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Privacy 101 - Keeping your paws clean!

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
I noticed a thread was deleted right before I hit send so as a mild announcement here's the lowdown on privacy for Furry spaces. Just in case anyone's curious.

For the sake of clarity and my own personal sanity, I'm just going to assume this thread is for people like me who occasionally get extreme bouts of paranoia and not for anyone/anything questionable beyond that. Understood? Good. Moving on.

For starters, let's look at your phone. Most people have them and it can be easy to get them used against you in all manner of ways if you aren't careful. They also usually have a camera or several depending on the model you have. To solve this I'd recommend the following steps...

1. Privacy Camera Cover --- You can find a lot of different styles on Amazon simply by typing "Phone Camera Cover" or some similar keywords. They're great for being subtle yet secure ways to ensure that only you have access to what is visible through your camera at any given time. They also prevent accidental butt-photos while jogging!

2. Passcode Lock --- For obvious reasons you'll want to avoid locking your phone through anything highly identifying such as your face or fingerprint. In most cases, convenience does not equate to safe and more often than not adds a hindrance to it. I'd recommend choosing acronyms to a song or band that you like and adding numbers and symbols to it. For example Bring Me The Horizon becomes BmTh and then you can add something like a lunch number or bus number that you remember from your childhood school days BmTh110 and some symbols for nice effect BmTh110*! (chances of people guessing behemoth one ten asterisk exclamation are pretty low!). If you have severe memory issues or find acronyms annoying you're second best bet is to use a Pattern Lock, since they're the second hardest things for people to get through. Remember to be complex when making your pattern and have a passcode lock as an option if you yourself forget it. Whatever you do don't make it easy for them!

3. Encrypt your Texts/Calls --- When it comes down to it, our text messages are probably one of the first things people (and angry soon to be ex-girlfriends) will look to when it comes to snooping in our personal business. Fix this by encrypting your messages through making your default messaging app Signal or another highly rated encryption service. Just ensure that you choose something that has no logs to avoid being taken advantage of!

4. Encrypt your social platforms --- Similar to the above, social platform records (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and logs are going to be the next best place for Snoopy and his gang to dig into. Honestly the less of social media you have the better imo but if you MUST have a Facebook then you might as well use their encryption feature. To do this...
  1. From the home tab, tap the plus symbol.
  2. Tap the padlock symbol in the top right.
  3. Select who you want to message.
  4. If you want, tap the timer icon in the text box and set a timer to make the messages disappear.

In regards to Twitter, I'll provide this tutorial from GitHub: https://gist.github.com/colinmahns/e3c38c5eae6c4bf6441d

As it's much more detailed than I could be here - plus, I don't use Twitter so it'd be better for it to be explained by someone who does. I genuinely can't think of other social media that Furries tend to use regularly beyond maybe Discord if you count that as a social media platform. So, for Discord you'll want to take the Twitter route and follow this (experimental!) tutorial on Encryption for Discord: https://github.com/hmerritt/discord-encryption

You see where I'm going with this? Whatever you want to Encrypt I'm sure there's a tutorial somewhere. I don't mean to be useless here, but I really don't use social media so I'd much rather provide links to those who do. ^^;


4.5. Telegram (honorable mention) --- That said, a very large number of Furries I've known/seen tend to use Telegram, which is an already privacy focused chat service similar to Discord but much simpler looking in UI and function. If you're looking only for a social service to speak with other Furries privately, this would be my personal recommendation as a go-to.

4.7 EmailonDeck (honorable mention) --- Keeping texts and calls secure won't do much for you if your emails are full of questionable recipes of how to make bread without an oven or what have you. While there are a lot of Burner Email options out there, I'd recommend this one due to its routine wipes and high security standards.

I wouldn't use a Burner Email for general life stuff, but if you need an alternative messaging platform and Telegram or other social media just doesn't do it for you, then this might be a good route to take. It'd also be a good option if you don't want others to know you pay for Furry artwork.


5. Password Management --- Also another thing that might be useful would be to use something like LastPass to manage your passwords under a Master Password and generate super strong ones to prevent others from accessing things such as your FA account. According to Lastpass...

It is important to note that, due to LastPass' zero-knowledge security model, tracking technologies and providers utilized within LastPass do not have access to decrypted sensitive vault contents like passwords and secure notes. Users also have the ability to opt out of analytics data using their Advanced Settings.

I personally have been using LastPass for years and have yet to encounter an issue with my passwords or account being breached or flagged in any way. So if you want to have a 32 character Password but fear you'll forget it or that notepad with all your passwords will get confiscated, it's time to switch to a more digital playing field. Just remember not to use fingerprint sign on and avoid any option (on any website) asking if you want to be remembered. There's no point in going this far to secure your privacy if people can just open a window and automatically have access to everything without even having to login.

