Sexual Privacy Online – SXSW

discussing the aspects of Sexual Privacy online.   Violet Blue, Jonathan Moore, John d’Alderio, Zoe Margulis, Jason Schultz

  • VB: fetishes…online allows you to seek this even if you did not seek in real life, but could cause issues. online can be a healthy way to let people express their fetish. Sexuality and sexuality online calls into question our awareness of the outside world and privacy. if people knew how unprivate it was, they may think differently. It’s personal information in a public space, but they may not be aware of it.  Example – Craigslist Experiment, (Justin Fortuny) putting an ad for hard core dom. Response to ads were posted online.  There have been copycats…griefers gaming online sexual identity.  The language used in the ad was very extreme, it was clear to the educators that the original user was not aware of the terms of the scene, that they were playing with their gender identity.   Other examples are a police officer who was a swinger who got fired for having a site with his wife.
  • Moore – has built and worked with SN, thinks about privacy and security of sites. d’Alderio – editor of Fleshbot. Margolis – girlwithaonetrackmind, Schultz – at EFF. to talk about law and how it handles it.
  • JS: Privacy Rights. (in US)

    • Sexual Activity, 14th Amendment -due process, autonomy, liberty.  Griswold vs Connecticut 1965 (contraception), Roe vs Wade  1973 Abortion;Lawrence vs Texas 2003 (home sodomy)
    • to Speak/Associate, 1st amendment. The Chilling effect. Watchtower bible 2002 – registration requirements.  Doe vs Cahill 2005 Subpoenas and disclosure of person; NAACP vs Alabama 1958 membership lists.
    • Right to Search/Read. Sweezy vs New Hampshire, 1957. about being private about research and reading.
    • Right to info privacy, 4th and 5th amendment. Katz vs US 1967 wiretapping; Smith vs Maryland 1979 third-party phone records. when third party has the info then there is no need to protect you.
    • right to be left alone. Sipple V Chronicle 1984. lots of state laws,
    • law has been built up based on fear of government.
    • so who owns info, is it provate/public, when are you newsworthy, can you ever go back if your info is out there?
  • VB: John, what do you think is the most common mistake?

    • JD: my take is that there is no sexual privacy.  privacy is an illusion. we are at the beginning of exploring this medium, in the flush of expressing ourselves is the risk of being found out. Sooner or later it will come out. but we still deserve the right to be left alone. we find ourselves negotiate this daily. A few weeks ago, there was a sexual ‘celebretant’, had uploaded videos to X-tube, was building up a reputation, we got a tip that was posted on Fleshbot, he had made no effort to conceal his identity, he had 3-4 clips, but had the same account details on YouTube, same username. Some blogger had sent a tip. But then he got emails from ‘him’ asking for the post to be taken down as there were lots of people watching his videos and it was causing him problems. Someone had contacted his parents. So, does he have aright for us to take the material down? We decided he did not – he was not polite about it.  There are ways to cloak your id to make it more difficult for people to find out who you are but he did not take any of these steps. 
    • JS: what if it had not made the rounds and had minimum views?
    • JD: if you are making that step and making no attempt to hide who you should expect it.  The case of the Walmart masturbator, videos on X-Tube. It was on Fleshbot and Consumerist, then on Digg., then CNN and local news. it blew up. he wa wearing a university cap and said where he was doing it, he made it easy for people to find him. He started to receive death threats,
  • VB: now I want to bring in the personal perspective that Zoe brings. You simplywrote stories, you did not put photos up, so how did it leak out?

    • ZM: I don’t think I’ll ever know. I got a bunch of lowers, congratulating me on the book with my name.  I freaked out, as I was anonymous. They made me lean out as they had a photographer.   Then I started getting phonecalls on all my phones, I’m ex-directory, not on electoral role, no idea how they got the information. Then the tabloids descended, my neighbours and family were harrassed. My life feel apart, I lost my job, I was told I was not wanted. My IMDB entry has been defaced, my name was removed from the film, All I did was write about sex.
    • VB: what has changed for you, now people know who you are?
    • ZM: The blog is not what it used to be. I was 100% honest, but tried to hide identities of people I wrote about.  I felt violated, I had my finger over the delete button all the times. I could not continue to write the same way as before I had the freedom of anonymity. People ask me to not write about them. I don’t want their lives to be exposed. It is about what I’m up to. I miss blogging so much.
    • JS: would you do it again?
    • ZM: I would lie to all, not tell anyone I was a blogger, I would not trust publishers, I would hide.
  • JM: it is hard. there are technologies like Tor but they are really hard to use. There are 2 ways of screwing up. You can do something stupid (and you have to know what stupid is) or someone you know can do something stupid.  Security is hard – I know of many holes in social networks.  Social Engineering can get the information. You can’t trust other people. Services will hand over information. You can’t even trust yourself.  Everytime you send an email from hotmail (or other webmails) then the IP address gets sent.  It’s like a postal address. You are exposing inforamtion you don’t know you are exposing. As soon as you make one mistake, you tie yourself to that information. It is so difficult.
  • VB: so I want to know, what you think the greatest challenge is, or provides the greatest risk?

    • JA: if you take it as a given there is no such thing as privacy then you can plan your actions accordingly.  We don’t use adult performers real names. It’s down to establishing the boundaries of the right to be left alone.  The internet is mob rule, look at average YT comments.
  • VB: Zoe, what kind of advice?

    • ZM: expect to lose your anonymity, be cautious.

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