Privacy guard for porn: how to surf in safety.
Confidentiality and safety are important to everyone, and it’s a challenge to know when you can trust adult sites or online shops — and when you shouldn’t. Also, we want to be sure our browsing is private, and stays that way, thank you very much. You don’t have to be a sex blogger, answer the wrong Craigslist ad, or order a vibrator online to have your sexual identity messed with – sometimes all you need to be is female, LGBT, or just make a simple mistake when you hit “send”. Worse, having someone find your porn stash when they are not supposed to — or accidentally infecting a computer with a virus when you were doing something you’d rather not tell anyone about. The consequences can be devastating.
Can anyone really be sexually anonymous online? Being outed, thinking you’re “anonymous”, trolls and stalkers taking advantage of online communities, porn laws resulting in performers being stalked, Google’s history logs tracking all of us, and paying for adult goods and services online safely: Internet sexual privacy affects everyone.
* First, read my blog post about online safety basics: a first stop for those new to sex online — how to protect yourself from “The Craigslist Experiment”, and keep your privacy and anonymity intact.
* Listen to this SXSW panel podcast on sexual privacy online: Open Source Sex #64 (direct: MP3 file download). It’s the most amazing sexual privacy online discussion you’ll ever hear. This is the panel I organized and moderated at SXSW: Interactive, including a cyberlawyer (Jason Schultz, EFF), a security pundit, an outed sex blogger (Zoe Margolis, Girl With A One Track Mind), and a Gawker Media editor (John d’Addario, jonno.com). We discuss how easy it is to lose control of your sexual identity online – and how to get it back. We explore obstacles facing individual privacy, including bad or unsympathetic online community management, system and social exploits (like Craigslist baiting and outing), stalkers and trolls, the legal aspects of sexual privacy online and for individuals, and what you can do to keep your sexual privacy, private.
The Smart Web Browser Guide: Cover Your Tracks Before You Make Them
Use whatever browser you prefer with the maximum privacy setup before you go surfing. There are a lot of extra tricks to tweak your browser into getting the best and safest porn browsing experience out of it (especially Firefox). Note: you can leave no history of your travels, but no browser will make you “anonymous on the Internet.”
For Safari users, Private Browsing is your choice to leave no footprints. Before you begin browsing, go to the Safari menu and select Private Browsing: when the warning box appears, click okay. If you want to switch to Private after you’ve started porn surfing, Apple has this great tutorial to help you erase your tracks.
As I mentioned above, Google Chrome has Incognito Mode (under File > New Incognito Window). This does not have you cookied or record any of your browsing history. Incidentally, opening a New York Times article link in Incognito will avoid the annoying signup window. Chrome can be very safe and private: I found out while exploring, testing and explaining how to use Chrome’s Incognito mode (aka porn mode).
Internet Explorer 8 and newer has InPrivate browsing, which prevents your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser, leaving no evidence of your browsing or search history. You can surf with InPrivate by opening a new tab and selecting “Browse With InPrivate” or selecting it from the Safety button on the top right corner of the browser window.
Firefox has Private Browsing (in versions 3.5 and above, which will turn off the saving of: visited pages, form and search bar entries, passwords, download list entries, cookies and web cache files. Make it robust with Firefox add-on Stealther. More on enhancing Firefox for porn surfing is below.
Whichever browser you use, be sure to visit your browser’s website and download and install the latest security patches (follow their directions). Internet Explorer is known as the most vulnerable, and you can set your browser preferences to automatically check for new security and virus patches daily — which you’ll especially want to do if you are on a PC, regardless of your browser. Unlike Apple computers, PC’s (even though the most-owned computers) are the most vulnerable to attacks, hackers and viruses and need extra care, regardless of your porn surfing habits.
