When I started sex work, my digital hygiene was a M E S S. Not even a hot mess. Just a mess.
If you’re wondering what on earth digital hygiene is, it’s just a fancy term for the way you maintain your information online. Good digital hygiene is the first defence against cyber threats.
Now, you might be thinking, “what cyber threats?”
Cyber threats can be lots of things. There are more general cyber threats like phishing and identity theft. But as sex workers, we have additional cyber threats.
As sex workers, we tend to use personas when we work. And I’m sure this isn’t news to you, but we tend to do this because of the social stigma and legal ramifications that can be associated with sex work. So, personas help to keep us safe.
Unfortunately, this social stigma also means that sex workers face a hell of a lot of discrimination. And sometimes, people can feel a lot of anger and moral outrage towards sex workers. Sometimes this is simply due to misunderstanding the work, but sometimes this outrage is accompanied by malicious intent. This can lead to harmful attacks on sex workers through methods such as doxxing (i.e., searching for and revealing identifying information about an individual).
But I’m sure none of this is news to you. And, unfortunately, I’m sure you’ve heard of this happening to sex workers (or, perhaps, it’s happened to you).
Like many sex workers, I’ve had my private information revealed in public spaces (e.g., review forums… Excuse me while I vomit). I’ve also had friends and family find and share my work information with others.
And man, does it suck.
Actually, it more than sucks. It really, really fricken sucks. It has caused me heartache and headaches and anxiety and depression.
And while the ideal solution would be the social stigma of sex work being eradicated (and people minding their own business, seriously), I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
But there’s also another element to this, and that is the intimate nature of our work. As sex workers, we build personal relationships with our clients that can feel very real to them. Sometimes this leads to clients’ feeling natural curiousity about us and the lives we lead. And sometimes it can lead to clients’ feeling frustration, bitterness and anger at the fact that they don’t know the ‘real’ us. And both natural curiousity and anger-driven rage can lead clients to dig into our digital lives.
You might be wondering what on earth they could find out, and I thought the same thing when I started out. After all, I used a separate phone for work, blurred my face and used a fake name. So I was fine, right?
We live in a digital age, and there is SO MUCH information people can find out about you online. This information can come from things like the registration of your website name (which is public unless your purposely opted to hide it), the old pages of your website (which are archived and are publicly accessible, even if you’ve deleted them from your website) and the metadata from the photos you upload. Trust me, there is a world of data out there for people to crawl through.
And again, the ideal solution would be that all clients magically understand and accept the boundaries that we impose.
But alas, we live in the real world, and in the real world, you must maintain good digital hygiene to protect yourself against all of these threats.
Look, I know it’s not the sexiest topic, but maintaining good digital hygiene will help keep you safe online as you make those $$$.
So, I’ve created a digital hygiene checklist to make it a little easier for you.
I’ve learnt a lot about digital hygiene over my years in the industry. I want to share what I’ve learnt with YOU, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes that I did.
Hit this link to download the checklist and get cracking. It’s not too late to unf*ck your digital hygiene.