Tulsa Attorney BlogHB 1643: There Is a New Anti-Doxxing Misdemeanor Crime in Oklahoma

All New Laws Go Into Effect on November 1st of Each Year

Video Transcribed: There’s a new Anti-Doxing law in Oklahoma, but it only applies to public officials and police officers. My name is James Wirth I am a lawyer in Tulsa, and that’s the topic before us. It’s a new crime. It is an Oklahoma statute now.

It’s that time of year, all the new laws unless it’s an emergency, go into effect on November 1st of each year. So, we’re going through a lot of those new offenses, a lot of those new laws and crimes, and one of them is this new Anti-Doxing bill that becomes law on November 1st, 2021.

It’s a House Bill 1643. It makes a new crime for… Essentially what it says is whoever with intent to threaten, intimidate, or harass, or facilitate another. So, it isn’t just you that commits it. If you get someone else to commit it, it could also fall under the statute.

Facilitate another to threaten intimidate, harass, uses an electronic communication device to knowingly publish, post, or otherwise make publicly available, and here’s the key phrase, personally identifiable information of a peace officer, or public official that, as a result, puts that person in reasonable fear of death, or serious bodily injury.

And if you do that, under this crime, it is a misdemeanor with a maximum of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, or it goes up to a year and a $2,000 fine for a second offense.

attorney in OklahomaSo, this is a Doxing situation where, perhaps, if there’s a shooting, where there’s a police shooting of somebody, and there’s a lot of controversy surrounding that, the media is covering it and people are protesting against it, if you are under those circumstances to specifically release information, using electronic means, posting online on social media, this was the officer who did it, this is their home address with the intent that that person be threatened, harassed, or harmed, then that essentially would be violating this anti-doxing statute.

What’s interesting is that it’s limited in Oklahoma, the anti-doxing statute that just is going into place is limited to the personally identifiable information of a police officer or a public official. And it’s also, interesting in the fact that it does not define what it means by personally identifiable information.

Certainly, if you’re posting, I think information about somebody’s address with the suggestion they go over to that place to harass that person, I think that prosecutors would definitely seem to think it falls within this statute and you may be prosecuted for that.

However, if you’re just releasing that person’s name, that certainly could be considered personally identifiable information, but there are First Amendment issues that come into place at that point. Or maybe you take a video that shows a police incident, and you post that video.

If it shows their face, is that personal identifying information? If it shows their name on their badge, is that personal identifying information? Because it’s information, there are First Amendment issues here that have to be balanced with the constitutionality of this law, and without any definitions in place regarding personal identifying information, we don’t know exactly where those borders are but be aware this is a new offense.

Also, as I mentioned before, be aware that it’s not just if you do it if you cause somebody else to do it. So, perhaps, you do some internet sleuthing, you find out who the person is, and then you give that information to somebody else that then posts it, you could potentially be liable under the statute for that as well. You may, under the right circumstances, have First Amendment protections, but you want to be careful of that.

If you have specific questions regarding this new law or prosecution for something related to it, you may want to talk to an attorney privately, confidentially that to get a real consult. To do that with somebody at my office, you go online to makelaweasy.com.

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