Welcome to the Internet

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Perhaps you are new here. Perhaps you are new to social media entirely. Perhaps not. Regardless of the path you’ve taken to arrive, here we are. And there are some things I’d like to share with you now that you’re here: some Rules of Engagement for Social Media.

Social media can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with old friends, make new friends, and get exposure to ideas and lifestyles that differ from your own. It can be a means for sharing important information, swapping recipes, or soliciting cute cat photos. Social media has a myriad uses, and all of them involve engaging with other humans, some of whom may already be overwhelmed by the volume of interaction to which they are subject, or even beleaguered by harassment from trolls. So how can you keep from adding to this existing burden?

A great place to start is to remember that strangers on the internet do not have the same social obligations to you that your family and close friends do. You are certainly free to initiate a conversation with anyone you’d like, but if you do not have an existing relationship with the person you’re trying to engage, they do not have any real obligation to be responsive. Failure to engage with a stranger on the internet is in no way a social transgression, it is simply maintenance of one’s personal boundaries.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while social media CAN be a great place to learn new things from friends and strangers alike, no one is obligated to hold your hand through understanding these things. The people with whom you are interacting on the internet are (generally) your peers, not your professors. This means that they are not required to explain their statements, or answer questions put to them, simply because you ask. This also doesn’t mean you cannot or should not ask questions, but rather that you should understand that their time is valuable and important to them, and they don’t owe you anything.

So what should you do if you have questions about something a stranger has said on social media? Put in a little investigative work! Your first step should be to check and see what else, if anything, that person has said about the subject in question. Make sure that you’re not responding to part of a multi-piece statement as though it were a standalone comment. Look to see if they’ve posted links to pieces written on the subject, and if so, click those links and read the content.

Your next step should be to consult a search engine. Type your question into a search bar, and spend a little time doing some background reading before going back and asking questions. If, rather than asking basic questions about the subject at hand, you’re asking specific questions about details you’d like clarified, it goes a long way towards showing the person you’re asking that you cared enough to do a little legwork before asking them to put time and effort into helping you understand. Additionally, asking for a person to recommend resources to you rather than asking them to explain things outright is far more likely to elicit a positive response, as it is another line of questioning that demonstrates that you recognize that person’s time and energy as valuable. And of course, as mentioned previously, strangers still don’t owe you a response to your questions.

Another helpful hint for engaging on social media is to make sure you’re respecting the boundaries of others, and only interacting with people who are receptive. If a person asks you to leave them alone, you stand to gain nothing from pushing the issue. If a person isn’t responding to a conversation in which they are tagged, it may be polite to refrain from continuing to tag them into it. If they are interested in participating, and the conversation is public, they’ll check into it and respond accordingly when they’re ready, whether or not they’ve been tagged in each installment. In many cases, non-responsiveness is a way people indicate a disinterest in participating in a given conversation, or in engaging with a person, and respecting that unspoken boundary can go a long way towards demonstrating that you respect them as a person.

As previously mentioned, social media can be a fantastic medium for the sharing of ideas. That said, the things that people say on social media, and the thoughts that they share, are their own. If you’d like to reprint those thoughts and ideas in a different context, especially one for which you are being paid, it is a good idea to first reach out to that person and ask for permission. Taking a person’s statements out of context and sharing them with an entirely different audience than was originally intended can open that person up to a lot of harassment from others and they may not want the exposure. Rather than treating people’s public statements on social media as if they were engaged in an interview with you, reach out and ask if they’ll grant you an interview. Give them the opportunity to opt into or out of exposure, and respect the decision they make.

Social media has the potential to open doors for us all, and as long as we use it responsibly and respectfully, it can be a resource that benefits us all rather than a burden only a few must shoulder.

Cheers, and welcome to the internet!

The Inconvenience of Civil Disobedience

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The memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. is often honored with acts of civil disobedience in the days surrounding the anniversary of his birth. His legacy of righteousness and refusal to obey unjust laws has carried on to younger generations who still engage in civil disobedience in an effort to address the same struggles Dr. King fought, and who often still hear the same criticisms leveled against Dr. King by his detractors, often invoking the name of MLK himself in an effort to shame his contemporaries into the respectability he so eloquently rejected in his actions and in his Letter from Birmingham Jail.

