With the recent attacks on law enforcement at their own private residence combined with the online mobs that seek to destroy officers just for wearing a uniform, every law enforcement professional should take immediate action to protect their personal privacy and thus their family.
While it shouldn’t take the recent attempted murder of Officer Joseph Mensah at his home while he was off duty to wake up our profession, there are far too many that simply haven’t bulletproofed their life away from the job.
Granted, a few decades ago, a P.O. Box and a “private” home phone number was about all you needed but the Internet happened and everything changed.
Here are a few quick tips to get you started.
If you aren’t using a virtual private network wherever you get online, it’s only a matter of time that you will run into trouble with stolen identity or even worse. There are many out there but we like NordVPN. They use the same technology that the US government uses to secure classified information. It will set you back about $4 a month but with one account, you can add it to six devices. In addition to masking your identity and location online, NordVPN is based away from the EU and US jurisdictions and has no obligation to collect your personal information. They will not record, monitor, store, log or share anything that you do plus you will open a whole new world on Netflix when you can log in from around the world from any device…..anywhere.
E-Mail & Browser
Everyone loves Google and Yahoo because it is free and simple but there will never be an e-mail or browsing history that you can hide. A simple subpoena or open records request from a nefarious lawyer or activist will reveal everything. That is why we recommend ProtonMail to all of our clients. It is free and if you desire e-mail from your phone, simply download their app. ProtonMail Servers are located in Switzerland and protected by strict Swiss privacy laws. Even better is their end-to-end encryption and zero access encryption to secure emails. Simply put, not even ProtonMail can read your e-mails and they cannot be shared with third parties.
If you are using a suite of products from Google or Yahoo and you want to protect all of that, Malifence is similar to Protonmail and they offer a suite of features that include e-mail, calendar, documents, contacts and many more.
The browser you use to search the Internet is equally dangerous. Each of the known players track your every move and location and that never goes away. Duck Duck Go is encrypted, private and they block all tracking. It is also free and can be added to your phone and computer as your primary search engine.
Protecting Your Address Online
One of the most dangerous aspects today is the exposure to your private life online including your address. To solve this, Officer Privacy is the only way to go. You can get started for free but we recommend a small investment of $199 for their premium package and their professionals will remove your personal information from the top 30 people search sites that expose your home address and they will monitor it each month for just $19.99.
OfficerPrivacy.com is owned and operated by current and retired law enforcement officers and while we know cops like things for free, it is simply too risky to not contact them and see how they can help.
Take It To the Next Level
What we have mentioned above should not be an option for anyone in law enforcement and the time spent doing it is minimal but there is always more you can do and when our clients face intense scrutiny for just doing their job and cancel culture is coming after them, every one of them has told us they wished they would have done all of that and more.
We say do more now and that will take a little more time and planning. You can start over at JJ Luna’s excellent website and while you could get completely “off grid” using his resources, we recommend at a minimum using an alternative home address (where you do not actually live). Even with the help of our friends at OfficerPrivacy.com, your address will be known by creditors and that address is out there for lawyers, the media and anyone else that pays for access to that information. Mail Forwarding Services that permit you to use them as an address are the way to avoid this potential trouble. Stay away from any service that makes you list where you reside and that is why a P.O. Box and many third party services (such as UPS) won’t work. If they know where you live, there is no guarantee it won’t be found out. Most states have private services including some law firms that will give you an address to list and they will forward all mail electronically and even directly to you if needed.
For You Retired Cops
Ok, we get it. You are in law enforcement and you are thinking this can’t be done because your agency needs to know where you live. We understand but giving your home address to your employer should be private to the public and employers are bound to privacy laws from simply posting your home address while others we have spoken about are not. But if you are retired or a private citizen, this can get fun.
For instance, you can claim residency in South Dakota by staying one night in a hotel and showing them a receipt. For just $12 a month, Your Best Address will give you a home address and they will forward your mail anywhere you want. Once you have that hotel receipt, you can get a driver’s license and car tag in a matter of minutes (Yes, South Dakota runs their DMV different than yours). You can use your new “Badland” address when you apply for credit and for just about anything else. Of course there is the bonus of no state sales tax just in case you wanted to maximize that retirement check.
Obviously this last suggestion isn’t for everyone and you should seek the advice of an accountant and if South Dakota isn’t for you, there are similar locations in every state.
While we may sound like a crazy survivalist, this year has taught us one thing. Those crazy people building “bug out” vehicles and living like the “Unabomber” don’t seem so crazy in 2020…..especially if you live in Portland. Law enforcement takes pride in “officer survival” but until now, we only thought about that in terms of being “on duty.” Those days are over and if you truly believe in “officer survival” you will take heed with some of these suggestions.
Defend The Heroes is a non-profit organization that exists to help defend law enforcement professionals and agencies from defamation, and the demands of so-called social “justice.” Law Officer is a proud partner of this important organization.