Know The Unethical Things That Bad Porn Sites Do
Aside from pop-up window barrages, there are a number of truly lame (and downright evil) things that sites can do while you surf, peaceably trying to have a nice wank like the nice, smart girl or guy that you are. Some of these can be sidestepped with a good browser or up to date security, but others are the hallmarks of irresponsible webmasters that should be blacklisted, taken to task, or at the very least seriously ignored, like really hard. These unethical practices are not restricted to porn sites but to any site desperate for a visit; you’ll find them at travel sites, medical and pharmaceutical sites and even some very mainstream news sites. Here are the main evils you’ll want to avoid:
Browser Hijack: Forces you to sites when you don’t want to go.
Cheater, or irrelevant result of search query: This is all too common throughout the web with non-porn sites as many webmasters will place search terms along their site that have no relation to their content — but I’m sure you’ve seen search results that look like a string of nonsense with your search word embedded in it. This is a cheater and there’s little to be done except not click on it, though if you find it in a porn search site like AskJolene.com report it immediately for blacklisting.
Circle Jerk Linking: It’s not as fun as it sounds — this is a site that looks like a link list or TGP, but all the links on the page are usually blind links to sponsors and to other sites. A circle jerk uses a special script (or program) that tracks the number of clicks that a webmaster sends to the circle jerk. Then it sends out a number of clicks equal to or greater than that number.
Disabling Context Menus: when you right-click or CTRL-click your mouse, you usually get a little menu with various options like “copy, paste, close window”, etc. Some sites won’t let you use these menus so you can’t close the window or other functions.
Disabling Visited URL: usually when you visit a link, it turns a different color so you can see that you’ve already been there — this is a function of your browser. When it is disabled by a site you can’t tell you’ve already visited the URL and may be on a page with seemingly different site links that all lead back to the same website. Pathetic!
Gallery Spyware or Malware/Virus Intalls: True evil — sites or downloads that install viruses or software that infect your computer, and/or track you and report your information to others. A virus is a rogue computer program, typically a short program designed to disperse copies of itself to other computers and disrupt those computers’ normal operations. It must be cleaned up with an antivirus program. Spyware is sends information about your surfing habits to its website. Often quickly installed in your computer in combination with a free download, spyware transmits information in the background as you surf: Also known as “parasite software,” “scumware,” “junkware” and “thiefware,” spyware is occasionally installed just by visiting a site (called a “drive-by download”). Internet Explorer and Windows are the primary targets of these evils.
On-Exit Refresh: when you try to leave their site, they force you to visit their site again, or take you to one of their advertisers or affiliates.
Raising Windows: the offending site’s window (or ad) stays at the front of all your browser windows no matter what you do.
Redirect: This is when you click on a link and it takes you somewhere completely different, or reloads the page as you visit the address you thought you were visiting. It is an outright nonconsensual lie, and a redirect will get a site blacklisted from Google.
Window Resize: when a site makes the window really huge — so big that you can’t resize the window yourself and have to close the whole thing to continue.
A Lot To Be Said for Firefox
Sure, learning a whole new browser like Firefox might seem like a pain in a girls’ ass, but it’s wholly worth it, especially because its precautions make surfing everywhere on the web safer — and Firefox users are constantly creating new ways to combat the newest pop-up technologies and ads being created to side-step even Safari’s pop-up blockers. Firefox is open source, meaning that it’s free and easy for people to create new plug-ins for, meaning that there will always be something new and fun (and safer) you can add to your browser.
A few reasons why Firefox is great for porn surfing (visit this URL to read even more):
* Control: Firefox blocks unrequested pop-ups and disallows most web pages to create hard-to-close full-screen windows. Firefox gives you options to prevent web sites from resizing and focusing windows.
* Security: Malicious web sites can never install spyware without your permission. Wank in peace.
* Privacy: Everything you might want to clear in order to cover your tracks — cookies, cache, download history, history — is in one place in “Options”. Firefox even provides a “Clear All” button to clear all of this information quickly.
* Extensibility: Bookmarklets and extensions can improve your porn surfing experience far beyond what any browser vendor would dare.