We constantly hear complaints that people are being “inconvenienced” by protests, by acts of civil disobedience. We consistently hear criticisms that these political actions are impacting the ability of people who do not care about the issues being protested in going about their business as usual, and we frequently even hear that civil disobedience alienates people from the causes it seeks to further. If a riot is the language of the unheard, then civil disobedience is the language of the ignored. If a riot is shouting loud enough to be heard, then civil disobedience is pointed discourse too disruptive to be simply ignored in the way that the polite requests and gentle pleas favored by liberal moderate society so often are. Civil disobedience is a firm, unwavering demand to have the humanity of the disenfranchised recognized and acknowledged, and a refusal to allow business as usual to continue until that goal is realized, because for the marginalized, business as usual is simply not sustainable.

What those who complain about the inconvenience of civil disobedience fail to grasp is, not only is it inconvenient by design, but it is not so inconvenient for anyone as it is for those who engage in it. As frustrating as it may be to be stuck in traffic, to have a city council meeting disrupted, to be unable to do one’s grocery shopping, or impeded in one’s daily errands, it is far more inconvenient still to engage in an act of civil disobedience. The organizing of such an undertaking is disruptive to the lives of those involved long before the action itself ever takes place. The action is, of course, inconvenient for everyone present, whether participant or bystander, and the aftermath often involves time spent in jail as well as months worth of legal proceedings that continue to disrupt the lives of those engaged for their duration. Civil disobedience IS inconvenient, and that is the whole point.

People who engage in acts of civil disobedience are doing so because the alternative is infinitely worse. The alternative is suffering in silence while the injustices of the world wreak havoc on their daily lives. The alternative to civil disobedience is waiting patiently while hoping the world will choose to combat systemic inequality on its own, despite clear indications that this will never happen. The alternative is for parents to watch their children continue to be slain by racism, by poverty, by ableism, by a whole host of oppressive institutions who will not be overturned simply because it is asked of them. People engage in civil disobedience, because to do otherwise is to suffer in silence, hoping for change and knowing it will never come. Civil disobedience is inconvenient, but the absence of civil disobedience is fatal.

It is particularly reprehensible to insinuate that civil disobedience and the inconvenience associated with it alienate people from causes they might otherwise support. Not only do people have every opportunity to support those causes in their every day lives, but the idea that someone would have been a staunch proponent of equality, and willing to fight to achieve it, if not for being swayed to opposition by being late to work, or yoga class, or wherever else they were headed is actually ludicrous and insulting. One cannot be a staunch proponent of equality in the face of structural injustice, yet be swayed to abandon it by inconvenience, because to exist within the struggle is to abandon convenience in favor of liberation, whether for one’s self or for others. To engage in a struggle against the status quo is to accept the inconvenience of doing so, so to pretend that people might embrace this major inconvenience if not dissuaded by another, relatively minor inconvenience, is disingenuous.

Civil disobedience absolutely is inconvenient. It is disruptive, it is illegal, it impedes the ability of people to go about their daily business, and that is the entire point.

Should You Hit on Your Bartender?

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The answer to this question is pretty universally “no,” if we’re being quite honest. Bartenders (and other service workers) are already dealing with an imbalanced power dynamic where it is literally their job to make you feel like they like you, and there is a very real risk that rebuffing your advances may lose them their job. Their income, and often even their employment, is almost entirely dependent on how convincingly they act like they like you, and on how much you like them.

That said, if you’re certain there are sparks between you and your bartender, there ARE ways you can go about making the connection without making it weird. Whether or not you should, however…

Now that you’ve made it through the chart, listen up:

DO NOT directly ask your bartender (or server, or cashier, or barista, or whomever) out. They literally cannot walk away and have no choice but to stand there awkwardly smiling at you. Putting them on the spot is 110% completely inappropriate.

So what do you do? Write them a note. Some variation on the following:

“I think you’re really cute, and I’d love it if you wanted to meet up some time when you’re not working. Here’s my number. There’s no pressure, and I promise I won’t make things weird if you don’t use it.”

