Our legislative arsenal is being expanded in line with technological developments. Criminal law is no exception: it is adapting to the new forms of criminality that are developing particularly on social networks. Members of parliament (from the French-speaking Socialist Party) have proposed that 'doxing', a contraction of 'document tracing', which aims to publicly reveal personal information (address, name, telephone number, bank card number, etc.) with the aim of causing harm, should be criminalised (see here). Common in schools, doxing is generally used as a form of cyber-harassment that allows individuals to be digitally pilloried.
For the authors of the proposition, the GDPR is of no use in the case of doxing, as it applies to “the aggregated management of personal data” and not to “private information that is not intended to be stored in a file”.
If the Belgian legislator votes the new offence, Belgium will join France, which adopted a provision against doxing following the tragic murder of teacher Samuel Paty in 2020 (article 223-1-1 of the French Criminal Code).
This article was co-authored by Edouard Cruysmans in his capacity of Professional Support Lawyer at Stibbe.