Monthly Archives: January 2013

Anonymous blogging and Google Analytics: how Ewhois’ reverse lookup can reveal your identity

If you’re blogging anonymously, it’s always safer not to have your own domain because you could be traced through your Google Analytics ID. Your anonymous blog or pseudonymous online business may share the same ID as your non-anonymous sites, so if someone your identity then all they have to do is heck the ID of your anonymous site and one of your non anonymous sites, and they’ll have a match. Some tools which let you check Google Analytics or AdSense IDs will even tell you which other sites share the same ID, so all anyone has to do is type your site’s or blog’s address in and they’ll see all the sites you have.

To avoid this, just create a new Google Analytics account for your anonymous blog, or register for a domain anonymously.

Some bloggers and many sites use Google Analytics to check stats. However hosted domains (blogging platforms to you and me) like WordPress, Blogspot or tumblr are safe. Some articles allege that they are safe because they do not use Google Analytics; but this isn’t true because if you use the Ghostery browser add-on, it tells you that WordPress does use Google Analytics. Although I seldom venture over to Blogspot, the couple of times a Twitter link has taken me there while I product-tested Ghostery, Ghostery told me that Google Analytics was being used there, too. So I don’t know why blogging sites are safe while other domains aren’t, but it’s not because they don’t use Google Analytics.

This is how easily you can be found – I put the name of a site into Ewhois, a free site which offers reverse lookup for Google Analytics and reverse IP lookup. (Which means it shows you everyone who is using Google Analytics, so if you use it you can be found). Ewhois checks both Google Analytics and AdSense IDs. For ethical reasons I chose someone who is not anonymous and will not be harmed by anyone knowing which other sites they have, and who has themselves outed an anonymous person for no reason:

It literally takes a second; I did it while typing this post

It literally takes a second; I did it while typing this post

In just a few seconds Ewhois returned the results, which included all sites on the same IP address (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are owned by the same person, but are maybe just sharing an ISP) as well as a phone number, fax and approximate address, which I’ve redacted:

EWhois gives out lots of info about you in a second, and clicking the tabs below gives out even more.

EWhois gives out lots of info about you in a second, and clicking the tabs below gives out even more.

Worst of all, it reveals the name you used to sign up for a domain. In this case, the person is not anonymous (or, rather, used the same pseudonym she is known by to sign up to her domain). Had she used her real name, I would now know it (though her real name is published on the internet anyway; she is no longer anonymous which is why I chose her for this experiment.) And once you know someone’s real name, it’s easy to Google their address and occupation, even photos. So, your name and approximate location – and therefore your address and photo- can be found pretty much instantly – bad news if you’ve got a nasty colleague who would tell your boss you’re bitching about how awful your work is. (Or whatever you’re doing.) And if you’re using anonymity to say something that the authorities don’t want you to, they could be driving out to you immediately after putting your site into Ewhois and Goohling your address. You wouldn’t know they were coming.

I also tested to see if “Stella”‘s blog as well as Slutocracy could be found by Ewhois, and both of them can’t be found:

ewhois demo 3

This appears to prove that blogs on hosted domains like WordPress and Blogspot are safe. Obviously, don’t take my word for it because I only tried it out on two ‘anonymous’ bloggers – “Stella Marr” and myself – and neither of us are actually really anonymous; we’re pseudonymous. I know some real anonymous bloggers, but obviously I don’t want to know who they are. Knowing who someone is always carries a risk for that person even if you keep their identity a secret, because you can be tricked into revealing it or your computer can be hacked. And when people are anonymous, it’s more fun; they have this persona. Knowing their boring real names and jobs takes the fun out of it.

It may be safe to assume that blog platforms are much, much safer though – it still took time for journalists to find out who the bloggers Girl With a One Track Mind, Belle de Jour and NightJack are.

So, to recap:

Register for a domain anonymously or using a pseudonym

Don’t get your own domain, use a blog hosting platform

If you already have your own domain, create a new Google Analytics account for your anonymous sites

Or don’t use Google Analytics or Adsense

Protect your IP address (using the Tor browser) so Ewhois can’t show it even if it shows other stuff (though if Ewhois shows your name, there’s no point protecting your IP address).

 

If you want to check if you can be found, just go to EWhois here: http://www.ewhois.com/ .

Useful article on anonymous blogging and Google Analytics: http://www.wired.com/business/2011/11/goog-analytics-anony-bloggers/

How to blog anonymously by Brooke Magnanti (who blogged anonymously as Belle de Jour): http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/how-to-blog-anonymously-and-how-not-to.html

My product testing and review of anonymous browsing and anonymous blogging downloads: https://slutocracy.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/review-of-anonymous-blogging-and-browsing-tools-product-testing-hotspot-shield-vpn-tor-and-ghostery/

 

 

Advertisements

Review of anonymous blogging and browsing tools (product testing Hotspot Shield VPN, Tor and Ghostery)

You know how women’s magazines are always testing and reviewing products like skin cream, hair straighteners and shampoo? And the results probably depend on which corporation paid them to say their product is the best? Well, for all you anonymous bloggers and subversive tweeters (as well as anyone else who’s sick of getting viruses all the time) here’s a product test/trial and review of software for anonymous browsing.

There aren’t a lot of free tools out there for anonymous browsing or anonymous blogging, unless you know how to set up your own VPN (Virtual Private Network) or are willing to pay to use proxy servers and other anonymizing tools. I’ve tested Tor, Firefox, Ghostery and a VPN (Hotspot Shield) for a week each, and I’ve also tried using them together.

