By Todd Drake, Founder of MangeURiD, an official IPSA Supporter
The Internet can be a terrifying place, especially for those in public safety. For every funny animal picture or friendly post by family on social media, there seems to be a fresh cyberattack, data breach, vigilante or protestor aiming to utilize the Internet for their own illicit gains.
Literally anyone such as an ill-intended individual, gang member, escapee, former arrestee or protestor, can follow the provided link to acquire a home address, phone number, email address and much more. These kinds of acts essentially put the individual involved and their family at immediate risk. Every aspect of our day is now interfaced, in one way or another, with both the benefits and the threats of internet- and with the way that technology continues to rapidly move forward, it is only going to become more and more entwined in every aspect of daily life. This is why it is imperative that we take all the action we can to minimize, or outright neutralize, all the threats to our new way of life. The first step? Minimize the ability for a stranger to find out where you live.
The current trend we are seeing in targeting public safety professionals is mainly focused on confrontational interactions in high profile cases. It is often a situation where an individual is videotaping an incident and there is a specific interest in capturing the public safety individual as much as possible. You will often see that the individual recording the video will interact with public safety personnel to get a name. Once they have that name, they can quickly find your home address.
Public safety officials’ identities are out there
Unfortunately, the reality is that this information is already out there and readily available for the taking. Some of the companies doing this vast collection of public record information and selling it are names you have probably never heard of before such as; Intelius, BeenVerified, and PeopleFinder. These people finder websites gather information from a wide arrange of sources and make that information available for purchase to anyone.
While there are over 200 companies out there doing this kind of activity, you need to be mostly concerned with 20 to 30 of them. I say this because there are plenty of companies that collect this detailed information for the sole purpose of sending you a coupon in the mail or displaying a pop-up advertisement on your pc screen. You could argue that this is creepy, but the good news is that these companies do not sell this information to individuals.
At the moment, cyber bullies and numerous online hate groups can spread their messages with unchecked impunity, as they are extremely unlikely to face any real-world consequences. For the sake of those who will be their future victims, this must change.
The important take away from this article is that virtually anyone can find just about everything they might want to know about you on the internet for any purpose – targeting, stalking, bullying, revenge, embarrassment, identity theft and much more.
No end in sight
Activities such as online targeting or Doxxing are not going away. If anything, the problem is getting worse. From solo criminals to organized gangs, the data vigilantes are everywhere, operating throughout the world. The best way to deal with this growing problem is to protect yourself by removing your information online either manually or through a service like ManageURiD, a data privacy company.
If online cyber security experts are taking steps to protect their private data, why are we not taking the most obvious step to protect this same information? If we removed personal information from the internet, we would see increased security for ourselves and our families, while simultaneously striking a major blow against all of the darker, more malicious actors of the internet.
Protecting your private data online is the best move we can make for you and your family.
About the Author
Todd Drake is the founder of ManageURiD, a personal privacy protection company with decades of information security and proper management of sensitive consumer data experience. He has more than 25 years’ experience building and running technology companies in the advanced analytics and data mining software industry and extensive data privacy experience. In the past, Todd provided the government investigative solutions that enabled agencies to locate people, detect fraud, uncover Confidential Report assets, verify identity, perform due diligence and visualize complex relationships – solutions that were used by more than 3,000 agencies to help enforce laws and regulations, fight fraud, waste and abuse and provide essential citizen services.
Todd also worked in senior capacities with organizations and major federal agencies with data intensive mandates in areas such as intelligence, security, finance, health care, homeland security, crime and fraud prevention. And he served as a senior systems consultant for the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy, with deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of intelligence analysis operations.
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