That last bit is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. If you absolutely must hit on someone who is literally being forced to serve you, it is imperative that you let them know that you won’t hold it against them (or make their lives hell) if you’ve completely misread the situation and they’re not actually into you.

ADDITIONALLY, your phone number is not a tip. Trust me. If you want even the slightest chance of that bartender calling you, you had better tip extra-well. And remember, they don’t owe you anything but the drinks that you’ve ordered.


Stop Snitching: Documentation Without Incrimination Part 2

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So you’ve learned how to document a demonstration without getting anyone into trouble, but now you’ve got a ton of footage and aren’t sure what to do with it. Chances are, if you’re a journalist being paid to cover the protests, your mind is already made up. If you’re not, there are some things to keep in mind. Chances are, if you’ve followed the instructions from my previous post, your photos and/or video footage are “safe” to post to social media. However, if you’ve captured images of someone being arrested or injured by police, you may want to check a few things before posting those images publicly.

Being arrested or subject to police violence can be a deeply traumatic, deeply vulnerable experience. As such, it is entirely possible that people subject to these indignities may not want to have that experience broadcast for public consumption. Additionally, if someone is taken into custody, it is preferable that their loved ones not find out by seeing their image plastered across social media.

Aside from the above, there is one other excellent reason to tread carefully when posting footage of someone’s arrest or brutalization: opposing counsel. In cases of both arrest and injury, the specter of litigation looms. With an arrest, a person may very well be facing charges. In cases of police repression, the affected party may either be brought up on charges later, or may want to file a lawsuit against the police department.

In any of these scenarios, it is best to offer footage to the person featured, rather than posting it publicly where anyone can see it. In the event of a pending court case, this may involve getting the footage to an incarcerated person’s attorney, or perhaps just finding a secure means of giving the data to the person it concerns, thus allowing them to review it (and ideally get legal counsel) before releasing it to the population at large. Even in the absence of a pending court case, reaching out and offering the content to the person(s) depicted, rather than posting it of your own volition, is likely the best course of action.

There are many means by which you can transfer the images you’ve captured; the best is to put the data onto a thumb drive, and hand it directly to the person you’d like to receive it. Second best is to physically mail a thumb drive, using tamper-evident packaging. In both cases, if for a court case, it is possible that you can get reimbursement from the attorney to whom you are supplying the data. Failing the ability to physically transfer data, you can also resort to email, but should avoid this if possible.

It is very true that it may be difficult to find the person whose arrest or brutalization you’ve captured, but it is absolutely worth the effort. The photos you snap, and video you record, and your discretion in keeping them private, may be the difference between jail and freedom for someone else.

SpoOoOoky Spirits

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It’s just not Halloween without spirits! Here are 13 essential cocktails for your spirited All Hallows Eve gathering:

Corpse Reviver:
This classic cocktail is sure to get even the most reluctant guests dancing to the Monster Mash!
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
1 oz. Lillet or Cocchi
1 oz. lemon juice
1 dash Absinthe or Herbsaint

Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Satan’s Whiskers:
Sweet as temptation, bitter as the realization that you’ve sold your soul.
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Dry Curacao*
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz orange juice

Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
*For a sweeter version, Triple Sec may be substituted for Dry Curacao.

Black Widow:
This intoxicating brew is deadly delicious.
2 oz. Irish whiskey
1 oz.  Chambord
12 oz. Guinness

Combine whiskey and Kahlua in a chilled pint glass, then add Guinness.

Heart of Darkness:
This potent blend will make your heart feel like it’s about to jump out of your chest!
2 oz. Fernet Branca
8 oz. hot coffee

Pour Fernet into coffee, enjoy while hot.

Persephone’s Kiss:
A single sip of this will bind you to the underworld forever; I promise you won’t mind.
2 oz. rum
2 oz. pomegranate liqueur*
1 oz. lime
2 dashes orange bitters

Shake with ice, serve on the rocks. Garnish with 6 pomegranate seeds.
*If no pomegranate liqueur, you may substitute 1 oz. grenadine and 1 oz. Triple Sec.