Tor product review

(Get Tor here: https://www.torproject.org/download/download)

Tor is a browser based on the Firefox browser which allows you to browse the web anonymously by onion routing – that is, by switching to a different IP address every 10 minutes so nobody can figure out your IP address. If all you want to do is hide your IP address, Tor is a good choice.

The first page you see when Tor starts.

The first page you see when Tor starts.

Pros

The good bits about Tor is that it doesn’t run much more slowly than my regular browser (Firefox) or Internet Explorer (which is slower than Firefox). Because it’s a browser, you can browse anonymously using Tor while browsing normally using your usual browser at the same time. So the slowness isn’t really an issue because you only need to use Tor for the sites you want to stay anonymous on.

Tor can also be downloaded onto a flash drive so you can take your anonymity with you and use Tor on any computer in your university or internet cafe. (I didn’t try this).

There are also versions of Tor for android phones.

You have a lot of control with Tor, because you can change your identity (IP address) any time to make people who are looking for you think you’re someone else. Say you run a fetish site and are managing that site, but now you want to check your LinkedIn page that is under your real identity as a social worker. You just click on the Tor/Vidalia onion icon, click the ‘new identity’ button and now anyone tracking you won’t think that the fetish woman and the social worker are the same person.

peoducttestTirID

Tor has an added benefit of allowing you to access sites which are censored by your government. When you’re using Tor you will automatically be able to access prohibited sites (though obviously I’ve not been able to test this feature).

Tor was quick and easy to install.

Cons

While using Tor or any other anonymizing browser, it may be tempting to go on two website accounts or social media accounts at the same time (one in Tor and one in your usual browser), and that’s dangerous because you can accidentally post to the wrong account. (This is why I’m not anonymous; I would totally mess that up).

Tor can be a little slow to start; you have to click on the shortcut, then open the Tor file so the Vidalia program can start Tor.

When sending emails, it’s best to type and send an email within 10 minutes or it might not send. (This information is from the Tor site; I’ve never emailed in Tor so I don’t know how it affects emails).

While Tor protects your anonymity, it doesn’t stop people from knowing that you are using Tor. Obviously even if journalists or your boss know you’re using Tor, there isn’t a lot they can do or infer from that. But if you’re in a region with few internet users, the fact that you’re using Tor can, ironically, make you stick out even more to anyone watching internet traffic (for example the police or government).

RESULTS: It’s the answer to all your anonymous needs on all your devices and wherever in the world you go. You can literally take anonymity anywhere. Just don’t forget to turn it on!

Ghostery product review

(Get it here: http://www.ghostery.com/download)

Ghostery is a browser add-on that just runs in your usual browser. It stops websites from tracking you. Most websites have programs which track your movements when you navigate to or away from the site. This is for marketing purposes, but it can be used to put viruses into your computer so Ghostery is good for virus protection in a way that Tor isn’t. (Because Tor just hides your IP address by routing your browsing through different computers to produce false IP addresses). So if you want to protect your computer from viruses, Ghostery is good virus protection. Police may also use this kind of tracking to catch you if free speech is not protected where you are.

Pros

Ghostery is very quick to install and you can see all the tracking stuff it is protecting you from, which is fun. It appears as a little blue cute ghost icon in your browser.

Look how much tracking is on popular site AOL.com. Ghostery blocks 3 trackers.

Look how much tracking is on popular site AOL.com. Ghostery blocks 3 trackers.

Ghostery can also be used together with Hotspot Shield. Because the Firefox browser is already a much more secure option against viruses and spying/tracking than the Internet Explorer browser, with Ghostery added to Firefox you will be really protected.

Because Ghostery is a browser add-on, you don’t need to start it up every time you go online (unlike Hotspot Shield and Tor) so it is simpler and there’s no risk of forgetting to turn it on.It’s supposed to make your computer run aster, but I didn’t notice this at all. However I don’t think it makes my laptop run slower.

Cons

You can fiddle with the settings in Ghostery but the default settings allow some trackers in. There are “4 trackers found on this page, 0 blocked” as I type this.

Unlike Tor you can’t download it and take it everywhere and there isn’t a mobile version.

Ghostery also doesn’t work with the Tor browser, though it can be added to most other browsers.

RESULTS: Great if you want privacy and antivirus protection, I’m keeping this on my computer! It’s the fast and easy solution, but if your life quite literally depends on being anonymous online, it’s probably not as safe a bet as Tor.

Hotspot Shield VPN review

(Get it here: http://www.hotspotshield.com/en )

Pros

Hotspot Shield is a downloadable virtual private network which protects your IP address and protects you from trackers. VPNs also can protect you from viruses and ID theft. I haven’t tried putting Hotspot Shield on a flash drive and using it on a public computer, so I don’t know if you can do that. There are versions for other devices too.

This was relatively quick to install.

VPNs are supposed to be the safest way to stay anonymous online, so this is a must-have if you’re really serious about your anonymity. It also saves you the bother of creating your own VPN, which can be complex, or of paying to use a VPN service. Hacktivists, hackers and criminals such as identity thieves and paedophile rings use VPNs, and they’re usually only caught when police trick them into thinking they’re operating in a safe space. So you can guarantee you’ll be hard to find with a VPN.

Hotspot Shield is very easy to use – you just click a button and wait for it to connect to the internet; then you’re protected. The icon in your browser tells you if you’re protected or not.

A great thing about Hotspot Shield is the fact that once downloaded, it downloads into all your browsers – including Tor. This is great because it gives you double protection – even if your VPN fails and ‘They’ find your IP address, it’s the wrong one, because you’ve got Tor.

