed back in 2000, but was allowed to lapse in 2006 and was never reauthorized (despite repeated attempts by Scott). Because it takes years for enough local departments to start submitting all that data, the original law…

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Florida Tweaks Stand Your Ground Law

On October 8, 2013, by a 7-2 vote, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed changes to Florida’s stand your ground law.  It has two more committee stops before it can be considered by the full Senate.

We Can Dream 2Republican Senator David Simmons’ and Democratic Senator Chris Smith’s bills were combined, although the two still have differences over how much protection to provide for people who use deadly force.   They said those differences would be worked out later.  Senator

Smith voted against the 2005 bill that created the law, and said that he still believes people should be required to retreat first, if possible, before using force against an attacker.  Senator Smith stated that he worked with Simmons on areas where they can agree. Both senators attended hearings around the state to discuss the law. Senator Smith wants a broader definition of “aggressors” and for the state to track the use of the law statewide to get better data than the anecdotal cases collected so far. Read the rest of this entry

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