SYDNEY - Australia on Feb 13 promised new laws to prohibit “doxxing” – the malicious publication of private details online – after hundreds of Jewish Australians had personal information spread across the web.
After details from a WhatsApp group of more than 600 Jewish-Australian academics, artists and others appeared online, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said it was time to act.
The information allegedly included names, social media accounts and photos of members, which were then spread quickly by opponents of the war in Gaza and pro-Palestinian activists.
“The recent targeting of members of the Australian Jewish community through those practices like doxxing was shocking, but sadly, this is far from being an isolated incident,” Mr Dreyfus said in a statement.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, a community advocacy group, said that the leak was “done with malice” and resulted in harassment, death threats, vandalism and “extensive psychological harm”.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had asked for legislation to be brought forward as part of a broader reform of privacy laws.
“The idea that in Australia someone should be targeted because of their religion... it’s just completely unacceptable,” he said.
Writer and activist Clementine Ford was among those who spread details of the group’s members online.
In a social media post, she denied that the group members were “doxxed” and said the information was released by a “whistleblower”.
Ms Ford dubbed the WhatsApp group a “zionist group chat” and alleged it had “demonstrated extremely organised moves to punish Palestinian activists and their allies”.
She maintained the group was behind pressure that led to the firing of Australian-Lebanese radio host Antoinette Lattouf by public broadcaster ABC for Gaza-related social media posts.
Ms Lattouf campaigned online for a ceasefire in Gaza and was critical of Australian media’s coverage of the conflict.
Ms Lattouf has taken legal action again...