Fire and Brimstone:
Hot and smoky: drink and repent!
2 oz. mezcal
1 oz. ginger liqueur
1 oz. pineapple
1 oz. lime
Habanero bitters to taste*

Shake with ice, serve on the rocks. Garnish with a lime twist and/or fresh ginger.
*Add AT LEAST enough bitters that you can feel the burn!

A classic Tiki drink, this cocktail’s name speaks for itself.
1 1/2 oz. gold rum
1 oz. dark rum
1/2 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. 151-proof rum
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. coconut creme

Shake all ingredients *EXCEPT* 151 with ice, and strain into a glass of crushed ice. Float 151 on top (ignite if you so choose.)

Fright Night:
The only thing more terrifying than this cocktail is the hangover you’ll be facing in the morning.
2 oz vodka
1 oz. Blue Curacao
1 oz. Midori
1 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1 oz. lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain, and serve over the rocks. Garnish with two maraschino cherries.

Serve and drink at your own risk; just don’t name me as an accomplice.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Kahlua
1/4 oz. Chambord

Pour all ingredients into a glass of ice and stir together. Strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.

It’s a swirling, toxic cloud… in a glass!
3 oz. Viniq
3 oz sparkling wine

Shake Viniq, then pour into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Regret forever.

Masque of the Red Death:
A concoction of little substance and remarkable potency.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 oz. sparkling wine

Combine gin, Campari, and vermouth in a champagne flute. Add sparkling wine and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Jack O’Lantern:
Honestly, your best bet is just to set it on fire and never look back.
2 oz. Jack Daniels
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. pumpkin spice syrup or liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

This drink is likely to haunt you long after you kill it.
2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. ginger liqueur
1/2 oz. grenadine
1 oz. grapefruit juice

Shake with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass or coupe.

Checklist for Organizing an Inclusive Event

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Organizing is hard. Inclusivity can be difficult. Here is a live document intended to help organizers cover all the bases, so that no one is made to feel like they are unimportant or an afterthought.

  • Will there be childcare? Regardless of whether there will or will not be, this question should be answered in all event announcements, so parents can make informed decisions.
  • Is this space accessible? This question should be answered in all event announcements, regardless of the level of accessibility of the event. Some things to keep in mind include accessibility for people in wheelchairs, people who walk but have other physical disabilities, accessibility for those with sensitivity to scents or allergies, accommodations for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, content that may be triggering to those suffering from PTSD, proximity to public transportation, 
  • Is the makeup of the group of presenters diverse? This is NOT a suggestion that you include a solitary cisgender white woman, and say you’ve got a “diverse panel.” Your speakers should mirror the groups you are intending to speak TO. If you want your group to feel inclusive to people of color, and white people who are not cisgender men, you should not just be inviting them to attend, you should also be asking them to speak. Keep a public list of speakers, and update it as you add more, so that people can make an informed decision about whether your event really speaks to them.
  • Is there a fee associated? All event announcements should include this information. Additionally, if you are interested in maximum inclusivity but must charge for your event, a sliding scale and/or inclusion of the phrase “no one turned away for lack of funds” can be a huge step.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are all questions that should be answered publicly when your event is announced, rather than questions you should scramble to respond to when someone brings them up. Regardless of your resources as an organizer, or capacity to actually fix accessibility issues like those mentioned above, simply addressing them up front can make a huge difference between making people feel like they were considered in the organizing stages of your event, or making them feel like an inconvenient afterthought.

Your Threat Model is Not My Threat Model

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While this is something I’ve thought about quite a bit, for quite a while, the abundance of attention my blog has gotten recently has made it apparent that this needs to be said:

Your threat model is not my threat model.

I know that with regards to privacy and security, the threat at the front of many minds is a certain three-letter agency whose dragnet surveillance was exposed publicly in 2013.

The Snowden revelations have changed mainstream public discourse around privacy and security, bringing these importance of these issues to light for many who have lead lives of safety and complacency. The problem is, for many of us, privacy and safety have been concerns for a very long time, and dragnet surveillance is the least of our worries.

I know many of you are worried about your communications being stored in a database, accessible to the state in the event that you ever become a person of interest, deserving of further scrutiny. I will not tell you that it is an invalid concern. I WILL tell you that there are other guides out there for you, your concern is not MY primary concern, and my writing (aside from this piece) will probably never center you.

