Privacy: How to Protect Yours

For many kinksters, privacy is a key concern. However, while there is no foolproof way to maintain your privacy, there are many small steps that you can take to safeguard your identity online. It is relatively trivial to piece together someone’s identity using multiple small pieces of information that can be cross-referenced and linked together. Whilst someone knowing your real first name is unlikely to figure out your identity, knowing your occupation, profile name, and your first name is going to make it much easier for someone to link something up.

In this guide, I’m going to focus on protecting your identity online, and leave the IP anonymity tips to the experts. As I live in Singapore, some of the tips are in the local context, however, I think most should be applicable globally.

Profiles

  • Don’t use the same kinky profile name that you’ve used anywhere else for any non-kink related social media, game, forum, blog, etc. I’ve had a few kinky friends use their kink names for games like Ingress/PokemonGo (GPS-tracking games… what could go wrong here…)
  • Don’t reuse your profile descriptions from OKCupid, Tinder or other vanilla dating sites
  • Kinky “profiles” include Fetlife, Recon, the instant messenger client you choose to use (kik, telegram, Line, wechat, etc), your email address (the part before the @).
  • Create a set of email/messenger accounts that will purely be used for kinky purposes, and are not linked to your vanilla identity.
  • Fetlife’s history feature will also show your previous username if it hasn’t scrolled off. So if you joined the site using an easily identifiable username, I would advise you to start a new account instead of changing the username.

Phone numbers

  • For convenience, many of us give out our phone numbers for whatsapp, SMS or voice contact.
  • Facebook. Don’t give Facebook your phone number. Even if you don’t give Facebook access to your address book or contact list, if your phone number appears in someone else’s address book, Facebook will use this information to make friend suggestions. If you have your face showing in your Facebook photo, someone just found out your real name.
  • Reverse lookups are not terribly difficult to do for phone numbers
  • Your whatsapp name will appear when sending whatsapp messages to new contacts. As I give my number out to both vanilla and kinky folk, I use generic emoji instead of a name in whatsapp. My whatsapp profile photo doesn’t have my face or identifying information.
  • Don’t use messengers that link your phone number for kinky purposes.
  • For maximum privacy, use a burner phone number for kink, preferably pre-paid, and linked only to a dumbphone. That said, the Singapore government requires your ID to be recorded whenever you buy a pre-paid SIM card. Google Voice numbers allow you to have multiple numbers on a single phone.

Pictures/Videos/Images

  • Don’t use any pictures on FL that have ever appeared on any other non-kink related social media. This includes photos of your dog, faceless vanilla photos, etc. Reverse image searches (such as Tineye, Google Image Search) are surprisingly powerful.
  • Don’t have a face photo as the profile photo on your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc. This will make it harder for people to simply browse for your profile if they’ve somehow managed to find out your real name
  • Be careful about identifying marks/information in your photos. This could include jewelry, tattoos, unique scars, etc.
  • Be wary of appearing in the background of photos taken during kink events. Look out for mirrors as well.
  • Strip metadata from your pictures before sending/posting them. Fetlife does this, but if you want to be extra careful, you should use appropriate programs to strip metadata from your photos. Metadata can include the type of device used to take the photo, the GPS location (often your home)
  • Cropped photos often retain the original image in the metadata. It is best to either strip the metadata, or crop out features when taking the photo itself.

Your Job/School

  • This usually comes up during conversation with kinksters that you’ve just met. This is such a common ice-breaking question during vanilla introductions that many people just default to it during kink introductions as well. I politely deflect the question, and if pressed, I just say “no”.
  • Be vague about the industry you work in, and be really careful about naming the exact company that you work for

Things lying in plain sight

  • If you are hosting a play session, you might want to sanitize your home of anything that might reveal sensitive information.
  • This might include: mail, business cards, bank statements, personal correspondence, T-shirts/bags/caps with your company name on it, magazines, Redmart delivery bags, etc
  • Don’t leave your phone lying around during play. Messages often show up on the lock screen, with your vanilla profile name showing.
  • Don’t pass your phone to someone. Messages/emails from your vanilla account might pop up while they are looking at that pretty picture of you in rope.

Transit hotels in Singapore

  • If you use a transit hotel in Singapore for a short-term booking (2+ hours), both of you will be required to hand over your identity documents to the counter staff. If you’re not comfortable with that, don’t use these venues.
  • In addition, the counter staff will simply hand both cards back to one of you when they are done scanning the data. If you don’t want your play partner to know your real name, address, age, NRIC number, etc, you might want to be the one picking the cards up.

Do let me know if you have any further tips and suggestions.