Hotspot Shield also works with a Firefox browser which has Ghostery installed, for those who don’t want to use Tor.

It’s faster than Tor but is still a little slower than regular browsing.

Cons

The cons of Hotspot Shield are the ads. There are lots of ads – new ads every time you navigate to a new page, and they force the page a little lower down your screen. So it’s really annoying. You can upgrade to the elite version – which you pay a subscription fee for – if you don’t want the ads.

Another con is the fact that, like Tor, you aren’t protected until you turn Hotspot Shield on. And it’s easy to forget to turn it on because it doesn’t have its own browser window like Tor. However sometimes it does show a warning message that privacy is turned off, which helps.

Hotspot can suddenly switch itself off, and it didn’t tell me when that happened. I noticed that the icon was yellow instead of green so I clicked on it. However I was able to fix it by clicking on the icon, which directed me to the Hotspot site and downloaded something into the computer. After that, Hotspot Shield worked again.

RESULTS: A great go-to if you only want anonymity for particular sites. For those more serious about being anonymous, if the ads hurt your eyes then make Ghostery or Tor your staple and turn on Hotspot Shield for that extra protection when you need it (like blogging about what an idiot your president is or uploading photos of the fun you had in your BDSM dungeon, whatever floats your boat).

These magazine product trials usually announce a winner, and I’d probably say Tor is the winner for being an all-rounder. But please don’t take these results too seriously because I’m not really an anonymous blogger (I define ‘anonymous’ as ‘not revealing your identity to anyone’ but this blog is on my Facebook) so was never in danger of being doxed/hacked/having my identity revealed while doing this product testing. And anyway this blog certainly isn’t newsworthy so it’s very unlikely that someone would try to reveal my identity. Also, I wasn’t able to test how these tools help you avoid state/police surveillance.

When using anonymity tools that slow down your browsing, try using Firefox if you want to balance out the slowing-down effect with a faster browser, and/or disable all the browser add-ons you don’t need. A lot of these add-ons make your internet browsing slower because they send information about your browsing habits back to the corporations. (This also compromises your privacy). If you’re using a dongle or other wireless connection, this can eat up a lot of your data allowance, meaning that you buy lots of data that just gets thrown away without being used.

Articles on how to blog anonymously

A great guide by Dr Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) with info about anonymizing technologies and tops on what not to do: http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/how-to-blog-anonymously-and-how-not-to.html

Tips (including anonymously registering domains and avoiding search engines) by the EFF organisation: https://www.eff.org/wp/blog-safely

Guide to blogging with WordPress and Tor by Global Voices Advocacy – Tor isn’t compatible with WordPress any more, but it’s still a useful guide to blogging with Tor: http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/guide/

Get an anonymous blog here, on a platform designed for anonymous blogging (no signup needed): http://fearlessblogging.com/

5 Reasons Why The Ancient Alien Theory Is Not A Convincing Theory

God knows which category this post is going to go in, but I thought I’d try something different today.

South Park once mocked the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series in an episode abiut Thanksgiving, and I can see why. Now there is a new series, and this blog deals with material from both series.

Now I’m all about being open minded and I’m not saying aliens have never contacted us, because I don’t know. I’m just not convinced by the theory itself and the way it is being presented by the History Channel. So, while I offer criticism or critique of the ancient alien theory, this shouldn’t be taken as a refutation of the possibility that aliens contacted us, but only a criticism of the way it is being argued.

1. The premise and indeed entire argument of the ancient aliens theory seems to be “we don’t know how this structure was built, therefore aliens did it”. This is too simplistic and too much of a leap. Just because we haven’t yet figured out how they were built doesn’t mean we never will. Everyone thought crystal skulls were impossible to make but now we know they were all made in the 19th century, probably in Europe or America (and possess no powers or mysteries). We learn more and more about how Stonehenge was built and why.

And our surprise at how our ancestors could have built things without technology is no more remarkable than our future great grandchildren’s surprise at how anyone could have researched anything without Google (or whatever people are using to research by then). Or indeed our present inability to function without electricity when people in other regions of the globe live very well without electricity.

 

The ancient alien theory offers no evidence or proof except “how else could people have built this stuff?”. This is unscientific.

2. The ancient aliens theory is just religion but with the word “alien” in place of “God/the Gods”. By presupposing that aliens are responsible for civilizing us, guiding us and looking after us, and that anything which can’t be explained was created by them or with their technology, the aliens take God’s place. The belief that the aliens may one day return to us or that they left codes or structures behind to tell future generations (us) that they were here is also reminiscent of folk heroes and religious scriptures.

3. The ancient alien theory replaces a simple and more likely theory (for example that the pyramids were built by the local inhabitants) with a far more complex and unlikely theory (that they were built by aliens, or by humans using alien technology). One of the rules of good science is that one must always believe the simpler explanation until there is evidence to the contrary.

4. The ancient alien theory asks us to believe too much stuff. By depending upon so many necessary premises, without which the whole theory crumbles, it is a bad theory (and also an unlikely one, because a lot of things must be true for it to be a viable theory). For the ancient alien theory to be true, we must take as fact:

That aliens exist

They are more technologically advanced

They contacted us

They were friendly

They didn’t just contact us and leave, but stayed for a very extended period of time

They shared their knowledge with us and guided us

Stonehenge, the pyramids, Carnac and other places were built with their technology

That the aliens looked like Greys (how we would expect an alien to look like) and their spacecraft looked like rockets or flying saucers. [Because ancient alien theorists sometimes point to carvings which look like flying saucers, rockets or aliens in spacesuits].