Many others of you are concerned with corporations like Google and Facebook collecting data to sell to third parties for purposes of targeted advertising. Again, I will not tell you that your concerns are not valid concerns. Again, I am unlikely to center those concerns.

Still others of you are savvy enough to be interested in using technical tools to keep yourselves safe from spying, regardless of its source. There are many guides out there relevant to your interests. I believe in advocating the skills and tools that the least savvy among us can use, because I believe that being non-technical shouldn’t mean being insecure.

I will always center the non-technical. I will always center those facing real, physical threat from unsophisticated attackers; adversaries who have no resources but time and malice ARE an advanced persistent threat, they are worthy of being addressed, and those who need to defend against them are underserved by the security community.

If your threat model identifies your primary adversaries as Google and the NSA, I will not tell you you’re wrong, but I will say that you’re extremely lucky. I would trade my adversaries for yours in a heartbeat. That said, I am here to help those who face threats like stalking, like abusive exes, like overbearing parents who cannot accept who they are. I am here to protect those who have snooping employers and prying frenemies. I am here to prioritize the people for whom extensive privacy guides are not written, and for whom a lack of privacy will have a very real, very detrimental affect.

I’m here for the people like me, for the people whose threat model mirrors my own, and because we deserve to be safe.

Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol: In Defense of Ada Lovelace

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day when we celebrate women in science and mathematics fields, and congratulate them on their continued struggle against the sexist notion that women do not belong in those roles.

Ada Lovelace, a Victorian-era mathematician and writer, is credited with being the first-ever computer programmer, due to her work with Charles Babbage on his Analytical Engine. Modern society being what it is, we seem to be incapable of celebrating the achievements of a woman in STEM without calling into question her character, and dismissing her on the basis of what is perceived to have been socially-unacceptable behavior. Two hundred years after her birth, we are still hung up on the fact that Ada Lovelace was… unladylike.

Research into Ada’s past indicates that she drank alcohol, gambled to excess, and was addicted to drugs. In addition, she cursed profusely, and is believed to have committed adultery. These revelations call to question whether Ada Lovelace was, in fact, a role model for scientists and mathematicians everywhere.

Several people have voiced the opinion that in spite of her perceived flaws, Lovelace remains a role model. I contend that Ada is a role model in part BECAUSE of her failure to conform to societal norms. Ada is a perfect example of the fact that shortcomings and a lack of respectability do not need to be barriers to achieving greatness. She is proof that people should not be dismissed on the basis of addiction, proof that there is more to life than clinging to the concept of respectability.

In addition to her drinking, gambling, swearing, alleged adultery, and opium abuse, Ada Lovelace struggled with mental health issues for most of her tragically short life. In an age where we still struggle to accept neurodiversity, Lovelace also serves as a reminder of why we should not dismiss people simply because they do not think or behave the way society has mandated they should.

The legacy of Ada Lovelace is a perfect example of what we stand to lose if we continue to hold role models to impossible standards of respectability, if we diminish the achievements of women based on their failure to conform to an ideal of femininity. Ada Lovelace is an excellent role model, because she reminds us not only of what we can achieve, but also of the fact that we do not need to focus our energy on striving to fit into a societal mold of perfect womanhood. It is shameful to attempt to erase her accomplishments simply because she was unladylike. Instead, she deserves to be celebrated twofold: on the basis of her achievements in the field of mathematics, as well as on her refusal to conform to a patriarchal notion of who she ought to have been, and how she ought to behave.

Auto-defensa en Redes Sociales

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Con muchas gracias á @federicomena por la traducción!

Los acontecimientos recientes han suscitado una discusión sobre la necesidad de tener seguridad operacional al hacer uso de redes sociales. Hay discusiones sobre cómo mantener una presencia en línea al mismo tiempo que se proteje la vida privada y se resguarda la identidad de uno mismo. Esto ocurre en comunidades que nunca antes habían sentido la necesidad de practicar la seguridad operacional, y que nunca habían considerado la posibilidad de ser víctimas de violaciones de seguridad de datos.

