Advice / Friday, 08 May 2020

Guide to Using Technology Safely as a Sex Worker

If you use digital technology to facilitate your business, it’s incredibly important to ensure that your safety and privacy are protected. Our guide will help you with that.

Whether you operate solely online, operate incalls or outcalls, work for an agency, or any other type of sex work, if you use digital technology to facilitate your business, it’s incredibly important to ensure that your safety and privacy are protected.

Note: by creating this content we assume that basic safety precautions, such as screening, using a buddy system, having payment upfront, using an alias and a separate phone, and trusting your gut instinct are already being used. This guide is specifically designed for those using digital technologies in any part of their career as a sex worker - from promotion and marketing to expenses, tax, and admin.

We hope that this article helps you to be as safe as possible - and don’t forget, if you have any tips and advice of your own, please let us know by Tweeting us at @VIP_Favours!

Use 2-Factor Authentification

Two-factor authentication is an incredibly important tool for everyone online to use. It works as an extra step in the login process, allowing you to reconfirm your identity. Its aim is to reduce fraud risks and make hackers and attackers’ life harder. It’s not a miraculous magic wand that will keep the bad folks away forever, but it reduces the chance that they will succeed in their efforts.

Make sure that when you are using multiple login factors, that you include a combination of 2 of the 3 authentication factors. They are something you know (password, pin, answer), something you have (mobile phone, key fob, ID card, authentication device), and something you are (biological factor such as voice, face, fingerprint).

Use VPNs

VPNs create a secure connection to another network on the internet - they can help sex workers in so many ways, from shielding browsing activity, accessing region-specific websites, and encrypting data accessed over the internet (while they are being used).

They can slow down your internet access, however, they have benefits that far outweigh the slowdown.

Use a Password Manager

It’s really important to use incredibly strong, unique passwords for all of your online logins. However, we all know that it’s incredibly hard to remember them all. This is where password managers (such as lastpass or onepassword) come into play. They store passwords in a secure vault that you can unlock with either a single master password - or, what we recommend, two-factor authentication. Password managers can also generate strong passwords for you, ensuring that every password that you use online is unique.

Photo Protection

We understand that many VIPFavours users rely on their personal appearance (face and tattoos alongside their body photos) to market themselves, but also understand that others have genuine concerns about being spotted by someone that they know, or having their photos used without their permission in the future.

Many of you will not experience situations where people will try to out or identify you, however, it is always important to ensure that you as a person, and your photos, are protected. 

Make sure to do the following with regards to your photos, so that they aren’t used where you haven’t uploaded them, and to help you as a person:

Avoid Showing Your Face and Tattoos in Photos

Your faces and tattoos are usually the most identifiable parts of your photos. You could crop them out, or a more aesthetically pleasing option is to blur or pixelate your face and tattoos.

For an additional layer of safety, there are programs which can help sex workers to avoid their faces being ‘unpixellated’ by others.

Use Extra Layers to Protect Against Reverse Imaging

Reverse imaging helps people to find the original source of and additional information from, photos found online. Although it can be beneficial for many (eg to find out whether someone is a ‘catfish’ or not), this can also be seen as an invasion of privacy.

To avoid this, you can use software that removes identifying information (such as location, time and date taken, make and model of camera and lots of other things) from images, alongside mirror imaging photographs - both of these things will help add an additional layer of protection for you online.

(Want to know more about taking your own photos at home? Make sure to read our sexy at home photography guide)

Know How to Remove Your Sex Work Digital Footprint

If you choose to take a break or walk away from sex work, there are additional ways to help you to remove your online presence.

These include:

  • Using ‘right to be forgotten’ rules (for your area, state and country) to ask internet search providers to remove information and links to information about you
  • Contacting sites individually - our helpful team will be more than happy to support you with this
  • Removing all content from your site if you own your own site - before you take it down.

Turn off Location Services in Apps Until You Need Them

Location services on phones, tablets and other digital devices means that your location can be applied to any activity that you undertake while it is switched on - from addition location information to photos, to being able to find your location using friend finder and maps apps.

Make sure to keep location information switched off unless you specifically need it. E.g. Uber, Lyft etc will require your location to be turned on, but make sure to turn it off after you’ve completed your journey.

Use a Camera Cover

This helps to protect you from being viewed without consent. Simple and cheap. If you can’t get a cover at the moment, make sure to use an opaque tape when you aren’t using your cam.

Protect Your Camming Room/Location

Make sure there’s nothing in the background or within the shot that can identify you - whether this is personal photos, local sports team memorabilia, university or college merch, calendars, mail order boxes and such.

Keep your blinds closed so that people have no ability to see out of your window to find out where you live.

Tips for Payments

For online payments, we recommend that you use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as some other payment service providers can protect the client if they put in a claim, or are anti-sex worker. Financial discrimination is real and is a concern, as it puts you at risk of losing your livelihood at any minute.

Want to Receive Amazon Gifts?

Set up a PO Box or Amazon locker as an address for your wishlist - ideally, this should not be near your home. However at present with lockdowns, quarantine, and social distancing we know that the latter can be difficult to manage.

Use and Update Warning Schemes

There are some good, trustworthy warning schemes - through them you can keep up-to-date with any local warnings and national warnings about time wasters, scams and other safety issues, alongside being able to connect with other members of the sex work community.

Know Where to Go for Additional Help and Support

If you need additional support, make sure that you know where to get it from.

Within Canada there are lots of laws regarding internet harassment, stalking and cyberbullying. Recommended steps to take include the following:

  • Contact the police - please make sure that you do what you can to protect yourself as a sex worker when you do this
  • Keep a written record of every contact and action of the person or people involved - on and offline
  • Tell others - tell a trusted friend or family member about what is happening to you
  • Get a peace bond - a free, court order which can help victims in Canada by discouraging a named person from carrying out threats and additional behaviour. Peace bonds can last up to 12 months in Canada and if you are affected you will be able to re-apply yearly, if necessary

If you have any other tips, please do let us know. 

Stay safe!