OJ's basic guide to maintaining your online privacy
The vast majority of kinky people know how to keep their kink and normal selves separate, but on the off chance that someone doesn't know about these precautions, I decided to write this up anyway. Here are five basic things you can do if you're interested in preserving your privacy:
- Use a separate email address. Lemme repeat that: USE A SEPARATE EMAIL ADDRESS. I'm firstname.lastname@example.org and I use that SOLELY for kink-related things. To my knowledge, Google doesn't care about people having multiple accounts and they're no longer enforcing a real name policy. Set one up and use it. Go through and update all your accounts with that new address.
- Don't give out your cell phone number! This is the best way to avoid unwelcome privacy violations. Facebook, Twitter and a whole host of other apps love it when people upload their address books so they can find their friends easier. What happens if your kinky twitter uses the same cell number you use at work? Suddenly your coworkers are getting recommendations to follow kinky you. That's no good. The same thing happens with email addresses, but if you're using a fresh one, this isn't an issue.
- Let me posit another scenario: You give your hookup your cell number so you can meet up again sometime. Said hookup has his contact list linked to Facebook and your cell number is linked to your Facebook. Facebook will see your number in your hookup's contact list and start recommending he add you as a friend. If this is important to you, get a second cell phone number through Google Voice using the same email address from step 1. Personally, I don't really care about this one so much, I just use my regular cell number for everything.
- Use a separate browser. Portable Firefox on a thumbdrive or a separate profile in Google Chrome. This is important because it keeps tracking info about kinky you separate from normal you. All those social media sharing buttons (the Like and Tweet This buttons) are tracking you if you're logged into those sites. If you're not logging in to Facebook or normal Twitter in your compartmentalized browser space, you're not being tracked as normal you. Tracking is still going on, but it's slightly more anonymous.
- Install and configure a blocker. Or, as some would call it, an ad blocker. I don't have a problem with ads. Ads are ok. I have a problem with ads using every trick in their considerable arsenals to de-anonymize me. This is also the second step in defending against Facebook et al attempting to track you as well. The best blocker right now is uBlock Origin. There is a guide to get you started here, but I recommend clicking around the project's wiki as well. If you use a separate browser (see step four), your uBlock settings will stay separate as well. Note that I do advocate for exempting sites like Recon and Fetlife, on the good-faith assumption that their ads aren't being total dicks.
This is, of course, an evolving document; If you have any comments or thoughts, you know where to leave them. And don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or need something clarified.