En esta era de las redes sociales, hay muchas formas en las que nuestra presencia en línea puede usarse en contra nuestra por muchos tipos de adversarios. Desde acosadores hasta fiscales, cualquier información pública que pueda asociarse a nuestras identidades puede usarse en ventaja de ellos y en nuestra contra. Es importante que conozcamos los recursos que, sin querer, ponemos a disposición de quien quiere atacarnos.

Con el propósito de que la seguridad operacional práctica sea accesible a más gente, he compilado una lista de estrategias básicas para ayudar a ocultar los nexos entre una cuenta en redes sociales y la identidad verdadera de uno. Esta lista no es de ningún modo exhaustiva, y es importante tener en mente que un adversario con suficientes recursos muy probablemente podrá deducir este ocultamiento, si tiene suficiente tiempo. Dicho esto, casi siempre vale la pena hacer estas conexiones más difíciles, especialmente cuando nos incurren un costo muy bajo en cuanto a su ejecución.

1. Usa una dirección de correo diferente para cada red social

Cuando quieres ocultar la conexión entre cuentas en redes sociales, es importante usar una dirección de correo diferente y exclusiva para cada sitio, que no tenga relación con otros perfiles, nuestro nombre legal, o de forma ideal, ninguno de nuestros datos públicos. Usar nombre.apellido@trabajo.com es mala idea; usar sutantivo_al_azar.color_al_azar@gmail.com es una gran idea. Crear direcciones de correo nuevas es fácil, entonces no hay necesidad de re-utilizar una para las cuentas que quieres mantener separadas.

Consejo: puedes usar un servicio como 10minutemail.net para genera una dirección de correo temporal y usarla para crear una cuenta de Gmail.

2. Escoge un nombre de usuario único

No re-utilices nombres de usuario en las redes que quieras mantener separadas. No uses nombreapellido69 para las cuentas que no quieras que estén ligadas a tu identidad legal. Escoge algo diferente. Cualquier cosa. No importa.

3. No uses las mismas fotos

No uses las mismas fotos en los perfiles que quieras mantener separados. Hay servicios para hacer búsqueda inversa de fotos (le das una foto y te dice de dónde salió) y te pueden joder el día. Idealmente, no uses imágenes de tu cara en absoluto en un perfil que no quieras que se asocie a ti – pero si es indispensable, asegúrate que no se pueda rastrear de vuelta a tus cuentas en Twitter o Facebook sólo mediante hacer una búsqueda de arrastrar-y-soltar.

4. Tus pestañas del navegador son TU asunto

No des ningún indicio de que estás usando un sitio que no quieres que la gente sepa: si estás tratando de mantener privada una cuenta, asegúrate de no dar ninguna pista de que esa cuenta existe al tener pestañas del navegador abiertas. Fíjate que no espíen sobre tu hombro mientras usas esa cuenta, y nunca postées capturas de pantalla que muestren las pestañas del navegador. JAMÁS.

5. Limpia tu historial del navegador

Religiosamente. Como en el punto anterior, si no quieres que la gente sepa que estás usando un sitio o servicio, es mejor no dejar evidencia con la que se pueda topar alguien sin querer. Borrar tu historial del navegador es fácil. Usar Chrome o Firefox en modo incognito o privado, y cerrar las pestañas después de cada sesión, es todavía más fácil.

6. Cuando sea posible, paga con dinero en efectivo

Cuando hagas compras relacionadas con tu identidad privada, paga en efectivo. Cuando no puedas usar efectivo, considera la posibilidad de usar una tarjeta de prepago. Que compraste con efectivo. No quieres tener estados de cuenta de un banco o de tarjeta de crédito que establezcan un nexo entre tú y lugares en los que “nunca estuviste” o con sitios “que no utilizas”.

7. No uses tu nombre legal

Escoge un nombre. Cualquier nombre. No hay ninguna necesidad de usar tu nombre legal en las redes sociales. Desde luego que PUEDES hacerlo si te sientes cómodo con ello, pero de ninguna forma es obligatorio. Sin embargo, escoge un nombre al que SÍ le prestes atención.

8. Si quieres mantener un secreto, CIERRA LA BOCA

No hables de ello. No presumas, no lo discutas de forma anónima. No le digas a tu mejor amigo, no le digas a tus colegas, no le digas a ese extraño en el bar. Sólo SHHHHH. Deja de hablar.