* Images: Firefox has an image-rendering library called “libpr0n” and a cute, unofficial mascot named Firefox-ko.
You can turn Firefox into a safe content and link-finder for porn, based on your own preferences with the amazing add-on Bring The Porn.
Go Go Go, Pornzilla
Porn is frustrating for many reasons, but one of the biggies on the web is efficiency — you’re liable to run into lots of wasted time, pointless clicks, dead ends and moved (or disappeared) websites. I believe that porn surfing should be pleasant, enjoyable and time well spent. Aside from visiting reputable porn sites (I have recommendations on this Links and Resources page) who will point you safely toward content, you can tweak, tease and spank Firefox into a mighty porn-delivery machine with the many extensions and bookmarklets from Pornzilla.
At Pornzilla, they deliver “porn surfing, redefined.” They feature an ever-growing roster of bookmarklets, little add-ons for your bookmarks toolbar that can greatly enhance a girl’s porn viewing experience — and it’s as easy as click on the bookmarklet, drag up your screen to the browser toolbar, and it’s all yours. For instance, there are bookmarklets that zoom in and out of images with a single click; remove redirects from thumbnail galleries (useful when a TGP — page linking to many thumbnail gallery posts — makes you go to an advertiser instead of the gallery), hide visited links (useful for TGPs where it’s hard to tell which galleries you’ve already visited) and more.
I really like the Google.com bookmarklets that allow me to search for similar galleries without even touching my keyboard. Pornzilla also has helpful Firefox guidelines for making Firefox even more bug and irritation proof, like investigating Firefox’s “Options> Web Features> Advanced” which lets you control what web page scripts are allowed to do to your browser; you can change your settings to prevent websites from resizing windows (when a site makes the window really huge), raising windows (keeping its window in front of others), and disabling context menus (preventing your right-click or CTRL-click mouse options).
Viruses and Online STD’s
No one wants a computer clogged with tracking or redirecting cookies, which report on your surfing habits to marketing agencies, or send you somewhere you don’t want to go when you try to leave a site (an evil thing called “browser redirect”). No porn-loving girl or guy wants to play “Space Invaders” with a blizzard of popup windows, whether it’s from a pharmacy, travel or random site — or an accidental click on a porn banner to a disreputable page. Just because you want to get down and dirty with your laptop doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a ‘clean, well-lit’ place to enjoy yourself. You don’t deserve a virus or malware for simply wanting to look at porn.
Windows users might want to check out SpyChecker.com where they have an ever-growing selection of free anti-virus, anti pop-up and virus extractor tools. Mac users have been resting easier for decades, as Mac computers have better security, built-in firewall protection and significantly fewer viruses affect Apple computers. Safari (Apple) and Opera both have a number of excellent security features, including a stellar pop-up blocker. In fact, Opera has a huge pro-porn fan base, and if you visit Opera – Naked Joy of Surfing you’ll get all the reasons why people love it for porn surfing, including tutorials on popup blocks, one-keystroke methods of hiding what you’re looking at (called the “boss button”) and much, much more.
Is your PC computer acting weird? Do most of the sites you surf seem to have pop-ups, do you keep ending up on “hot chick” site, is your computer running super-slow, or are you having trouble every time you try to log into Yahoo? You’ve been made a victim of the evils that porn sites do… and you’ll need to clean up your computer, browser, and run some anti-virus software to fix the problem. Investigate these resources for PC/IE Users:
Safeguard Your Privacy
There are thousands of Firfeox extensions, and there are many especially excellent ones for porn surfing; Pornzilla has collected a nice list of several. These extensions are easy to download, and offer a number of great options you might not have considered, such as PaNIC which lets you hide porn quickly, “x” which is a toolbar button that clears private data, and other tools that let you download entire galleries or sites, or show only the first images from galleries before you click so you can decide if they’re even interesting to you or not. Granted, some of these are not for novices, but even if you don’t care about galleries or don’t know TGP from PMS, the privacy add-ons are valuable resources.
