DeleteMe, a service from The Online Privacy Company, announced the expansion of its DeleteMe Business Services for media organizations, helping journalists and media professionals by removing personal identifying information (PII) from online sources.
“We’ve noticed an uptick in the frequency of journalists’ personal information being searched for and exploited as a byproduct of news reporting and related online discussions,” said Joe Sutton, head of DeleteMe Business Services.
Media-advocacy groups like Committee to Protect Journalists note: “90% of U.S. journalists and 71% in Canada described online harassment as the biggest threat facing journalists today.” Reporters Without Borders note that the phenomenon is internationally significant; but risks of personal information exposure affect even independent journalists in niche areas.
Journalists face unique challenges; while reaching a wide audience has become far easier, the ability of disgruntled or politically-motivated actors to push back at writers/reporters has also expanded. Harassment has become a fact of life online, but transition from social-media trolling to ‘real life’ can be increasingly dangerous, illegal, and needs to be defended against.
Types of personal identifying information (PII) available online can include mobile phone numbers, home address, pictures of people’s houses, as well as family member names and ages. Full personal profiles can be purchased from a variety of online data-brokers by anyone with a credit card, often for as little as $0.99 per single search.
DeleteMe Business Services has consequently expanded its capabilities, increasing the range of databases and data broker sites it monitors to specifically help media organizations protect journalists and executives by continuously removing at-risk information from these public sources.