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Hiding who you are, where you are. Not what you are saying.

Hiding what you are saying, but not who you are.

IP number
The 4-part number that the internet uses to send webpages you have requested back to your computer. This can lead investigators back to you personally. It can reveal the town where you connect to most any recipient.

Using a secret code so that strangers cannot read data that you send. There are many kinds. The recipient must know how to perform the decryption.

Encryption "key", a passphrase, a long series of keyboard characters that is not in any dictionary. Impossible to guess. Can include upper and lower case, numerals, punctuation. The quality of encryption depends on the difficulty of the passphrase.

computer files
Unwanted information on a computer (yours or your friends) that may reveal emails, what websites you view, documents you collect - even after you delete them. Computers are commonly confiscated at the first suspicion of your attractions (on or off the computer) by local authorities.

This information is current and valid Nov. 2009

ANONYMITY - The first danger with email is that almost all emails have an IP number that anyone can usually trace back to your hometown internet company, where you connect with the internet. From there, a request to those folks, with some crap about protecting children, may get them to reveal details of your account and the phone number used to access their services. If not that, then certainly a court order from any small-town court will do the trick. Our first job is to make sure that the email we send out does not have our IP number on it.

PRIVACY - The other danger is in people online being able to read your email, even if they don't know who you are or where you are. Many of the larger email services (Google, Yahoo, etc.) now read all mail in and out, by machine, looking for keywords to determine what you and your friends are interested in!!! They do this in order to present you advertising on the webmail site that is exactly matched to your interests (such ads bring in big bucks). I just can't believe that others, the government at least, aren't interested in certain keywords. I wonder who else has access to these profiles they keep on what you discuss in email. And how soon till it is for sale to anyone who wants to know.

The answer for this, or course, is encryption of the text of the message. In the past, this has always been messy. Both people involved had to have encryption programs and skills. And a trusted way to send passwords back and forth. But no more. With advances in privacy for internet banking, it is possible now to have fairly safe communications with a website. Free from any snooping by school/corporate mailservers, ISPs, or "sniffers" along the way.

So I recommend (and to publish your email address here at AgeTaboo, we insist on it) a "safe" email setup. One easy solution to avoid sending your IP number out, thus keeping your location and identity safe, is fastmail.fm. Get a free account with them and use it with your friends. Your messages and email addresses to-and-from won't be secret, but your hometown and tracking information will be. You must log in every 6 weeks or lose your account with Fastmail.

The absolute best free protection available, and what I strongly suggest to discuss boy-related matters with others, is a free email account with hushmail.com. If you and your friend both have a hushmail account, you have complete keyboard-to-keyboard encryption through the magic of modern technology. Not even Hushmail can read your mail. They also have an encrypted service to people from other email services. You use a secret word that you think they will probably know, with a hint, to encrypt the message. But for real boy-related discussions, nothing beats each of you getting a Hushmail account for that purpose. You must log in every 3 weeks or lose your account with Hushmail*.

A few hints when creating a Hushmail account. Step 1, you don't need to get an "automatically generated" username. It's always nicer to choose your own. Step 4, "advanced options", "enable java". This is the key to the keyboard-to-keyboard encryption. Once you click on "create", give it a minute to work.

A word about passwords (well, long enough to where we call them passphrases). With Hushmail they not only give you access to your account, but they provide the solid encryption that is the key to the absolute safety. Make them long, include upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces... Don't forget them, but don't leave them written down laying next to your computer either. I keep mine written down backwards on a tiny scrap of paper in my underwear drawer. Mostly just make it something you will remember, and don't let Windows or your browser remember it for you.

If you are a big-time user of email relating to boylover activities and material, or suspect that you are at higher risk than normal, then I can most highly recommend an email service for you. It offers many many special services (a special evasive network scattered around the globe, that does not respone to any court orders, a choice of BL or "neutral" email domains, several additional email names that work with the same inbox/outbox, totally anonymous payments, everything a serious BL could ask for). $20 a year. I am not going to give out too many details here. The service is by invitation only. I may be able to get a big discount for under-18 friends that I can vouch for. Email me at cody@agetaboo.org and find out more.

You know what's really fun? To get a bunch of teen boylovers all emailing each other, and every reply is sent out to all the addresses of the group. A completely safe, secure discussion group.

* Like any service, they must respond to a court order if possible. Hushmail has done so occassoinally in the past, by cracking their own encryption (not a simple task, and something no one else can do) but ONLY if it comes directly from the Supreme Court of British Columbia (not something minor agencies are going to mess with). After all, you have not broken any laws.
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