After you porn surf, clear your cookies, your cache, the download history (download manager) and your history. Close (quit) the browser, empty the trash. In most bowsers, these items are in “options” or “preferences”. You may clear cookies you might need later, so you might want to go through the cookies one by one so as to not delete cookies you need (like for Netflix or your online mail program). Google saves your search history, and while that may sound alarming at first, you can find out how to anonymize your search history with this tutorial, How to Foil Search Engine Snoops. Also check out SpyChecker’s free Window Washer, which allows you to erase common Internet and computing tracks, including browser cache, cookies, visited websites, typed URLs, recent documents, index.dat files and more. It supports MS Office tracks as well as Firefox and Netscape, Instant Messengers and dozens of 3rd party applications. It also includes an option to overwrite deleted data multiple times, so it cannot be easily recovered.
Still, there are basic general privacy guidelines that any porn loving girl will want to consider commandments, right up there with “always use lube for anal sex”. If you download files, lock them up (with something like MyLockBox), bury them in sub-sub-sub-directories. Don’t surf porn from work, ever (or even a work computer or laptop on loan). Don’t use your real name in forums, and never give out personal information to *anyone* (your real name, your location, your address, phone number, work information, or even places you frequent). Make a dummy email address for signups. Most women I know have been stalked and too many (including myself) are familiar with the restraining order process (they’re a fairly useless formality, by the way).
This info goes for guys, too — don’t think you can’t be stalked, harassed or tracked. Most web savvy people can look up your ISP or wifi location; for this purpose and to keep unwanted spam at bay I recommend using a seperate email account for all porn forum signups. Also, check the privacy settings for all online accounts that have your real name connected to them: Amazon is great for wishlists, but unless you make that wishlist private, anyone who searches for you can find those sex books you’re going to buy next payday. The privacy settings are confusing at Amazon, but worth it if you don’t want people to know you have Family Jewels at the top of your list.
It goes without saying that you’ll want the best way possible to keep grownup stuff private from young ones, and to have control over where your kid’s mouse clicks might land — especially if you want to to impart healthy sex values to kids, from self-image to respect, and safety issues while fostering a healthy and tolerant attitude while giving the youth empowerment to make their own boundaries. Google’s SafeSearch is good, but no censorware can communicate your values — and many censorware companies have questionable ethical standpoints on sexuality and politics. The best route is to follow the privacy guidelines here, always enjoy your private time behind locked doors (or when no one’s home), and to use a powerful tool like the wonderful Bumpercar. Many people recommend the award-winning Cybersitter for PC’s. And when you’re ready to start talking to kids about sex, peruse this list of my highest-recommended books for parents and make the most of sites like Gurl.com (and Boyfriend! for teen males) and Scarleteen.com.
Ethical Porn: Get Off At Good Sties
You think I’m being funny — but there are a growing number of women and men who want porn without the bullshit. Just because we are adults who like to see sex doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be treated with respect as consumers. We do. Again, check out my extensive list of vetted personal recommendations on the Links and Resources page. Reputable porn reference sites include YouPorn, PornReports, Cliphunter, Pichunter, and even Google. (Note that AskJolene has pay-for-placement results, but an excellent primer on safe porn surfing, delivers straightforward results and gives you the power to report liars and cheats.) If you come across any problems when visiting though these sites, report the offending tactics and they will likely get blacklisted and removed from search databases.
And if you find more sites for me to add to any of these lists and resources (especially ones like Cliphunter, AskJolene and Pichunter that let users report cheaters), email me. I also stand behind (and thus am affiliated with) reputable, privacy upholding pay-for-play sites such as I Feel Myself, I Shot Myself, Cinema Erotique, Girls Out West, all the sites under the Kink.com umbrella, The Crash Pad Series and Andrew Blake. Check my right-hand sidebar for new additions to my personally-approved porn club.
There is an entire chapter, and much, much more devoted to all of this (including more link resource lists) in my book, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn.