In the Civil Liability for Doxing Act, effective January 1, 2024, the Illinois Legislature created a cause of action for doxing victims to receive relief, including damages, injunctions, restraining orders, and attorney fees. The act defines “doxing” as an individual intentionally publishing another person’s personally identifiable information without consent, when the individual publishing is intending to harm or harass the victim and knows of or recklessly disregards that the target is likely to suffer death, bodily injury, or stalking. Additionally, the publishing of the information must cause the target or their family significant economic injury, emotional distress, or fear of substantial bodily injury, or cause the target to suffer a substantial life disruption. Finally, the person whose information is published must be identifiable from the published information itself. Disclosures involving the reporting of a criminal act, a lawfully authorized law enforcement activity, reporting illegal conduct, or an activity protected under the constitutions of the United States or Illinois are protected.
A person who is a victim under the act may sue the party doxing, or any other party who has directed others to violate the statute and benefit financially or by receiving something else of value. Any individual found liable is jointly and severally liable with all other liable individuals. Doxing targets can recover attorney fees, but courts may force the plaintiff to pay when the defendant prevails and the court finds that the claims were frivolous, baseless, or in bad faith. Courts may issue temporary or permanent injunctions, emergency orders, or temporary restraining orders against publishing information when the moving party shows: (1) the individual to be enjoined published personally identifying information, (2) continued publishing poses a present and ongoing risk of death, bodily injury, or stalking, and (3) the individual to be enjoined has no lawful or constitutional purpose for publishing. If an injunction is entered, the trial judge shall, for the appellate record, state: the required findings for the injunction, the expiration date which shall not be more than one year from date of entry, that the individual enjoined may seek relief, and that the moving party may seek an extension for up to one year if the conditions necessitating relief continue. A party may bring a civil action in any county in which a violation occurred, or in which a person who was targeted by personally identifiable information lives. If you have a question about this law contact Michael Haeberle at firstname.lastname@example.org