5. This last point is perhaps less relevant to Stonehenge (in Britain) and Carnac (in France). However as ancient alien theory also rests just as heavily upon the pyramids in Egypt and Central America as well as sites in Ethiopia and India, it is still a relevant critique of the theory.

There has been a long history of not giving indigenous peoples credit for creating the monuments found in their countries. With the pyramids for example, it was thought in the 19th century that Middle Eastern peoples especially those from what is now the Iran or Iraq region built the pyramids. Some thought the Europeans had built them. There was also talk of giants. Now, the buzzword is aliens. I was watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel once and Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s top archaeologist, said that it wasn’t giants or aliens who built the pyramids, but the Egyptians. Another local egyptologist, (I wish I could remember her name) commented “there seems to be a lack of appreciation for what the indigenous people did.” After listing all the theories about who had built the pyramids, she then concluded, “It was in some ways a bit racist.” And these comments could be applied to any of the other monuments that the ancient alien theorists point to.

It’s important to remember that the ancient alien theory, as well as many of its current well-known authors and figures, are from the west. The History Channel (the mainstream TV channel which has done the most to spread the ancient alien theory to the general public) is based in America. It would be interesting to imagine how we would react if it had been Mexicans, Indians or Egyptians who had come up with the ancient alien theory and were saying that Stonehenge, Carnac, Mount Rushmore, Buckingham Palace and the Lia Fail were made using alien technology.

Slut shaming isn’t just about bullying: Why we should stop using the word “slut” completely

We need to stop using the word “slut”. You probably know this already, as slut shaming has been topical since the SlutWalks in 2011, and recently there was an article ‘Slut Shaming Shames us All’, about slut shaming and other forms of bullying in a broadsheet I can’t remember the name of.

However it seems like most of the discussion centres around men using the term, and around the existence of the double standard – which is great. We need to talk about both of these issues. But when I remember back to my high school days, it seems like it was girls, not boys, who used the term “slut” to bully each other and enforce other girls’ compliance with the double standard. This is collusion with the patriarchy and a betrayal of one’s gender.

And calling someone a “slut” isn’t the only problem. It’s easy enough to refrain from doing that, and easy enough to label a slut shamer a bully for doing so. But gossiping about other women, talking about our favourite TV shows or even just having a laugh are all situations which carry a risk of the word “slut” being dropped. And that in itself reinforces the double standard to your listeners. The word slut is always harmful when it’s used as an accepted, noncontroversuial term – even if you’re not directly calling someone a slut.

Phrases like “acting like a slut” “slutty dress” or “she looks like a slut” are equally harmful to society – especially if children or young teenagers overhear you. Teens – even young teens barely out of childhood- are way more intelligent and capable of critical thought than we give them credit for, but if it’s Mum and Dad who are providing a bad example, it’s a bit much of adults to expect the kids to behave. The kids simply won’t see anything wrong with slut shaming or anything unnatural or unethical about the double standard. The best parent in the world can’t stop friends and classmates being a bad influence on their children, but we can all modify our own behaviour around our own and others’ children. In fact, we already do – would you tell a dirty joke or swear around kids, especially younger children? Yet actually the damage caused by hearing a dirty joke or the F-word is minimal compared to the damage done to child’s sense of morality through being indoctrinated to believe that the double standard is real and to follow it by slut shaming women. If the child or teen is female (or identifies as female) this can impact their self-esteem and the way they see themselves as a girl or young woman. It can create problems in later life when the girl feels that she is a “slut” for having “too much” sex – instead of proud to be having so much sex. (Or even indifferent). No, the destiny of a woman is shame; she can’t be too inexperienced or she’s frigid or lesbian or ‘can’t get a man’ but if she’s too successful with the lads then she’s a slut, cheap, or a whore.

The double standard in itself is illogical and self-defeating. If men should be experienced and women inexperienced, it means that men need some women to be available. So there need to be some sluts. So the double standard actually forces women to be sluts, then punishes them for it. LGBTQ people don’t seem to fit in the system, either.

Stopping yourself using the term ‘slut’ (except in a positive or empowering way) has been a bit hard for me. But although I still slip up occasionally, I just apologise for saying it. The best way to avoid saying it, I’ve found, is not to stop making the comments you would’ve made, but instead substitute other words: for example, “a revealing top” “she’s really sex positive”, “she acts like she’s up for it” or “she’s very successful with the boys”. Or, “she’s a stud”.

But I don’t think all uses of “slut” are bad; yes, the use of the word in jokes is bad, because it bolsters the double standard. But if the joke portrays sluthood in a ;positive way, it can’t be bad. So saying “go get your slut on, girl!” or calling a friend a slut as a compliment would be fine. Likewise, words like tart, whore, cheap, easy, been around the block, bimbo, strumpet, tramp, etc are just as harmful as “slut”; they are just Americanized, obsolete or regional versions of the word “slut”.

Slut shaming isn’t confined to bullying. It’s in adverts, jokes, TV, magazines, our language and even our own homes.Together we can stop using these words (except as compliments) and be sex positive.

 

How to fix your Google print after you’re outed online: blogging, anonymity and SEO

This isn’t intended to be used by trolls or people who deserve to be outed. But hey, if they find it, they find it. The internet is a jungle and should be run under the law of the jungle, and not policed any more than is absolutely necessary.

