A stark majority of Singaporeans aged 16 and older are supportive of the criminalisation of doxxing, according to findings from a survey measuring attitudes and behaviours towards the doxxing regulations and online vigilantism.
The survey was conducted by Milieu Insight, an independent market research firm, between 11 May 2019 and 18 May 2019 with 1,000 Singaporean citizens and residents aged 16 and above as respondents of the study. The responses are weighted to represent the online population of Singapore.
The survey was carried out following the introduction of new “doxxing” laws and recent cases of online vigilantism where personal details of the GoJek “hostage” passenger and the perpetrator of the NUS peeping tom incident were revealed.
Doxxing basically involves the publishing of an individual’s personal information with the intention to harass, cause fear or violence to the individual. The personal information could be names, e-mail addresses, contact numbers, videos, photographs, or even background information about the individual’s family, employment, or education.
In essence, the results from the study found that the respondents are overwhelmingly supportive (95%) of criminalising doxxing, with 30% stating it should be criminalised in every situation, and 65% stating it should only be criminalised in certain situations. In contrast, only a handful (5%) of Singaporeans think doxxing should not be criminalised at all.
Notably, among those who feel doxxing should only be criminalised in certain situations, the top scenario for which respondents felt it was justifiable was when the individual being doxxed committed an illegal act. Case in point, with the recent GoJek “kidnapping” incident where no crime was committed, only 22% of respondents felt that the “victim” should have had her information published online. However, with regards to the NUS peeping tom incident, the percentage of individuals who felt doxxing was justified doubles to 44%.
When it comes to the rationale behind criminalising doxxing, Singaporeans are primarily concerned about protection of personal privacy (64%). Other major concerns about doxxing include the unhealthy culture of vigilantism (57%) as well as the risk of the wrong individual(s) being identified (56%).
On the other hand, Singaporeans who are against the criminalisation of doxxing mainly do not believe offenders ought to be afforded the same privacy protection, with 51% stating that doxxing could help to prevent unlawful or desirable acts in the future, and 49% stating that the public has a right to know the perpetrator’s identity.
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Milieu Insight is an independent, Singapore-based online market research company that measures public opinion through a mobile survey app, leveraging high quality data to provide insights for everyone.