Tips to Protect Your Privacy
- Have a fake work name and work persona.
- Have separate phones, social media accounts and emails for work and personal life. Some people have different laptops/tablets.
- Some clients will ask your real name so be ready for this. Maintain your boundaries and personal space and explain that this is not information you give to clients. The benefit of this is that you are being honest and firm with clients immediately.
- Telling clients your real name is rarely advisable, it erodes your personal barriers and the defence mechanism and working strategy that having an alter ego can provide.
- Even without speaking it can be easy to give away too much about your real name and life, not just by what you say but also your surroundings especially for in calls; leaving out addressed letters, bills, items with your, your partner’s or family’s name on or details of other places of work/study and family photos can give away information on yourself that you may want to keep a secret and private.
- Always use separate photo images from your personal life and personal profiles on social media and remember that images, numbers, social accounts and names can be searched by anyone on the web. So again – fake names, separate numbers are always best.
- Know as much as possible about any app/website advertising platforms you use, how it works and its data protection policies. Specifically check the site’s policies on external advertising and ownership of content and images.
- Watermark your photos with your phone number.
- If you do custom content it may be helpful to put a reference number for each photo/clip/sale and keep a note of who has bought them – so if they post elsewhere they can be identified.
While many sex workers don’t experience situations with people trying to identify or out them, some do. It can be a worry especially for those who need or want to keep a higher level of anonymity online. One of the most common concerns for online workers is how images online could be used in the future, from being spotted by someone you know to having pictures stolen by other sites and posted elsewhere online. Some tips that can help with this could be:
- Avoid using faces or tattoos online as these can be the most identifiable type of picture. Think carefully about whether you want your face in your advertising images.
- Cropping images can now be done with the click of a finger to remove faces but a more common and more aesthetically pleasing option is to blur or pixelate images. Most macs and computers have this facility already built in and just a click of a button away; on mobile devices there are a range of free apps that can be used.
- Some more tech savvy sex workers are now using programs to avoid their faces being “unpixellated” by others as an extra layer of security.
Reverse Imaging and What You Need to Know
- Reverse image searches – like Google and Tineye – make it possible for people to find out information from a photograph. So some sex workers use software like batchpurify to remove identifying information from images and as a way of outsmarting unpixelating programs. These programs can remove all information such as time and date taken, make and model of camera and other information that can be found from images.
- One other way to avoid being reverse image searched is to mirror image a photograph, while not impossible for people to figure out, it could prevent the average reverse image searcher
- Keep it simple – one of the most basic ways to monitor what is online about you is to frequently google yourself with your work and personal name. Most public privacy breaches can be found this way. It is worth noting that if you find a privacy breach steps can then be taken to have information removed.
Removing Your Sex Work Digital Footprint
You might be planning a break from sex work or intending to leave and want to remove as much of the online info about your sex work as possible. Some of the privacy information we have already shared can help with this. More tips for removing your online presence include:
- You might be able to use the ‘Right to Erasure/be Forgotten’ rules, introduced as part of data protection law. The Information Commissioners Office is a useful source of info about this https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/right-to-erasure/. You can ask internet search providers to remove links to information about you, so you can ask search engines like Google to remove material from their search results. The photos or videos or other content don’t get removed but the link to the content is removed, making them much harder to find. The Information Commissioners Office is a place you can go for advice and to make a complaint about personal data breaches. https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
- You can contact platforms directly and ask them to remove your images and content. If they won’t or if you prefer, go to the host and ask them to remove the content.
- If you own your own website – make sure you delete all content before taking down your site. This can speed up the removal. Do be aware though that people will still be able to see the cached version of your site for some time. Applying most or all the remedies in this section and the privacy section can help to some degree.
- For cammers, services such as Cammodelprotection will remove all your content, this is for a fee. There are other content removal services for both cammers and other sex workers who advertise online. Most charge a fee.
Remember that it is not always easy to remove all content. Whilst many steps can be taken, it’s always best to think about how much of your identity you want to share online first.
- See the information on protecting privacy and having separate devices for business – this makes it much easier to take a step back from your work life when you need to take a break or leave.