Changes to Protection from Harassment Act partially in force from 1 January 2020: New offence of doxxing introduced
22 January 2020
On 1 January 2020, the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”) was amended to introduce the new offence of doxxing. It is now an offence under the amended POHA to publish identity information of a victim (an individual) with the intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the victim (“doxxing”). Identity information is defined as information that, on its own or with other information, identifies, or purports to identify, the victim. This includes photographs, contact details, address and place of employment. Any publication that is made with the intention to place any victim in fear of violence or facilitate the use of unlawful violence against a victim is also an offence. The amendments provide that, in addition to an individual, an entity shall not make any threatening, abusive or insulting communication with the intent to cause (or potentially cause) harassment, alarm or distress to another person.
By the way of background, the amendments to POHA were passed in Parliament on 7 May 2019. Apart from the introduction of doxxing as a new offence, the other key amendments included enhanced measures to address the spread of online falsehoods affecting private persons (both individuals and entities) and the introduction of a new Protection from Harassment Court. These amendments will be operationalised at a later date. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law are working with the relevant agencies to operationalise the amendments and to establish the Protection from Harassment Court.
The following reference materials are available on the Ministry of Law website www.minlaw.gov.sg and the Singapore Statutes Online website sso.agc.gov.sg:
- Joint Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law press release
- Protection from Harassment Act
- Protection from Harassment (Amendment) Act 2019