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Tuesday, February 05, 2008


In a few weeks' time I am talking on a panel taking place at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, USA. I wasn't going to mention this event until closer to the date, but something has just come up which relates to the subject matter we will be discussing: sexual privacy online.

Violet Blue (who's chairing the debate) has lots to say on the matter; I do too and I think it will be a fascinating -- and timely -- discussion. For now I'll just summarise my position: I fundamentally believe that everyone, anonymous sexbloggers included, has the right to privacy;
I will support, protect and uphold others' right to this, no matter what. No journalist should expose information about someone unless a crime has been committed or it is in the public interest. Note: it is irrelevant if the public might be interested; "in the public interest" is something quite different and there are clear rules (here in the UK) about what is considered reportable or not. Just because someone writes about sex it does not make naming them a story that is "in the public interest".

Why do I bring this up now? Because I see that the very same person who removed my own privacy by 'outing' me has just been promoted. I'm not going to go into the whys-and-wherefores about
whether or not that crap Sunday Times article about me was 'newsworthy' because it's old news now. But I mention this 'journalist's' promotion because I wish to warn other anonymous sexbloggers about the continued risk to their online privacy:

If you write under a pseudonym, be aware that your anonymity and privacy might not be permanent. Do everything you can to protect it, but be prepared to lose it. Do not be complacent about this: it may have been 18 months ago that I was a target - you could still be next. Accept that there are certain journalists out there that have no morals, enjoy chasing titillating stories and are happy to tread all over people to achieve their ambitions. Sadly their lack of conscience seems to result in promotion... so don't let you be their next 'story'.

As a final note, I never did properly thank all those people who "inundated" the Sunday Times newsdesk with emails and letters in support of me. An online community indeed. Thank you, all of you.

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