Skip to main content
Doxxing Series

Is Doxxing Illegal In Minnesota?

  • Doxxing
  • Is Doxxing Illegal In Minnesota?

If you live in “the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” and care about your online privacy, you should know the answer to the question: Is doxxing illegal in Minnesota? 

In this guide, we’ll review whether sharing someone’s personal information without their permission in Minnesota is considered criminal activity. We’ll also look at other illegal activities in the state that can be involved in a doxxing incident.

Is Doxxing Illegal in Minnesota?

Yes, doxxing is illegal in Minnesota, but only if you’re a law enforcement officer or a family member of a law enforcement officer. 

Under Section 609.5151 of the Minnesota Statutes, making a law enforcement official’s or their family/household member’s personal information publicly available without their consent is a crime. 

Personal information can mean an officer’s home address, photos of their home, or directions to their home. 

For the sharing of information to be deemed criminal, it must pose a serious threat to the official’s (or their family’s) safety – something that the person sharing this information knows or should be reasonably expected to know. 

Section 609.5151 of the Minnesota Statutes - doxxing a law enforcement official

Doxxing a law enforcement officer is classified as a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota, giving the offender up to a year in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine. 

In most other cases, sharing someone’s personal information without their permission in Minnesota is not a crime. 

However, even if Minnesota’s doxxing law doesn’t apply to you, another Minnesota law might. That’s because doxxing can lead to certain activities that are illegal in Minnesota, like obscene or harassing telephone calls, emergency telephone calls, harassment and stalking, and coercion. 

Obscene or harassing telephone calls

If someone has your phone number, they can harass or annoy you over the phone. 

Making obscene, intimidating, or harassing telephone calls in Minnesota is a crime under Section 609.79 of the Minnesota Statutes

Section 609.79 of the Minnesota Statutes - obscene or harassing phone calls

The crime of making obscene or harassing phone calls comes with up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Emergency telephone calls

In Minnesota, it’s a crime to abuse the emergency telephone system. 

As per Section 609.78 of the Minnesota Statutes, it’s illegal to make a false call about a crime while knowing that no crime has occurred. 

This behavior is sometimes called “swatting” and is one of the more dangerous doxxing-associated activities. 

Section 609.78 of the Minnesota Statutes - swatting

Those who make a false claim about a crime face a misdemeanor with up to 90 days imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

If the call is intended to prompt an “emergency response,” the charge goes up to a gross misdemeanor, with up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000. 

Beyond that, if the call results in serious injury or death (as swatting sometimes does), it will be a felony charge with up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. 

Harassment and stalking

Minnesota lumps harassment and stalking together as a single charge (Section 609.749 of the Minnesota Statutes). 

In Minnesota, a person commits harassment or stalking by harassment if they place their victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm or emotional distress. 

Section 609.749 of the Minnesota Statutes - harassment and stalking

Several activities can constitute harassment or stalking in Minnesota, including: 

  • Directly or indirectly intending to injure a person, their property, or rights.
  • Following or monitoring a person, whether in-person or through other means (including technological).
  • Returning to a person’s property without their permission.
  • Repeatedly calling or texting a person.
  • Causing a person’s phone to ring constantly. 
  • Repeatedly sending correspondence or packages to a person. 
  • Making false allegations against a peace officer about the performance of their official duties.
  • Using a person’s personal information without their consent to encourage, invite, or solicit someone else to engage in a sexual act with them.

Harassment/stalking by harassment is typically a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota, equating to up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. 

In some cases, like if the victim is under the age of 18 and the perpetrator is 36 months older than them, or if the harassing activity is motivated by the victim’s race or religion, or if the perpetrator uses a dangerous weapon, harassment is a felony offense, with up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Coercion

It is considered criminal coercion (Section 609.27 of the Minnesota Statutes) in Minnesota to force someone to do something against their will. 

Several types of threats (for example, inflicting bodily harm to a person or threatening to expose a secret) qualify for the charge of coercion in Minnesota. 

Section 609.27 of the Minnesota Statutes - coercion

The penalties for coercion in Minnesota are tiered, starting at 90 days imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine and going up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. 

Is Doxxing Illegal at the Federal Level?

No. It is not illegal at the federal level to dox someone.

However, as doxxing is becoming more popular, some states (including Illinois, California, and Arizona) have enacted anti-doxxing laws. 

Legal protection against doxxing is still lacking because there is a substantial amount of information available about most people in the public sphere – some of which was shared voluntarily (and some of which wasn’t). 

Because of that, it’s important to take your safety into your own hands and make yourself as undoxxable as possible. That means scrubbing your personal information from anywhere it appears in public on the internet, or at least shrinking your online footprint so it’s harder for others to find you. 

How to Protect Yourself Against Doxxing In Minnesota (And Elsewhere)

To make yourself undoxxable, you’ll need to begin by doxxing yourself (check out our guide to doxxing yourself using this list of doxxing tools to get started). 

As strange as it may sound, doing so will give you the best idea of what steps you need to take to remove or hide your personal data. 

Once you’ve doxxed yourself, your goal should be to go through each place you found your personal information on and remove it. For most people, this will involve:

  • Hiding your personal biography information on your social media profiles.
  • Changing your post settings from public to private. 
  • Using unique usernames and passwords on different websites to make it harder for doxxers to connect your accounts together.
  • Removing your information from data brokers by opting out of their data collection services. Note that you’ll need to repeat the opt-out process whenever new information is uncovered by data brokers, or your profile will be relisted – unless you hire a data broker removal service such as DeleteMe to handle the opt-outs for you. 
  • Requesting the removal of your personal data from Google Search results and other Google products. 
  • Avoiding giving out unnecessary information on the internet, especially in public spaces or forums.

The less personal data there is about you on the web, the less likely it is that someone will be able to doxx you. For more information, read our guide on how to prevent doxxing

Laura Martisiute is DeleteMe’s content marketing specialist. Her job is to help DeleteMe communicate vital privacy information to the people that need it. Since joining DeleteMe in 2020, Laura h…

Don’t have the time?

DeleteMe is our premium privacy service that removes you from more than 30 data brokers like Whitepages, Spokeo, BeenVerified, plus many more.

Save 10% on DeleteMe when you use the code BLOG10.

Hundreds of companies collect and sell your private data online. DeleteMe removes it for you.

Our privacy advisors: 

  • Continuously find and remove your sensitive data online
  • Stop companies from selling your data – all year long
  • Have removed 35M+ records of personal data from the web

Special Offer

Save 10% on any individual and family privacy plan with code: BLOG10

Related Posts