This is a detailed, comprehensive guide, not a 6-step WikiHow. You can scroll down to DIVERSION for intercepting employers’ and others’ Google searches by SEO blogging, or scroll down further to DISCREDITING for info on refuting the claims of those who out you. Scroll down to DYSFUNCTION for quick stuff you can do right now in another tab while you read this (also relevant to protecting anonymity).

A QUICK WORD ON WHY I WROTE THIS

The techie site Lifehacker once offered an article on ‘How to commit internet suicide’ but forgot to mention forum posts and blog comments which you cannot delete. The day I saw that article, I considered writing this. (Lifehacker is a joke anyway; its information is only useful if you don’t own the product it is talking about and can’t be bothered googling the info).  It is almost impossible, if not actually impossible, to commit internet suicide and in any case you’ll probably find yourself on the internet again when you manage a new project at work or someone mentions you online or something. It’s also unneccessary when you’re just trying to get rid of a few posts.

If you’re anonymous, especially an anonymous blogger, it’s worth having a game plan for if you lose your anonymity (whether because one of your ‘friends’ outs you, a journo finds you, someone online who doesn’t like you doxes you, or you out yourself accidentally through posting to the wrong account or letting slip your real name). The best anti-tracking, IP address protecting technology in the world is pretty useless if your own friend outs you or you post too many personal details. I’m not saying don’t post personal details, just know it is a risk you are choosing to take if you do so. If being outed would not be a disaster (or you don’t want people claiming to be you, or are planning to out yourself in future) then posting identifying information may not be a problem. Ironically, though, it may mean that you can not expose much identifying information on your non-anonymous or real identity accounts.

Now, I wouldn’t know much about how to blog anonymously, but although there are articles on how to blog anonymously, the issue of how to go back to being anonymous after outing isn’t that well written on.

Anonymous blogging and sometimes anonymous tweeting or posting to Reddit always comes with the risk of being outed and losing anonymity, but although you can’t completely regain anonymity after outing, you can at least stop employers and friends from finding out. Google and other search engines will keep the record for ever, but pushing Google search results down the page will mean that the only people who know your identity will be those who are trying to dox or hack you, and you’ll be safe from family and your boss. You’ll stay anonymous and maybe (depending on the situation) even be able to get back to blogging anonymously.

How to regain anonymity and fix your Google print once you’re outed

So, you’ve been outed for anonymous blogging, whistleblowing, being gay or transgender, your lifestyle, sex blogging, posting pornography, social media trolling, having previously been a call girl, Reddit trolling, being any kind of sex worker or trolling anywhere. Perhaps a bully has written nasty things about you online, or even posted naked photos of you online with your details and you can’t get the content taken down and don’t want people to see it. Or, you’re still anonymous but want a game plan for if you do get outed (if you post lots of personal information or tend to post to the wrong account then you probably should have one).

The key to fixing being outed is SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. My job is writing blogs for SEO marketing purposes. So if you’ve been outed and there are 20 websites outing you, you just need to create other websites and blogs with lots of mentions of your name and Google will pick them up. When someone searches your name, the sites that out you will be a few pages back.

If you’ve ever googled a public figure, celebrity or online community, you might have noticed that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc are sponsored sites that are right at the top of the page when you search a group’s or person’s name. Blogging sites like tumblr, blogspot and WordPress are usually under these, followed by all other sites. This is great, because it means you only have to create a couple of social media accounts and a few blogs to push the outing results onto the next page. You can create more if you want to push the outing results back further. (You can also ask Google to remove the content, but it takes months and you need a good reason such as libel).

DIVERSION (SEO BLOGGING)

This sounds like lots of work but it’s not. Imagine your name is Kathryn Simpson. If you’ve been outed then all you have to do is create a blog for Google to pick up. For maximum optimisation, make your name the blog title/address e.g. kathrynsimpson.wordpress.com, or if that’s been taken then thekathrynsimpson.wordpress.com, etc. Then for all your blog posts put ‘Kathryn Simpson’ in the title for maximum SEO, and mention your name multiple times in each post. If there’s a search term that people might associate with your name (for example, what you were outed for or where you work) then put that after your name in the content, for example if you’re outed for being a furry then put ‘Kathryn Simpson furry’. Obviously the content can’t out you, and it has to be believable – you can’t just put that phrase all the way through or people will suss what you’re up to. Instead, deny it by making your posts about how those accusations are libel: “Lately some blogs have gone up about Kathryn Simpson furry, though this is not true and it is unclear why people are blogging about Kathryn Simpson being a furry.  It is unclear whether this amounts to cyberbullying of Kathryn Simpson, or perhaps even libel as the allegations that Kathryn Simpson is a furry are not rooted in fact. This Kathryn Simpson furry thing might just be a plea for attention. Or perhaps a misunderstanding; we don’t yet know. More details as they arise.”

You only have to use the SEO term ‘Kathryn Simpson furry’ TWICE for it to work! Although if many people are blogging against you, and if those blogs are also on WordPress or Blogger, try to use it as many times as you like. Using the terms ‘Kathryn Simpson’ or ‘furry’ on their own isn’t that good but they can help if used a few times. Think of it like getting some hot guy to sleep with you – make your blog/site the one Google picks out from all the competing blogs. Bombard Google with your terms until he’s so dazzled that he crumbles and says yes.

Create a template that you can use to do this and replicate it on as many different blogging platforms as you can (especially Blogger, WordPress, tumblr and blogspot). However don’t replicate it 100% or Google will sense that the content is copied and will only show your first blog. You have to change a word in each line, because even one line of copied content will make a blog post or article useless.

