To combat doxing acts, the “Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021” has come into effect. The ordinance introduces the two-tier offence

What is "online doxxing"?

“Online doxxing” generally refers to the personal data of the target person or their family members collected from different sources and disclosed on the Internet, social platforms or other public platforms without the consent of the relevant data subject. 

Common doxxing methods include using a “search engine”, “human flesh search”, through “betraying friends”, using hacking tools to steal personal data, etc.

In a typical doxxing case, the personal data to be disclosed include:

In addition to the disclosure of personal information, some victims will receive threatening calls, being bullied on the Internet or have their identities stolen. The personal data of some victims will be used for applying loans, online shopping, or registration of organ donations, causing continuous and serious distress to the victims and even their families.

Legal Consequences

In addition to being immoral, doxxing may also bring serious legal consequences:

Breaching the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance

To combat doxing acts, the “Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021” has come into effect. The ordinance introduces the two-tier offence:

First Tier Offence – Triable summarily

A person who discloses personal data without the data subject’s consent, and the discloser intentionally or recklessly cause the data subject or any of his family members to suffer any specified harm (see below) commits an offence. Upon conviction, the offender is liable to a maximum fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for 2 years.

Second Tier Offence –Triable upon indictment

A person who discloses personal data without the data subject’s consent, intentionally or recklessly causing the data subject or any of his family members to suffer any specified harm (see below), and causes the data subject or any of his family members to suffer any specified harm commits an offence. Upon conviction, the offender is liable to a maximum fine of HK$1,000,000 and imprisonment for 5 years.

Specified harm includes:

If you violate the injunction order, you may be charged with contempt of court

If the court has issued an injunction order prohibiting anyone from disclosing the personal information of the designated person without the consent of the relevant person, or threatening and harassing him or his family members, the offender may be charged with contempt of the court. Once convicted, he can be sentenced to imprisonment.

Or to bear civil liability

Doxxing brings anxiety, distress and heavy pressure to the victim, and the reputation of the victim is often damaged. Victims can file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation from the “doxxing”.

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