When you enter the online world, your gender doesn’t get left behind.
In her recently released book, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy, Violet Blue examines the intersection of gender and privacy in the internet age. Blue’s guide opens an under-explored dialogue around navigating the web as a woman, and provides practical instructions for reclaiming and protecting personal privacy.
The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy advises readers on topics ranging from phone number protection to password hacking—advice that would benefit users of any gender. But Blue makes a solid case for why being an internet user is different as a woman. She points out that when you’re “online while female,” you’re more likely to be targeted on sites.
Blue notes that when information or photos that are regularly posted online get into the hands of someone “who doesn’t care about us or our safety, or worse – someone who gets off on hurting women – [it] is disastrous, no matter how proud we are of our bodies, how sex-positive we are, or how comfortable we are with being sexy and strong at the same time.”
Female data sets, Blue notes, are also worth more money to advertisers, making women prime targets of companies and hackers seeking data.
All privacy levels welcome
The beauty of Blue’s book is that its useful for readers with varying levels of online privacy knowledge. It doesn’t gloss over the small stuff, like why giving out your name and phone number poses a threat, yet it speaks to more complex issues, like navigating the legal system and the internet when you need photos taken down from a site. The result is an engaging, timely, and instructive read that gets women up to speed on the privacy measure they need to take.
The anecdotes, like the hacking horror story of journalist Mat Honan, ground the discussion of privacy firmly in the real world.
The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy is a quick read and a great how-to guide to have on hand. Its focus on issues pertinent to women—like handling social media privacy settings, safely navigating dating sites, avoiding people search sites, removing revenge porn (when an ex posts private, sexually explicit photos online), and more—only makes the advice more precise.
Here are three privacy steps you can take in the next 5 minutes, compliments of Violet Blue!
• Download a password management tool
• Put a sticky note over your webcam
• Double check your privacy settings on the social media sites you use the most
You can get The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy here.