Do not blog as yourself, or people will not believe you (though having one SEO blog under your name is okay, but don’t blog as yourself on multiple blogs and sites). Or, better yet, pretend to be a bot (an advertising or scam program which runs hacked blogs/sites for marketing purposes).

If you want to know which search terms are most used to google you, or which search terms lead people to the sites which out you, there are programs for that. But for these programs to be of much use, you would have to be mildly famous (or infamous) in which case these tricks aren’t going to help you. However, these tricks will:

1.Stand by what you did and don’t be ashamed.

2.Or, if it was bad, apologise but try to convince people it wasn’t such a big deal.

3.Write a blog or book about it, or, like Brutsch, get interviewed on TV.

For most people, the search terms used to find them will be their name, perhaps combined with their location, workplace or occupation. So Kathryn’s potential employer might find her by searching ‘Kathryn Simpson writer’. So you can intercept these searches like this:

Kathryn Simpson, a Glasgow writer, has been accused of being a furry by some random people on the internet. These people don’t appear to be from Glasgow or anyone that the writer knows, but this is unclear and time will tell. As well as writing lies about writer Kathryn Simpson, some of these bloggers appear to be targeting other writers, though none in the Glasgow area. Unfortunately for Kathryn Simpson, searches for Kathryn Simpson writer, Kathryn Simpson Glasgow and Kathryn Simpson furry lead people directly to the whole Kathryn Simpson furry mess.”

Again, you just have to use ‘Kathryn Simpson Glasgow’ and ‘Kathryn Simpson writer’ twice for it to work, and using the terms separately will also help.

DIVERSION (SEO BLOGGING: HOW TO PRETEND TO BE A BOT)

This is easy, and actually you can make your outers’ blogs work against them by linking to their blogs. This sounds counterproductive, but remember people are going to see your enemies’ blogs anyway.

All you have to do is the same thing, except with a spammy tone. It’s actually easier because you don’t have to care if the SEO looks contrived, and you can put in as much SEO as you want:

“Are you looking for Kathryn Simpson furry? We have lots of Kathryn Simpson furry! Furry Glasgow fans of Kathryn Simpson will love this. Free Kathryn Simpson furry.We have many furry girls, designer watches, furry dating sites, cam furry writer in Glasgow, anything you can think of for Kathryn Simpson furry! Free miracle treatment WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Mum is 65 and looks 40 Buy Kathryn Simpson furry now! Kathryn Simpson live free Kathryn Simpson BUY KATHRYN SIMPSON FURRY GLASGOW KATHRYN SIMPSON FLUFFY KATHRYN SIMPSON CUDDLY GLASGOW KATHRYN SIMPSON WRITER KATHRYN SIMPSON TEACHER KATHRYN SAMPSON FURRY KATHRYN SUMPSON FURRY KATHRINE SIMPSON free live girls free live girls GREAT DEAL ON CAR INSURANCE” and so on and on.

That way, even if people do find the blogs that outed you, they look less legit after scrolling through your spam sites. Putting different spellings and similar words adds to the spam feel. If you’re outed for being a sexworker, try words like girl, cam girl, live girls, etc. If you’re outed for being kinky, try words like coily, curly, twisted, bendy, etc. Bad or non-existent grammar is also your friend. And be sure to chuck in gems like “mum is 50 but looks 20 DISCOVER HER SECRET” and “free diet pill LOSE 2 STONE IN 2 DAYS” or “8 ways to lose weight fast”.

DISCREDITING: LINKING TO BLOGS WHICH OUT YOU

Now that you’ve done your SEO blog about how it’s libel, link to the blogs as examples of that libel. Say you will post more links if you find any. You don’t have to link to all the blogs, just the ones that come up first in a Google search. Once you’ve discredited a few, you discredit them all. Making up a story like this: “I’d been pestered by certain bloggers ever since drama got started last June on an [insert hobby here] site. Well I knew the knobs were immature little pricks, but I didn’t think they’d actually do this: [link to site]”. You could also use a popular site’s name (such as a new comments section) as the place where the trouble started.

For your spam blog(s) (if you’re doing spam blogs) write stuff like this: “For Kathryn Sammpson go here buy Kathryn Sumpsonn NOW!” Chances are, most people won’t click, and when they see those same blog addresses further down their Google search, they won’t click on them. Even if they do click on your links, they’ll be very doubtful about the content of the blogs, which is a much better result than if you didn’t link and they just saw the blogs via Google.

With SEO blogging, you just want to divert people to your SEO blog, whether you’re making up a convincing ‘it was libel’ story or not. With discrediting, however, you might want to think about a really believable ‘it was libel’ story with much less SEO to make it more believable. Consider linking to this Discrediting blog from your LinkedIn/Facebook accounts or your existing website. Commenting with your Discrediting lie-fest on blogs and sites which out you is a good move, though they may delete the comments. You could also try commenting under other identities so they don’t delete the comments.

DYSFUNCTION (BECAUSE I COULDN’T THINK OF A BETTER ALLITERATIVE WORD)

These tips are also good for protecting anonymity if you haven’t been outed. They might interfere with you networking if you can’t be found, so if networking is essential for your work then try to do this stuff on social media networks you don’t use.

The point of search engines is to pinpoint the information. You need to make those searches go all over the place. By this stage, you’ve done that to an extent – you’ve got several “it was libel” blogs and maybe one or two spam blogs; you’ve created social media accounts with your name. Now it gets easier and more fun.

