When you start talking about privacy, there is always a type of person who bristles up: “If you have nothing to hide…!”. To which I say: well, if you have nothing to hide, tell me about your masturbation habits. The truth is that you don’t need to be up to no good to want to keep certain parts of your life private. We don’t owe anyone the whole naked truth about who we are or how we live. Such information is shared on a needs-be basis, and the more private bits of knowledge are reserved to the people we choose to trust with them. So don’t fall for the “if you have nothing to hide…!” blackmail! Your life is your own and your privacy matters. Gossips be damned (or indulged – if they are on your good side).

Here we will look at some privacy basics, so you can keep your personal business, er, personal. We’ll start from the beginning and keep it simple. If you find it too simple, well done you. This is a quick privacy guide for beginners and a useful checklist for those who know what they are doing.

Digital privacy

Most of our data leaks online. First of all, you want to make sure you are password-protecting everything. Your phone, your bluetooth speakers, computer. Don’t leave the default password on your modem. Make sure to lock your computer screen each time your step away from it or set it to do so automatically. Keep in mind that if your virtual assistant is hacked, it can be used to spy on you. If you are worried about hackers taking pictures of you, disable your phone camera. I know someone who just tapes it shut and removes the tape when he wants to take a picture.

Sounds extreme? Well, everyone can choose how to balance their privacy with the need to live their life unencumbered. These are just some of the options you can consider.

How to keep your browsing private

If you would rather keep your browsing history private, use stealth mode (‘new private window’, ‘private browsing’, etc.). Keep in mind that this will only protect your history from other people who use your computer. If you would like to shield this information from your broadband provider as well, consider getting a VPN (virtual private network). You can build it yourself for free, or subscribe to a paid service. Option for the lazy – install a browser that has the one-click option to switch to a VPN (e.g. Opera).

Consider having separate sim cards and e-mails

If you are making phone calls that you don’t want anyone to know about, buy a separate sim card (and pay in cash). Don’t forget to swap the sim cards over once you finish your call! If you are using your own phone, make sure that you ask the caller not to call you back (we usually enquire about this anyway). Alternatively, you can create a new e-mail address and book by e-mail.

You might feel tempted to hide your phone number when calling to book your massage, but it’s not such a good idea. Most agencies and independent masseurs will not pick up a call from a withheld number. It’s not because they want your number, but because they already have to screen a lot of calls from callers who are only interested in some dirty talk.

Nobody should ask you for your personal details when booking a massage

If you are giving your contact details to someone, be careful. It goes without saying that not every person you deal with is an honest one, and every so often you can hear about someone who is blackmailed or has their contact information made public. We will never ask you for your personal details (the only exception being if it’s an outcall to a hotel and we need your first name in case the masseur gets challenged in the lobby) and nobody else should either.

Clean up your digital cache

Do a regular cleanup: clear your browser history, text messages and call logs. If you were driving to your massage, clear out the recent destinations log from your GPS.

Sexting : a hand holding a mobile phone. Pictures of a naked male chest on the phone.

Would you have to worry if your phone was lost or stolen? Photo by Pro Juventute via CC BY 2.0.

Best for last

And finally, watch out for butt dials/pocket calls. Seriously, you may laugh, but butt dials are responsible for so much misery (and hilarity) in the world. If those phones could talk…oh wait.

Non-digital privacy

Bank statements

Paying for products or services by card? Check what it will appear as on your statement. Most sellers of products where discretion is desired (e.g. sex toys) will use a neutral name for the transactions, but if you are unsure – ask. It’s best to pay for massage appointments in cash (and that’s the only method of payment that we accept). If you are concerned about someone monitoring your bank account, take out the cash amount needed in smaller withdrawals rather than one big chunk.

Travel

Don’t want to leave a track record of your travels around London? Have a separate Oyster card, and swap it for a new one every so often.

Heading for a massage? Think of a reason to be in that part of town in case you bump into someone you know, to avoid the ‘ummmhs’ and ‘ahems’. If you are concerned about being seen, avoid massage parlours and opt for private apartments instead.

Personal belongings & privacy

Once you arrive for your massage (and especially if it takes place at your home or hotel), keep your personal effects such as phones, laptops and documents out of sight. Our masseurs would never touch your personal belongings, but if you are dealing with people you don’t know, this is always the best policy.

See how we protect your privacy: see the first question in our FAQ

We don’t keep a client database that could be leaked, but the creepy Urban Massage data leak should be a lesson to us call – be vigilant and keep safe!

Main photo by Bruce Mars via Pexels.