Sorry, have I seen your face before? You look familiar…

In our previous article, we were informed about the fact that dating sites hold on to your account details in case we choose to reinstate our account, possibly for an indefinite period and that facebook retain our details for two and a half years.

The provider of that information, Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, also suggests that photographs we upload to our dating site or social media platform may be given an indefinite home on servers external to that of the website we have made our online dating home. This all makes it so much easier for social media sites to build up a picture of you even if you have just browsed their site. If they have your IP address from your visit and that information is stored in a deleted account somewhere in dating cyberspace, they already know a lot more about you when you sign up than you think they do, even if you’ve only clicked through and looked at one photograph of a potential partner in the past.

As promised, Mr Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has provided some key information about how you can avoid this anonymous detection or, if the dating site is not that sophisticated, you can throw them a few less-advanced curveballs to put them off your scent.

As when they teach you internet marketing, sign up for a free e-mail address in the pseudonym which you’ll use to join your dating site and use it only for that purpose. When you’re done with the dating site, bin the e-mail account.

Never give the site your personal information unless you absolutely have to. This includes your name (the real one) and most definitely any credit or debit card information. You may not have information where this is stored, even after you close your account.

If you can stretch to it or find a free one, use a VPN (virtual private network). These are not bad services and often run a broadband service cheaper than you’d get through a telephone line rental company. What effect that gives you is, even though you log on as normal, it diverts all communication in a very real time manner through their network and IP address so that the dating site’s servers cannot trace your IP to you. Clever stuff.

Other advice, from Help Net Security, touches on your dating site profile photo, or galleries. If the photo of you has been tagged, there is an excellent chance that the image will be stored on an external server in perpetuity. There are services that allow you to search for an image online anywhere, such as tin-eye. When signing up under a pseudonym, either scan to see if a previous picture of you is stored anywhere online or upload a brand new one and attach it to your alter-ego’s profile under its name!

And lastly, before you sign up to a dating site, if keeping your real name discreet is a must, check out the sites t’s & c’s. They should disclose if they make any of your information, including the photo, searchable to the crawlers of the biggest engines, giving you (and them, of course) maximum coverage. If you do not want to be widely known as using a dating site that uses this facility, then either sign up following the guidelines above for anonymity or do not sign up at all.

And if you leave a bad comment on dating.org.uk about today’s articles, trust me when I say, I know who you are and I will come and find you! (joke)

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