Lauren Kilgore Talks Doxxing with TIME Magazine

Lauren Kilgore, a partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, spoke to TIME Magazine about the legal responsibility celebrities face when their fans dox critics.

Fan bases increasingly turn to doxxing – the online disclosure of an individual’s private information without consent – to combat criticism. The practice has led to relentless harassment and abuse online, especially toward journalists, critics, or anyone perceived as being unsupportive to a celebrity.

Ms. Kilgore, who frequently handles online media issues and crisis management for individuals and entertainment companies, said the path to justice for doxxing victims is not clear.

“Did (the celebrity) incite or expressly direct or encourage the doxxing? Did they collaborate with or direct the perpetrators?” Ms. Kilgore told TIME. If they did, it would determine whether they might face criminal charges or civil actions, underscoring the importance of intent and consequence in such legal evaluations.

“The legislative landscape is nuanced and uncertain, especially with ongoing discussions in Congress about crafting anti-doxxing legislation that must delicately balance free speech rights against privacy protections,” she said. “This becomes particularly relevant when the information shared is already publicly accessible, albeit repurposed to cause harm.”

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