Home Activism #DropKiwiFarms: How to survive the internet in 2022 while transgender

#DropKiwiFarms: How to survive the internet in 2022 while transgender

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#DropKiwiFarms: How to survive the internet in 2022 while transgender
A photo of an internet café

Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti, also known as Keffals, has been under siege from users of a cyberstalking website after she had armed police raid her home due to a fraudulent email. Sorrenti began #DropKiwiFarms to get CloudFlare to stop hosting the site.

We awake today to the news that for the third time a cyberstalking website has found out where the #DropKiwiFarms campaigner and Twitch streamer, Clara Sorrenti, is currently residing. The first being the aforementioned SWATing, the second when they found her hotel room by matching up patterns on bed sheets and now third; where a rumour led to someone comparing door knobs in the backgrounds of images.

What this shows is first and foremost that the site are indeed concerned about the #DropKiwiFarms campaign, which has been reported on in the media numerous times now. Second it shows that we as human beings leak information that we normally view as inconsequential, because usually it is. However with a dedicated enough team of creeps and weirdos it is absolutely possible to scroll the entire media tag of someone to find images of a room in order to compare against the background of your target’s stream.

Anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment has been steadily increasing for the last few years, with anti-trans harassment leading the way by a country mile. That’s why today I bring you a short guide on how to survive on the internet in 2022 while transgender. A few tips and tricks you can use to protect yourself from people making credible threats against your life, because apparently that’s a burden you have to bear as a transgender person on the internet now.

As with the recent example following Sorrenti’s #DropKiwiFarms campaign; images and video can be a goldmine of information. What’s in your backgrounds? Is it identifiable? Don’t just look in the background either, perhaps you have reflections somewhere – can any detail be made out of the reflection in your eye?

The most effective way of avoiding images and videos leading to your doxing and subsequent harassment across the planet is to simply never take photos or upload videos of yourself to the internet. However if you happen to be a content creator this can be tricky, so instead we recommend finding a plain white wall against which to film your videos or take photos, again – making sure to avoid any reflections of landmarks in your eye.

This still may however not be sufficient. As we saw with Shia Labeouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us” flag a plain white wall with no distinguishing features and no reflections can still be exploited. The livestream allowed users to track the movement of the sun to discover it was in England, before somehow narrowing down the specific building it was in and shining a blue light through the window to confirm it.

To avoid this you can pre-record your livestreams to upload them at random points of the day, making sun-tracking impossible. Alternatively, you can film in a basement or with blacked out windows and use lightboxes to light your scene instead.

When writing about yourself or things you have done, be sure to not include any information that could lead back to you. In my case, I was doxed because I spoke about the counties I moved from and to. I also spoke about the kind of degree I took at university. My stalker then found information about people who matched that description and narrowed it down to me. It really was that easy, even despite me never mentioning any specific details.

It is unclear exactly what information will and won’t lead back to you. For example, there was no way I could have realistically forseen that my information would be online in the way that it was. I did not give my consent to my information being used in that way and didn’t have any knowledge of it appearing online until after it was used to dox and harass me and my family. So to avoid being doxed like this the best practice is to simply never share any personal information at all.

That means don’t talk about what towns you have lived in, have visited or even want to visit. Do not talk about things you enjoy such as the kind of music you are into or what your hobbies are; especially if those hobbies have a set location such as badminton practice. Do not share any information about your job or family – even vague information like the industry sector your work belongs to.

When making an account or username for a website or social media platform first fire up a VPN and then make a fresh email account. Give this email account a name that is unlike any name you have ever used before; a random string of characters works well for this purpose and you can even use an online generator for it. This email account will be used exclusively for this platform and you must make a new one in the same manner for each platform you use.

Secondly, give your username for the platform you wish to use its own discrete name, again taking pains to make sure there is no way to connect it to any other names you use. When filling in boxes for personal information, randomisation is the best way to go. Do not give Twitter or any other website your date of birth or any other real information about you.

Now you are ready to start using the platform, but wait; have you considered your typing style? Not enough to go off of on its own for a cyberstalker, a typing style can still be a breadcrumb trail that points towards your vicinity. Try to write differently than you have on other accounts and avoid using niche words, slang, colloquialisms or abbreviations in the same ways or at all.

If you follow these instructions exactly, you may be able to survive on the internet while transgender in 2022. But you certainly won’t be able to live. That’s what these harassment campaigns are about. At best they are pushing transgender, LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent people to the point where they cannot engage with the internet in the same way as everyone else. At worst they are causing untold mental health problems and even reportedly suicide too – which naturally they boast about doing.

That’s why campaigns such as the kind by Clara Sorrenti to #DropKiwiFarms are so necessary and important. Cyberstalking is one of many areas where the law hasn’t caught up to the horrific realities, and so its often not illegal to engage in until after something like a SWATing has happened. But that’s not good enough, people shouldn’t have to live in fear and be unable to engage in our societies because one guy is sitting in a corner recording everything we do and fantasising about enacting violence against us for any perceived sleight.

We reached out to CloudFlare for comment and have received no response. It seems they are content to pretend none of this is happening, while their staff turn off replies and disable email accounts mentioned via Sorrenti’s campaign website. The irony of this not being a valid strategy for trans people to avoid harassment and abuse is not lost on me and I hope that people continue to make sure it is not lost on CloudFlare either.

#DropKiwiFarms