No Place Like Home

21 September 2015

Protesters and campaigners unhappy with the actions of companies are increasingly turning online to uncover the home addresses of senior company employees.

Campaigners against the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport recently organised a protest targeting the homes of two senior Heathrow employees. Heathrow Airport’s CEO and Sustainability and Environmental Director awoke last week to discover their driveways had been covered by a giant plastic runway, coupled with a crowd of angry protesters and members of the press.

For home-owners angry at the prospect of having their own properties compulsorily purchased for demolition to make way for a third runway, the protest provided an effective means of direct action. Photographs and footage of the properties made their way into the press and the day’s main news summaries, accompanied by detailed descriptions of the homes in question. The fact that one of the properties being renovated was “particularly galling to see” for protesters whose own homes face the prospect of demolition.

The Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer has also found his property targeted in similar circumstances. Environmental activists released details of his home address as part of a protest against the company’s use of farms that support the badger cull. Activists posted a photograph of the house online and urged others to send letters to the address regarding their cause.

A person’s home is a fundamental part of their private and family life. Publishing details of someone’s home address or actively protesting outside it can be an extremely unsettling invasion of privacy. Even more concerning for those targeted is that in having their home addresses made public, there runs the risk of serious security threats to them and their family.

Despite this, the home addresses of many senior individuals are readily available online. But knowing what steps are available to limit public access to details of your home may help to avoid any nasty surprises on the doorstep.

  • When completing the annual Electoral Roll return form, tick the box to state that you do not want to appear on the edited register.
  • Company directors can file a CH01 form with Companies House to ensure that the address on the public register is replaced with another for the service of documents.
  • For planning applications, make the planning permission application via an agent.
  • If your house appears on Google Maps or Google Earth, click ‘Report Problem’ at the bottom of the image. Click ‘Privacy Concerns’ and place a box over the house. This will request for the house details to be blurred.

It used to be said that an Englishman’s home is his castle. In ensuring that your address and personal details are not readily available online, now is the time to pull up the draw bridge and take control of your online footprint.

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About the Author

Nick Brough

Associate

Originally a criminal defence solicitor, Nick’s skills are invaluable in the sensitive and unpredictable situations where clients face reputational and privacy threats.

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