So you want to post some adult content online as a side hustle or as your full time job, great!
BEFORE you do, we’d like to make some suggestions, many of which work best if you do them before you start your new job. It’s a scary world out there and if you wander in unprepared, you may be putting your safety and privacy at risk. It's up to you to decide what level of risk you are comfortable with, but this post will hopefully help you understand the risks better so you can at least make informed decisions.
In order to ensure your privacy, safety and security as much as is reasonable, you should create an entire set of accounts for everything that is remotely to do with your new work / job for your adult content identity.
Social media accounts, amazon accounts (for wish lists), email accounts used for signups to adult sites, toy vendors, and a phone number, yes everything.
Unfortunately, some people get inappropriately attached or involved with internet celebrities or adult performers. This can range from just inappropriate messages, to stalking, to even deadly actions. The internet has gotten very good at something called Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) which can be used for fun, for good, or for evil.
OSINT is when you use publicly accessible sources to research a person, or organization. You are leveraging OSINT when you search someone’s username that they use consistently across social media, or when you reverse search an image to find something you found online and wanted to purchase. You can quickly get a surprising amount of information, especially in the United States as things such as home ownership are considered public. An example of how this is used for good is finding missing people https://www.tracelabs.org/initiatives/search-party, and for journalism and fact checking like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellingcat, or even mundane and now common, checking up on someone before you go out on a date. However these tools and techniques can be used to harm as well.
So what do we recommend you do to protect yourself? (This is only a start!)
Create a consistent stage name, birthday (not your real one), location, new phone number and new email address. Come up with different names for anyone you will potentially reference (significant other, roommates, day job). This includes pets since unique pet names can be a point of reference for OSINT to lead back to your offline identity.
For various reasons, you must use your legal name when signing up for the model programs, bank accounts or some other services as they need your real name, birthdate and usually your ID to verify you. Unfortunately this means if the site you host your content at is hacked, someone will get all of your real information. However, major model sites getting hacked is not a frequent occurrence. A much higher risk (and what this post is concerned about) is you unwittingly giving out enough information for someone to connect your work identity and your real identity. Except where you are legally required, consistently use your stage identity instead. Keep your stage name and information documented for your own reference, and keep it consistent. The goal is to break any connections between your real and stage identities.
You may think your name is no big deal (unless you have a super unique name), but in many places, you can find someone’s home address just using their name and a state! Here is one website (it works for texas and pennsylvania well, I am not sure about other locations) https://www.anywho.com/
Did you know that you can also find someone’s name by entering their address, in many states, by looking up the property taxes online - it is suggested, and people have used this to make offers on homes not yet listed for sale as you can see here: https://www.point2homes.com/news/tips-tricks/home-buying-tips/how-to-find-out-who-owns-a-property.html
Social media and fan interaction is essential, however it too needs to be done with some forethought. Get a separate phone and phone number for your work. You will want to buy a completely separate (prepaid without having to disclose your address, if possible) phone. If your address is required consider using a P.O. box or forwarding service (More on that later). Do all work stuff on this phone! This is where all your apps used for work should be. It should be what you take your pictures with (pictures can contain an ID for the device that takes the photo) and use to post them. Turn off location services (GPS or others), and when not in use, turn off wifi and bluetooth. Use this phone number when signing up for all accounts that require it. In this way if a site leaks the number or is hacked, the number doesn’t lead to your front door. Ideally you should not travel with both devices, leave it home and off when you can since some social media can determine your identities must be friends because they are always in the same place and thus recommend you to the friends of the other.
Example: As part of the Tea and Tits project I did NOT use a unique phone number to pass the spam detection for signup on Twitter, and did not disable many of the privacy invading features. In less than 24 hours a friend of mine had my new account recommended to them as an account to follow. Within 48 hours three friends had been prompted to follow my new account without any prompting or effort on my part.
If you can afford it, have a separate work computer. If you can not afford two devices (yet) you should use two separate browsers (i.e. Chrome for personal, Firefox for work). At the minimum use “incognito mode” on your browser at all times if you can not have two separate browsers installed. You should also uninstall all non-essential browser add-ons for the work browser, or only the bare minimum you need to work. These can leak information about yourself and the device, and be used to connect your two identities. Using incognito mode can minimize online ‘tracks’ that could potentially leak. As soon as you can afford it, use two different devices and do not mix them. (i.e. Only login to work stuff on the work computer, and only login to personal stuff on the personal computer)
Here is one example why browser add-ons can be risky: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/07/18/i-found-your-data-its-sale/
Make sure your devices (phone, computer, and toys) are up to date! (Apply updates and patches as soon as they are available).
Try to use only reputable extensions to connect your toys to the sites (i.e. from the toy manufacturer themselves), and try to purchase only major brand name toys. If it’s cheap, there’s less chance they are taking security seriously.
