Many bloggers and authors take steps, some extreme, to protect their privacy. A whole range of occupations and personal situations can spell danger for an adult “caught” practicing consensual kink. These occupations and situations include:
- Law enforcement officers
- Mental health practitioners
- Religious officials
- Health practitioners
- Nannies and daycare providers
- Drug enforcement officers
- Employees in jails, courthouses, and correctional institutions
- Parents involved in child custody cases and/or divorce proceedings
- Those being prosecuted for a crime (according to a panelist at Rainbow Con, possessing an erotic novel was considered evidence toward proving that someone intended to harm a child)
As an author who writes naughty fiction, including kink and what some have termed erotic work, concerns of privacy are utmost. A year ago, Ohio school teacher Carol Ann Eastman received sanctions for writing erotic fiction (on her own time, her own dime, and in the privacy of her home). When Clint and Chelsea of Learning Domestic Discipline gave an interview describing their marital practices last year, the consequences were far-spread. Domestic discipline bloggers shut down their sites or took them private as news centers called asking for interviews. Commenters questioned whether domestic discipline meant abuse and placing children at risk. (Clarification: domestic discipline never involves spanking children. It happens between two consenting adults, but some commenters wondered whether a couple practicing DD were fit to raise their children.)
The difficulty about protecting one’s safety online is that many people auto-upload photos to their social media sites without thinking of the potential consequences. In the past, I have been harassed (constantly, for weeks) to show a photo of myself to someone I only knew online. The person even went so far as to make jokes about it, completely unaware of the real distress being caused.
In our digital age of constant access to social media, it may be difficult to understand hard personal boundaries. I accept that the lines are different for many people, and some people may feel completely indifferent about protecting their privacy online. Some kink authors display their photos, give out their hometown information, and hand out their phone number to anyone who asks. That’s wonderful, and I applaud them for having the life circumstances that make such openness possible.
For others, being outed would have disastrous consequences. In Freiya’s Stand, my upcoming novella, two teachers at a Catholic K-12 school are slapped with a morality clause as a condition of their employment. They must sign agreements not to engage in pornography, adultery, or homosexuality. To refuse to sign, or to be shown as violating the terms of their covenant, will mean dismissal from their jobs. Without a letter of recommendation, they would never be able to get another teaching position. If being gay/lesbian could mean losing their jobs, imagine what would happen if Freiya or Sabrina were outed as authors of kink!
In my case, people have abused trust regarding photos. I have found my photo advertising causes I found wholly opposite to my personal beliefs. My photo has been displayed publicly (in high-traffic areas, no less).
This isn’t the case for all authors, bloggers, and readers. Some are more open about their naughty secret identity; some use their real names. Some are retired and couldn’t care less who knows their identifying details.
How about you? How do you feel about issues of privacy regarding videos and photos online?