Now that the Texas Legislature’s session is in full swing, so are ADL’s Texas offices, working to fight online hate through the agency’s Backspace Hate™ initiative. The initiative supports victims and targets of online hate and harassment by raising awareness and working to pass legislation to better hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
In particular, ADL is working with legislators to write and support bills that provide penalties for doxxing and swatting.
Doxxing is the broadcasting of private or identifying information about an individual, group or organization with the intent the information be used against the target for an unlawful purpose. Often this involves releasing the target’s private information, such as a phone number or address and inciting harassment.
Swatting involves falsely reporting an emergency at a target’s home with the goal of having an emergency response unit (usually a SWAT team) deployed to the target’s residence. This has resulted in injuries and even fatalities.
ADL has drafted model legislation to help fill the gaps in laws that fight online hate, with the hope new laws can deter future incidents and hold perpetrators accountable.
Members of ADL’s Civil Rights Committee already are tracking legislation as it is introduced. You can get involved by signing a petition to encourage lawmakers to support victims and targets of online hate and get more information at www.backspacehate.org.