Create all new accounts for work. Use your stage name to create email account(s), model accounts, amazon wish lists, cashapp, venmo, etc. All work accounts should be consistent and should NOT use your personal accounts. If you can’t create a unique work account, do NOT use it with customers / clients / fans! (i.e. PayPal requires a real name, don’t share your paypal with anyone and dont’ use it for any work purposes). Stick to middleman services that many adult sites offer for tips and payments. They will take a portion, but they ensure your details are not exposed to the public. If you do create an account for work on such a service and share it, be aware some cash apps like venmo make all transactions public by default, so you want to turn things like that off!
You should never share information between your personal and work accounts, so don’t friend yourself or your real life friends. Ideally if you can afford it you should have completely separate devices. This is important because you probably would prefer to be in control of when friends and family know about your new line of work, and how they are told (and if they are told). If you don’t have unique devices and accounts, “helpful” features like “people you may know” or other recommendation algorithms can ‘out’ you based on your location, phone number, email, or other factors to people you may know, or to your fans who you may not want to share your offline identity with. Here is an example of Facebook outing sex workers: https://gizmodo.com/how-facebook-outs-sex-workers-1818861596
Protect yourself from OSINT and metadata leaks:
When taking non-live content, be sure to scrub (remove) your Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data from images - not all sites remove this information which is stored in an image when you upload them. EXIF is handy for your personal pictures, it allows Google or Apple to tell you where, and when, and on what device a picture was taken. Here is a writeup explain EXIF and how to view it: https://photographylife.com/what-is-exif-data (skip the browser plugins and read the section on viewing it on your Operating System (OS). There are many tools out there that can remove the EXIF (like Photoshop), I recommend https://exiftool.org/.
Exif isn’t the only risk with images and videos please be as careful and considerate of what can be seen in the images - be aware of reflections, what can be seen outside the window, the location of the sun and the weather, what outdoor plants can be seen, unique or custom art and decor, as well as unique items such as tattoos on yourself. People can reserve image search specific elements to find out what hotel you are at, or other information to connect your identities. Anyone can screenshot or grab any content you put online, and then share it. This is why being careful and consistent with what you say, share, type, and show is important.
An example of using an image to find a location: https://medium.com/osint/how-an-investigator-can-find-your-location-from-one-photograph-8ece82c4380f
Example: Stalker locates someone using a reflection from an image she posted: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50000234.
UPDATE: Example and analysis of what services scrub metadata from images and which do not, and examples of how metadata in photos can be used against you: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/exif-metadata-privacy/
Ideally your stated location should not be where you actually are.
Being personable and interacting with fans is essential. Often you may want to talk about your location. Your city or your neighborhood, even what country you are in. This carries its own risks. Since you are creating much of the other details about your identity, you can also choose to tell fans that you are in a location different from where you actually are. Choose your location as far away as you can, but you need to still be able to talk fluently and accurately about that location. It could be simply the other side of town (if you’re in a city big enough), or if you can afford a remailer service somewhere you used to live and can speak about with some knowledge, perfect! This remailer address should be the same location you say you are in to avoid tipping your hand.
Many content producers accept gifts from fans via wishlists or other such services. You never want these to ship to your home. A Post Office box or forwarding service is essential. However picking one that’s convenient can be a problem in and of itself. People can ship you gifts, and if your PO Box is near your home, they have a place to start looking for you. If it’s an area you frequent often, the chances of being identified increase. Since they know you will show up there eventually, having it far away makes it easier to avoid being seen casually in the area. You have to make a specific trip to that location and can take some steps to disguise yourself to avoid anyone who may be watching for you. Also consider varying your route to and from the P.O. box in order to throw off anyone who may be following. This is why forwarding services can be useful since it adds a layer to hide your location.
Be aware of your environment. Things like time zones and even the position of the sun through a window as they can tip people off to your true location if they are very different. Be sure to avoid mentioning specific local events (storm, power outage, specific farmers market, local events, etc) as people can locate where at the moment that is, and use that to ID where you really are. In general, you want to be as vague as possible anyways. Reporting that you’re not able to be online due to a water main break may be a courtesy to your fans, but also gives them a tidbit of information to use.
Other technical measures:
Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) - VPN software encrypts your internet traffic from your device and sends it to another location before joining the general internet. It’s great if you are on a shared wifi, like at a hotel, to avoid others snooping your traffic and noticing there is an adult performer in the hotel. I personally use PureVPN but almost any security reviewed VPN will do. You can even use these services to give you an Internet protocol (IP) address in a different location than where you are. This is great for keeping up the pretext of being somewhere else if needed as people can use an IP to locate your approximate location if they can get a hold of it.
We recommend avoiding talking to the press (journalists, podcasters etc). Although it may sound favorable it can end poorly - https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/onlyfans-emt-lauren-kwei-1103336/
- We recommend check in with other models of the specific site they are using for their own specific tips and tricks. Many have well written guides to safety considerations to take on the specific site
- Smart girl’s guide to privacy https://nostarch.com/smartgirlsguide
- OSINT For Sex Workers - Defcon 29 Recon Village
- The Modosi Project
Want to find out a bit more about OSINT?
Please note this is no way comprehensive, but we hope it enables you to get started from the best position you can, and then enables you to find out more within the community you have joined to enable yourself to have a successful job, or side job.
This post will be updated periodically as new recommendations are added.