Policy Director of Nevada, Heather Korbulic could not make calls from her mobile device. Her contact details were unauthorizedly posted on social media, and the overwhelming number of calls rendered the device unusable.
Korbulic talked about the stress that she experienced as the victim of a cyber-harassment incident to Nevada’s legislators. She was often in tears and occasionally pausing to keep her composure as she narrated the doxing campaign against her. The term ‘doxing’ refers to a coordinated cyber harassment effort where personal details are circulated without the consent of the victim.
Legislators have been progressing AB 296, a proposed law that would let doxing victims pursue civil penalties for the accused. The bill cleared the Nevada State Assembly without opposition in April, and the Senate is now looking at it. The upper house of the Nevada Legislature got its first hearing in late April.
In the case of cyber harassment, walking on applicable circumstances is a thin line, so we must remember that when passing the anti-doxing bill, stated bill sponsor Assemblyperson Rochelle Nguyen.
The testimony of Heather Korbulic was a key element of the bill hearing process in the Nevada Legislature’s latest session. It was the first occasion where she publicly spoke about the incident. She was taken away from her position as the chief of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation in the recent period of meteoric increase in unemployment.
Korbulic told legislators that the harassers targeted her on all social media platforms and all other online mechanisms accessible to them. A few of the harassers wondered whether or not she was supposed to be alive. Korbulic failed to recollect all the threats against her, but she remembered how the abusers made her feel.
She remembered a night where an American law enforcement executive was parked around her residence to protect her. Her kids and husband were not there, whereas those who live nearby were scared and supportive at the same time.
Korbulic said that she contacted her husband through the phone and cried while on call and that she could not live like that. Then, her hubby canceled his trip to come home and set up a residential security system there. Korbulic would not permit her kids to play outdoors without anyone to supervise them.
Nguyen stated that there are steps to ensure that the law is not only crafted properly but also preserving freedom of speech. The originally written bill would have caused doxing to be a criminal offense, though Nguyen removed that language from it.
There is a thin line between preserving freedom of speech offline and online and raising legitimate and serious questions on which parties it does not apply to, plus who it does, said Nguyen.
The lobbyist for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, namely Chuck Callaway, testified against the bill in the state Senate because it removed criminal penalties. Callaway had earlier talked neutrally when the draft law was presented in the state Assembly.
He also took offense to some bill provisions that made the measures not applicable to public officers or law enforcement executives when acting in official capacities.
As for Callaway, there already exist measures that allow whistle-blowers to disclose officials’ unlawful conduct. He also stated that individuals should not dox somebody, thus reporting an unlawful activity.
Senator Dallas Harris raised questions regarding the requirement of the bill. On the other hand, Beth Holtzman of Anti-Defamation League stated that some state laws allowed bringing forward a doxing case, but others have been making it difficult. The laws in the latter states are usually not written with the facts of internet spaces in mind, said Holtzman.
Doxing’s online elements do not reflect in other forms of torts, said Holtzman. Therefore, it is worthwhile to pass statutes for the proper legalese that focuses on doxing as well as can reflect it and offer facts that constitute the reasons for filing a civil lawsuit, said Holtzman.
As of writing this, the Nevada State Senate’s Judiciary Committee had not cleared the bill and scheduled a further vote. It has to pass through the committee on May 14, 2021, the next state legislative deadline.