Create several social media accounts with the same name or display name so Googlers will be confused. You can change a middle initial each time. Facebook and LinkedIn let you have as many same name accounts as you want; they just require a different email address every time. Mail.com grants you unlimited aliases with just one (free) account. With Twitter you can have many accounts with different account names but the same display name, which Google does pick up.

With these accounts, create different locations, ages and jobs. This will really confuse Googlers or anyone trying to dox you, because it effectively gives them more leads to follow up. Doxing is like being a detective; you eliminate all the possible suspects until you have one left. (If you’re still anonymous it’s worth doing this because it will add hours or days onto the doxer’s time, and they won’t be sure which of several identities is yours until they find any blog posts or forum comments where you give out personal information.) Have a few accounts that are nearly you – i.e. a Kathryn Simpson who’s a chef in Glasgow, or a Kathryn Simpson who’s a writer in London. This will confuse them more. You don’t need photos, because if the person already knows what you look like having photos of others will just let them know the fake accounts are not you. Because social media sites come up first in a Google search, creating just a few will push the outing sites further down.

Create other blogs and websites about yourself – showcase your art, cookery, mountain biking adventures, your childhood, your thoughts about films or music, or advertise a service! These can be true; the more sites you have, the further the blogs that out you will be pushed down the Google Search. Or create a blog all about how you suffered from the lies of those who outed you.

OR..

Admit it and run with it. Even if you’ve done something bad like trolling, people might want to hear your story. Start a blog about why you did it and your experiences being outed, fired or jailed or whatever happened to you.

Admit it and play it down. Emphasise how people are exaggerating what you did and how it was nothing special really.

Hack their blogs off the web…but if you knew how to do that, you wouldn’t be reading this post, would you? ;-D

Love, Slutocrat

Conservatism is Dead! Radical feminism lives! (And that’s a good thing.)

This post was inspired by a chat on Twitter with @wordgeeksarah and one of her old posts: http://cunninglinguaphile.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/flaw-in-feminism-parte-ye-firste.html?m=1

(@wordgeeksarah didn’t say any of the stuff below; her point was that nothing has changed in the feminism/sexwork clusterfuck. However if she hadn’t tweeted me her post, I wouldn’t have written this.)

The fact that the radfems created the No More Page 3 campaign is great. The fact that in Britain they are the most outspoken anti-porn group is brilliant. And above all, the fact that the radfems are the political movement which is most vehemenly anti-sexwork (and which hurled the most incoherent hate at Belle de Jour upon her revelation of her true identity) is wonderful.

This may seem a strange thing for a self-identified sex positive feminist to say. We’re so used to seeing their existence as an anomaly and their politics as a joke. (Both these things are true, of course. Well, the second bit is true – I don’t want to get into a comments war on the definition of “anomaly”.)

However, go back a couple of decades, and the fact that Christian conservatives don’t have a virtual monopoly on pornography and sexwork would’ve been unthinkable. In America, it is again becoming unthinkable as conservative values grip the country and threaten to turn it into a theocracy. Guys, we have an actual ex sex worker writing books, having those books turned into a TV series, and now writing a mainstream broadsheet column – and the conservatives are (mostly) silent! There’s no cry of “morality” and “wrong-ness”; instead the buzzwords are “trafficking”, “victims” and “what’s best for women”.

Which proves that conservatism is largely defunct. If you want to enviously bitch about challenge sexwork nowadays, you need to do so from a rhetoric of concern and feminism as Rhoda Grant MSP is doing; a politics of justice and gender equality. A politics of “My God says it’s bad” or “sex is immoral” just won’t fly anymore. The conservatives have been defeated and if they want to re-enter the fray, they will be obliged to do so under the banner of concern and feminism (as indeed some are currently doing.)

We’ve grown up as a society.

And this is great, because it is harder to change the religiously-based cultural conceptions of ‘morality’ than it is to simply show that the radfems are wrong by using statistics and evidence. To speak against the trafficking myths you only have to comment or blog. But changing patriarchal religion-backed prejudices takes much longer. Yes, the war is not over, and sexworkers are being stigmatised (even fired or murdered) left right and centre. Glamour models are extensively stereotyped in popular culture; sluts are shamed and erotica writers generally keep low profiles or write under pen names. We have a long, long way to go and it won’t be an easy road. But this is a major victory.

The radfems themselves were once a marginalized and radical group calling for change. They may be a force of oppression now, but the fact that feminists have usurped the patriarchal religious conservatives means we have won a valuable victory. We have separated morality/ethics from sex, and by the efforts of ourselves and of the generations that have gone before, we have inherited a more reasonable, logical and positive political world.

The ‘law of the jungle’ for a free internet: policing, trolls, and free speech

POLICING

The internet, far from being the rebel space it once was, is now policed far more than real life. You now get three months in jail for joking about child abduction (Matthew Woods) and three weeks in jail for making racist comments about a footballer suffering an injury. (Though I would’ve thought that second one would have merited the longer sentence.) A couple of weeks ago, police were looking for a 15 year old for racist tweeting.

I think this is counterproductive. First of all, I’ve seen many racist comments on news stories that never even get reported to the police. So why arrest and jail teenagers while many others go free? And honestly it just feels like paying lip service to combating racism – especially when racist bullying at school is often tolerated by teachers and racist verbal abuse in real life is treated much less seriously. And that’s real-life racism, not just a tweet on your screen. Throughout my school life from nursery class onwards I was subjected to racist bullying, and a lot of it was more shocking than the tweets people are being arrested for. Arresting teens for tweeting while all this goes on in real life is just paying lip service without tackling the structural problem of racism. The internet is therefore being policed more strictly than real life, which is not right.

