When I first became a provider, I learned hard and fast that nothing online was sacred. I was new, I didn’t know how to really protect my web content, and due to a slight lack in knowledge, I had a person basically hack into my photos and view things I hadn’t intended to post online simply because he knew how to and in his words ‘he was curious to see the rest of the images from my photo shoot’.
The guilty party readily admitted to poking around where he knew he shouldn’t be and I’ve been very careful ever since to cover my tracks and make myself as impenetrable as possible, but ultimately, nothing is iron clad or bullet proof, especially online.
While my issue was minor – we see in our modern online age, examples left and right of how we are not nearly as protected and secure as we think.
I mention this today after waking up to yet another news story about a hack; The Ashley Madison website.
While tragic enough as it was in the beginning, it’s apparently infinitely worse as things progress.
If you’re not familiar with the scandal, the AM website is a venue for married individuals to seek extramarital affairs. You are required to register and pay for this service, presumably to cover the cost of adverts, privacy and facilitation – but a real credit card, with a real name and address are/were required to open an account.
A group calling themselves “The Impact Team” has gone ahead and hacked the website and stolen ALL of it’s private user information including but not limited to the names and addresses of users, private messages exchanged between members and photos (including many nudes) and posted them freely online for all to see.
Now, this is horrible for a number of reasons, but basically it has put 37 million Ashley Madison members online and in the spotlight. These hackers originally issued a statement against AM’s CEO saying they would release member content if the website wasn’t taken down permanently. Needless to say, when the demand to burn the site wasn’t met – content dumps began appearing all over the internet.
This isn’t the first hack of it’s kind either, just a few months ago Adult Friend Finder had issues of it’s own, putting 3.5 million users in peril. It has truly been a year of unjust exposure and let us not forget, in situations like these it’s often not just those who were exposed that suffer most.
I say all of this, not to strike unnecessary fear into your heart, but to shine a spot light on how we all conduct ourselves online. These are likely risks you’ve considered before creating your methods of keeping your private and ‘hobby’ life separate, but so many people all too often take things for granted, or get a little too comfortable and that’s where mistakes can be made. I’d like to just remind everyone that if you’re going to play in a venue where you’d like to stay as anonymous as possible, there are certain things you need to do to proactively protect yourself.
Create an email address you use exclusively for hobby activity, don’t use your work or personal email addy – just don’t. Never, and I mean NEVER, tell this separate address to anyone, don’t use it for anything else, and make sure you delete all messages from your sent folder and trash. Create an impossible password for this account and don’t use that password for anything else.
Create a hobby name. Almost everyone I meet is a John, Mike, Chris or so forth. Generic names are totally fine, as are made up nonsense monikers. I have one pet who calls himself by a song title, another a poet, another a movie title – you get the idea. Be anyone you want, just don’t be anything that can be linked to you.
If you pay to use a review board or hobby forum, don’t use the private message services. If you have any private info connecting you to any adult website, post as little as possible. Be a ghost. You never want these two things coming together Ashley Madison Style. Never allow yourself to feel convinced that anything is truly private. Believe me, the CEO of AM released a public statement saying the content of their users was ‘secure’ – now over 30 million users just saw those walls come tumbling down.
As far as phones go, it’s smart to get a burner phone. Never call from work, never call from home, never text. You know what can’t be hacked? A spoken phone call. If you have questions or want to make plans with a provider, just call her. It might not be the most convenient method of contact, and sure, you might be nervous – but not having a paper trail is priceless! At worst, you can have records of how often you chatted or how long a call was, but there’s no record of your dialog.
If you used GPS to visit someone – delete the location afterwards.
When photos are concerned, don’t take any of yourself. Don’t take any with a provider. Don’t save any mementos.
Be careful about revealing personal details! If you’re going to meet someone in an otherwise anonymous community, don’t spill the beans in person. Your real name, where you work, locations you frequent, marital status – none of that needs to be exchanged. Sure, you can absolutely have an intimate connection with someone and still guard your information, please don’t allow yourself to think that the only path to connecting with someone in this realm is through the free exchange of personal details. The great thing about the adult community (at least as it pertains to the hobby) is that your existence is strictly about who you are in that moment, don’t put yourself at risk by being too open about who you are outside of that.
Try to visit people you trust. If you’re dating online, this can be a little tricky, so always trust your instinct. If you’re visiting providers – check reviews, look for a proven history of discreet and professional behavior and again, trust your instinct. If you hobby a LOT, it’s not a bad idea to find a circle of providers who would all recommend each other. No one knows more about the hobby then those who work in it. If you’re seeing me and you want intel on a safe, sane and discreet escort, fbst practitioner or another Dominatrix – you bet your ass I can help you! Recommendations are everything in this community, it’s what keeps us all as safe as possible.
Last but not least, just always be on guard.
I won’t pretend for a second that lines don’t get blurred in the process of connecting with a provider. When you get comfortable with someone, open up to someone, details about you come pouring out. Humans ache to connect and to feel connected to, it’s just our nature. There’s nothing wrong with that – but just be aware. No matter who you visit, there’s no harm in keeping the true nature of your relationship in the back of your mind.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t become close friends with MANY of my clients, I know about them, they know about me and that’s just how it is, in short we trust each other and that’s just an acceptable risk for me. What I’ve shared personally, I did so consciously and willingly.
If nothing else, that’s all this post is meant to do – draw awareness to our behavior when engaging in the adult community. Enjoy yourself until you’re satisfied beyond comprehension – just never lose perspective.