Do you know what information is available regarding you and your family? Many of you have become aware of recent events regarding high-profile cases exposing law enforcement officers (LEOs) to the media (e.g., the Fullerton Six). But, do you realize what happened when the television crews turned off their cameras? I will keep the officers nameless for the sake of this story. After the incident made headlines around the world, many of the officers’ names were leaked. Within a short period of time, the officers’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and family members’ names were downloaded by various individuals from various websites. Then, this information was immediately placed on blogs stating what they thought of the officer and requesting people to call them and even go to their residence to tell them what they thought about them. As of today, some of those officers have not been able to return to their residences. With the recent events occurring throughout the country regarding the “Occupy Movement,” many individuals are attempting to videotape all the officers at these events, including their names and rank. Recently, it was reported the Internet hacker group Anonymous wanted this information to target officers with high-tech assaults by publishing their family information, their home addresses and more. Many believe this information is readily available because of Facebook, MySpace or just because people use the Internet. This is as far from the truth as possible. I have found officers who do not even have an e-mail address, let alone a computer. As of today, there are 150-plus websites willing to sell LEOs’ private information (i.e. Intelius, LexisNexis, BeenVerified, MyLife, ZabaSearch, Spokeo and hundreds more).
On January 1, 2011, California amended CA Government Code 6254.21 and 6254.24. This law now states that any law enforcement officer (plus any family members living at the residence) can order websites showing their names, addresses and/or telephone numbers to remove it from their databases for four years. The websites are further ordered to comply with the demand within 48 hours. Officers can request to remove this information by themselves, but it is like painting your house. The state of California does offer a free list to assist officers attempting removal, but is not a complete list and you will have to do some investigating on your own and by yourself. If you prefer to pay someone to paint your house or mow your yard, then you may want to leave it to professionals. There are several companies owned by retired and active LEOs willing to assist in this endeavor.
Kevin Shaw is an active police officer with a major police agency in Southern California. Kevin owns LEO Web Protect, a company that effectively assists in removing LEOs and their families’ private information off of the Internet. He has worked as an expert witness protecting the release of law enforcement information to news organizations. His company (LEO Web Protect) has been contracted by the city of Fullerton, Brea Police Association and the Professional Police Officers Association in removing law enforcement officers’ private information. LEO Web Protect has also been recommended and approved by Anaheim Police Officers Association and Riverside Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and is an approved vendor by the Los Angeles Police Protective League and the Los Angeles Police Department to vend inside Los Angeles Police Facilities. Kevin Shaw can be reached at kshaw@ leowebprotect.com.
Risks to Law Enforcement for Having Private Information on the Internet
B y Ke v i n S h a w, C E O, L E O We b P r o t e c t