Secondly, every country has different laws. So the people being jailed for hate speech here are seeing others get away with much worse hate speech simply because they’re tweeting, blogging or hosting websites in other countries. This is very unfair, and also pointless – what’s the use of jailing Brits when we can see and be corrupted by others’ hate? There should be an international internet law to make things fair and so that everyone knows the law and won’t be jailed for something they didn’t know was a crime (I’m referring to Matthew Woods here, who was only joking. How was he to know that joking is a crime on the internet but not a crime in real life?).

Thirdly, there is the issue of who gets policed. Journalists who say terrible things about victims of abduction, murder and rape don’t get jailed. Jessica Valenti cites journalists victim-blaming a PhD student who was abducted, tortured and murdered. I wrote a post about individuals slut-shaming Megan Stammers (a 15 year old abducted by her teacher to France) as a “prostitute” and “whore” – neatly combining whorephobia with their victim blaming. Not to mention all the hate against the LGBTQ community drifting around the internet. Columnist Julie Burchill recently caused controversy in this regard. But none of these people will be jailed, because journalists and columnists are educated, middle class and priveleged. And many people who comment on news stories are anonymous. We do not know who they are. If only Matthew Woods had joked on one of these comment threads instead.

So policing disproportionately affects those who are not priveleged and not anonymous.

I think the internet should be policed less than real life so that we have a space to freely express ourselves. Obviously, things like online newspapers will have to follow the same rules as paper newspapers, and we need to police paedophiles etc. But with speech the internet should be oliced less or at least the same as real life, but not policed more.

ANONYMITY

Everyone should consider anonymity, because there are no laws to protect you from being fired unless it’s related to political opinion. However, all an employer has to do if they don’t like your opinion is make up another reason why they are firing you. After the Matthew Woods fiasco I personally would not say anything on the internet in my own full name (unless you’re a journalist/columnist or famous. Because journos get away with everything short of actually hacking phones, and even mildly famous people get away with everything).

Personally I tend to classify anonymity into two types: pseudonymity and anonymity. Pseudonymity is what I’m doing. I am not anonymous. It’s been a while since I Googled ‘Slutocracy’ but I’m sure that my identity is only one or two clicks away. This blog posts to my Facebook (which I keep private) and the photos I post or use as my Twitter avi are real photos of me. Now that I’m advertising my writing services on this blog, anyone who wants to find out my identity only has to offer me work (or pretend to). The email address that Slutocrat uses for this blog and Twitter etc is only for that identity. So I do maintain Slutocrat as a ‘separate’ identity and maintain some privacy – but at the same time Slutocrat is all of me rather than a persona. It is more of a pen name and I’m always aware that I’m not anonymous and can be found very easily by anybody. I always blog under the assumption that some people have doxed me already (not that I would mind being doxed – if I minded, I would be anonymous).

Anonymity, for me, is when you really don’t want to be found. Most people start out by just not saying their real name. That’s fine if nobody tries to find you, but you’re not going to remain anonymous if they do. Great tools for anonymity are Ghostery, a free browser add on that stops websites collecting data about you. VPNs 9virtual private networks). Hacktivists and hackers use these, but they can be hard to set up. You can also use proxy servers to hide your IP address if Tor (a free service that hides your IP address) doesn’t work for your blogging platform. (Some articles on how to blog anonymously are at the bottom of this post). Even if you’re not anonymous, you may want to use the free Firefox browser which allows you to browse faster, gives you more privacy and stops viruses.

OUTING TROLLS

Outing isn’t always done for the right reasons, and I’m the worst hypocrite about this stuff. What’s right or wrong is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. But I think we have the right to out people, because journalists do. And they’re just propelled by capitalism and the desire for promotion, fame or a pay rise. The media outlets which publish these stories often target people who aren’t trolling, for example anonymous bloggers and authors. So, if these multinational corporations can legally do this to ordinary joes for money – no matter the damage to free speech when would-be bloggers get put off by the threat of being revealed, why can’t regular people out other regular people who are trolling?

Yeah, it’s preventing trolls using their freedom of speech. And yes, how do you even define a troll – someone who disagrees with you? But if we are going to entrust corporations and unscrupulous journalists with this kind of power, we shouldn’t be that afraid of wielding it ourselves I used to think the media shouldn’t be allowed to out bloggers and writers who are doing no harm (unless they’re politicians, public figures or top level government employees). But such a law might backfire and make society less democratic; it might also cause a lot of case law about who’s protected and who isn’t. Successful authors may also count as public figures anyway; more and more public figures start their journey to fame by writing a book, and though some seem to think this is a new phenomenon,  this has been going on for decades (for example Richard Dawkins, JK Rowling, etc).

THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE

For a free internet, the internet should follow the ‘law of the jungle’ – basically, if you can get away with it, you can. And if you can’t, then too bad. So everyone is free to be anonymous and free to troll as much as they like. And likewise everyone is free to dox and out anyone else without being sued. This sounds scary but actually it was only until very recently that you can bring a civil case against someone for outing you, and that is actually pretty useless because you’ve already been outed. And the international internet law should apply to any hate speech that would fall within that law. The internet should be as un-policed and as free as possible.

LINKS ON HOW TO BLOG ANONYMOUSLY

http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/guide/

https://www.eff.org/wp/blog-safely

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/how-to-blog-anonymously-and-how-not-to.html

%d bloggers like this: