Using ‘Paper Terrorism’ to coerce targets and waste their resources

Paper Terrorism is a harassment tactic in which people coordinate in order to hit a target with lots of illegitimate lawsuits at the same time, threatening to use them to take away targets’ money or freedom unless they acquiesce to a set of demands.

This has the impact of frightening victims (particularly those who are not familiar with the tactic, or their legal rights), potentially enough to encourage them to agree to threat actors’ demands. When victims invest time into understanding or countering the charges against them, their attention is drawn away from tasks they would otherwise be tackling. As such, Paper Terrorism can be used to waste resources of a target demographic.

“The parents’ strategy is simple: Try to use obscure and often inapplicable legal claims to force a school district to make a policy change. And while the claims have no legal standing, they have been effective at spreading confusion and wasting school districts’ resources, even though the paperwork doesn’t require a formal legal response.”

‘Paper terrorism’: Parents against mask mandates bombard school districts with sham legal claims by Tyler Kingkade and Ben Collins

Real World Examples

Paper Terrorism is used to pressure a school board into lifting mask mandates during pandemic

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