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It’s Political Season: Every Reporter and Campaign Should Use Virtru

August 29, 2014

The first line of this Politico story by Dylan Byers says it all:

A lesson for today’s political journalists: Treat every email as though it will be publicly broadcast.

Read that again if you are a journalist.  On second thought, everyone should just heed the advice “Treat every email as though it will be publicly broadcast” because that’s exactly how safe unencrypted email is in a political campaign. If you report on politics and if you are involved with a campaign you need to be encrypting and controlling your email with Virtru.

The details of this story are political and will only make sense to political insiders and people familiar with campaigns, but the gist of the story is this: a Senate campaign leaked some emails from a journalist to a political website before a piece was published in part to diminish the impact of the story. It doesn’t matter who the candidate is or which political party did this, this is a story that will repeat itself a few times over the next few months.

With Virtru for Business, this reporter could have sent a message to that Senate campaign with disable forwarding turned on.  This would have been an explicit statement to the recipient that the information was considered privileged and private. It would have made it more difficult for someone to just casually forward the email to another recipient. If the recipient had forwarded it to someone else the reporter could have traced the forward trail and known that information was leaked before it hit the wire.

If you are a journalist, we’ve already established that you should be using Virtru for every email you send to colleagues and sources. It is just plain common sense that you should preserve the right to revoke messages and exert some control over who can see the messages you send.  This story also reminds us that campaign season is fast approaching with Labor Day being the traditional kick-off for political season.

If you work in a campaign or if you cover a campaign as a journalist you should consider installing and using Virtru to make sure that your communications are marked as confidential and so that you can exert control over the messages you send. If you are a reporter that wants to protect your stories and your sources – use Virtru. If you are a political campaign that wants to go “off the record” with a journalist, use Virtru so that you can mark your email as private and so that you can control the emails you send.

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