9. Usa contraseñas robustas

“Contraseña”, “c0ntraseñ@”, “contraseña123”, etc. no son buenas. Usa contraseñas robustas y únicas para cada sitio o servicio. O mejor aún, usa un gestor de contraseñas que las genere automáticamente y que las proteja con una contraseña maestra fuerte.

10. No compartas información con la que puedan identificarte

Si quieres mantener secreto un perfil, no compartas en él información con la que te puedan identificar. Mantén secretos tu lugar de trabajo, tu escuela, tatuajes, y el lunar en tu nalga izquierda; no hay ningún beneficio en compartir estos detalles en una cuenta que no quieres que se pueda ligar a tí.

11. La “negación plausible” es una pésima idea

Si tu seguridad operacional es tan mala que depende de la negación plausible, es casi seguro de que no eres capaz de lograr la negación plausible. Es mejor compartir información falsa desde el principio que poner información verdadera, y luego intentar mentir para encubrir su relación contigo. Si confías en la negación plausible para mantenerte a salvo, estás jodido.

12. Si te reconocen, ya te jodiste

No tengas reuniones clandestinas en lugares que frecuentas en tu vida normal. Basta con que un solo trabajador, o cliente frecuente, etc. te reconozca y te llame por el nombre equivocado para que se rompa tu disfraz. Basta con un comentario inocente a alguien en tu vida normal para que se sepan tus secretos. Escoge un lugar en donde sea poco probable que te reconozcan; vístete de forma diferente a como lo haces normalmente; y no vayas más a ese lugar en tu vida normal si puedes evitarlo.

13. Las coartadas pueden ser útiles, pero son complicadas

Usa tu tarjeta bancaria o compra un boleto del cine o paga por comida en un lugar al que vayas frecuentemente. El problema con muchas coartadas es que dependen de que alguien más mienta por tí, lo cual es una violación del punto número 8. Si vas a construir una coartada, es mejor fabricar evidencia que depender de testimonios falsos.

14. Compartimientos estrictos

La primera regla del Club de la Pelea es, no hables del Club de la Pelea. La segunda regla del Club de la Pelea es, NO HABLES DEL CLUB DE LA PELEA. Esta regla va en ambos sentidos: así como no debes discutir tu vida secreta durante tu vida normal, tampoco debes discutir tu vida normal en tu vida secreta. No lo hagas. Mantenlas completamente separadas; que no se crucen, no hagas alusión a ellas, nada.

15. Mantén la compostura

Si quieres salirte con la tuya y mantener un secreto, debes mantenerte tranquilo. Cuidado con ponerse visiblemente nervioso. No te sonrías cada vez que alguien dice la palabra “secreto”. Controla tus expresiones faciales y tus reacciones a la gente que te rodea. Ten en mente los nombres a los que debes responder en cada situación. Mantén la calma.

16. No seas arrogante

Mantener una identidad requiere de alerta constante. La seguridad personal nunca está garantizada, y esto nunca hay que olvidarlo. La arrogancia lleva al descuido, el descuido lleva a que te descubran.

17. La perfección exige práctica

Ninguna de estas habilidades es innata. Todas requieren de mucha práctica. Puedes darte cuenta que necesitas comenzar desde cero, y comenzar en una hoja en blanco una y otra vez. No hay vergüenza en el fracaso, pero es importante acordarse de que Internet nunca olvida; es mejor errar con cautela y añadir información a medio camino, después de sopesar los riesgos.

Una vez más, aunque esta lista no es de ninguna forma exhaustiva en cuanto a todas las precauciones que podrías tener, y aunque estas precauciones pueden no servir contra adversarios con suficiente tiempo y recursos, son absolutamente útiles y una forma fácil de minimizar el riesgo de acosadores, miembros peligrosos de tu familia, patrones chismosos, e incluso adversarios de bajo nivel del estado. Las redes sociales pueden ser un punto vulnerable para muchos de nosotros, pero a través del manejo cuidadoso de identidades, se puede negar algo de esta inseguridad al mismo tiempo que se mantiene una firme presencia en línea.