6. VPN Services --- I think out of all the privacy products and strategies out there, VPN's tend to be the most widely known. Many of them don't keep logs, but a lot of them tend to serve different purposes. For example, Nord is usually your go to for Streaming, Surf Shark is the cheapest reliable version, Cyberghost is most reliable for privacy. Though it feels important to say that Panama (Nord) isn't located within the US, so your best bet for pure safety would be with them, as they're not legally obligated to hand anything over. Whatever VPN you choose, using one along with a nice adblocker for convenience is probably the best deal. As always, be sure you research the program and company behind it thoroughly before entrusting it with your private matters.

7. Device/System Upgrades and P.O Boxes --- The more extreme cases for privacy protection would be to completely overhaul what you're using. Some devices can be custom made to have a kill switch, while others are made with encryption and other goodies built in automatically. Choosing to use those along with a P.O Box (*if available) for any shipping needs could help you to prevent feeling stalked (or help to prevent getting stalked!).


While none of these are 100% problem solving and there's more than a few errors (such as ToS issues amongst other things) this would be a good start to maintaining more control of your privacy and ensuring conversations both within the Furry community and elsewhere are much more safe feeling for you and/or others involved. Assuming you do the research and choose what's best for you and your needs. Hopefully this is helpful (*and not already a thread somewhere...ahem...).
 
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Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
I tried posting something about privacy a few hours ago but it got hidden for some reason I'm not sure why exactly but oh well.

to add to this discussion Tor is a good option in place of a trusted VPN service, it's a hella lot slower but in many respects it's a good deal more secure, it also breaks a lot of websites so be careful about that as well.

Also you know any good end to end encrypted IRCs that furries use? or good alternatives to discord in that respect?
 

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
Also you know any good end to end encrypted IRCs that furries use? or good alternatives to discord in that respect?

Unfortunately I'm personally not aware of an end to end encryption IRC that Furries specifically use, and I know Telegram doesn't technically count for that due to it's server being proprietary and using MTProto over a more standard protocol but using Telegram honestly should serve most purposes beyond obviously illegal acts that shouldn't be happening anyhow. As that's not what this thread is for. -_-
 

Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
Unfortunately I'm personally not aware of an end to end encryption IRC that Furries specifically use, and I know Telegram doesn't technically count for that due to it's server being proprietary and using MTProto over a more standard protocol but using Telegram honestly should serve most purposes beyond obviously illegal acts that shouldn't be happening anyhow. As that's not what this thread is for. -_-

Nobody generally assumes illegal things happening, plenty of normal people want and deserve privacy, I'd argue it's nearly a right that should be engrained on the internet, but that's neither nor there.

Besides unless your actually doing something bad, or have good reason to fear purger from your government, the lengths to avoid law enforcement agencies is for most everything else, total overkill and a waste of time.
 

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
Nobody generally assumes illegal things happening, plenty of normal people want and deserve privacy, I'd argue it's nearly a right that should be engrained on the internet, but that's neither nor there.

You're right, I just wanted to clarify for forum purposes. I also genuinely don't know a better IRC at the moment that the general Furry community uses that also allows for a good amount of privacy.
 

Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
You're right, I just wanted to clarify for forum purposes. I also genuinely don't know a better IRC at the moment that the general Furry community uses that also allows for a good amount of privacy.

Better question is, which secure web IRC can we convince furs to use? something with channels as an open and other such stuff, but default end to end security and good privacy tools and policies built into the design?
 

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
which secure web IRC can we convince furs to use

Now that's a good question. A lot of IRC does publicly log though, so keep that in mind as well. Signal might be a fair alternative, but not as feature rich. Session is a similar app to signal that doesn’t utilise phone numbers it is end to end encrypted and does everything signal does (but signal is more popular). I've heard good things about Element as well but haven't used it so I'm uncertain of it's reliability or functionality beyond it's existence as a service.
 

Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
shame... It's hard to get people to move to better technologies, I've heard of element but never bit the bullet since I don't know if there is any furry community within it to be worth while. likewise for Session.
 

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
shame... It's hard to get people to move to better technologies, I've heard of element but never bit the bullet since I don't know if there is any furry community within it to be worth while. likewise for Session.

Generally a good start is just to get you and some Furry friends in on it and move up from there.
If you're only looking to group with 10 or 20 people it shouldn't be as hard a vision to execute as getting an entire community to jump ship for unknown waters.
 

Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
Generally a good start is just to get you and some Furry friends in on it and move up from there.
If you're only looking to group with 10 or 20 people it shouldn't be as hard a vision to execute as getting an entire community to jump ship for unknown waters.

Even getting a number like 20 to move over is hard, at least in my case where I don't personally known any or at least very many furs I talk to, and therefore convincing them to move from where they are, or try other services is hard.
 

Raever

Chaotic Neutral Wreckage
Even getting a number like 20 to move over is hard, at least in my case where I don't personally known any or at least very many furs I talk to, and therefore convincing them to move from where they are, or try other services is hard.

Start makin' friends on the forum and go from there? :p
Why do you feel like you need to move them over to a different service anyway?
What would be the benefit for you to move to said service and what would they be gaining from it by following you?
 

Stylish-Lupine

Funky Artist
I imagine privacy? though more an ease to my own bouts of paranoia.
 
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