SOMERVILLE, Mass., November 1, 2023 (Newswire.com) - Results from multiple recent surveys [1,2] underscore a disturbing new trend in American society: between 25 and 40 percent of voters now think violence is justifiable against political opponents.
These risks are increasingly real: convictions for threats against public officials have doubled in the last five years and are up 30 percent in 2023 alone . Election workers have been facing an onslaught of public harassment  and are quitting at high rates . Jurors connected to Trump cases have had personal information of family members exposed . And recent debate over foreign conflicts – like the current war between Israel and Hamas – have led to multiple incidents of individual targeting of journalists and student-activists [7,8].
Angry, politically polarized individuals are now able to find private personal details from data brokers on 98 percent of U.S. citizens. DeleteMe research shows the volume of personal data on individuals available online has tripled between 2019 and 2023, to an average of over 525 pieces of personal info per person – available free, or for as little as $5 per profile.
And this trove of personal data is being weaponized and shared, often leading to either spontaneous or coordinated political harassment and disinformation campaigns.
Whether used for direct harassment, social-media privacy violations (aka “doxxing”), spoofing/reputational attacks, targeting of employers or family members, or physical stalking and violence, sensitive personal information has become the weapon of choice to attack perceived political enemies. Recent years have witnessed a distressing recurrence of crowdsourced political intimidation campaigns targeting public health officials, school board members, and individual businesses.
In the past nine months, DeleteMe has seen a tripling in the number of requests from state and local agencies, as well as businesses, seeking heightened personal information protections because of growth in perceived political risk.
“As more of our personal information is exposed and easy to find online, it puts us all at risk for targeted harassment, which can lead to real-world violence,” said Rob Shavell, CEO of DeleteMe, the online privacy company.
The consequences of the growing range of online data abuses extend far beyond traditional privacy concerns. The misuse of personal information now encompasses issues of election integrity, civil rights, and national security.
DeleteMe, headquartered in Somerville, MA, stands as a beacon in the realm of personal data protection. With over 100 million individual pieces of data removed since 2010, DeleteMe serves at the forefront of the personal data removal domain. The company's core mission is to simplify the process of managing personal data online, ensuring that individuals and businesses can minimize risks to their safety.
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Original Source: DeleteMe: Why Online Politics Has Become a Growing Source of Risk for People and Organizations