Online privacy guide for the LGBTQ+ community

William S. | June 22, 2022

Even though it is 2022, the LGBTQ+ community still faces stigma and prejudice, making online privacy essential for them. LGBTQ+ people's data is being used against them to follow their location, and obtain incredibly personal insights into their preferences,  they must be aware of the devastating effects that their online lives can have on their offline lives.

Consider what may happen if someone's sexual orientation is revealed as a result of a data breach: there could be severe repercussions, including potential discrimination, job loss, strained family ties, and even physical damage.

According to The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey, 73% of LGBTQ youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime. In addition, a report by GLAAD from 2021 found that 64% of LGBTQ social media users experience harassment and hate speech.

Discrimination and harassment targeted at the LGBTQ+ community can create a feeling of insecurity. The challenges faced online affect the mental health of LGBTQ+ people and can spill over to the real world.

Privacy risks LGBTQ+ people face online

Dating apps reveal a lot of personal and sensitive information, so a breach can cause users significant issues. They frequently require you to join in with a social media account and track your location in order to match you with other users based on proximity. 

A report from Recording Future in 2020 revealed that popular dating apps, such as OKCupid, Grindr, and Tinder, collect user data — including users’ exact location, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political beliefs, drug use, and more. In addition, they share that data with at least 135 different third-party entities.

Profiles are increasingly used to make decisions about a person, and acquiring user data is one way that feeds this prejudice. Governments and businesses are using this data for their benefit. LGBTQ+ people can be profiled and discriminated against when assessing their credit score or looking for a job.

Another issue the LGBTQ+ community can encounter is catfishing. Some people might specifically target members of the LGBTQ+ to assault or rob them. Besides, catfishing can lead to other attacks on the person, such as doxxing, which could potentially forcibly out a person from the LGBTQ+ community.

What can I do for more privacy?

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, here are some cybersecurity tips that will help you take more control of your online privacy:

  • Don’t overshare online: Keep your social media accounts private and create a username instead of using your real name. Be careful of what you share online, evaluate what data you are giving away about yourself, and if it is really necessary. Harassers could use any information to identify you.
  • Custom privacy settings: Set up custom privacy settings on all your social media and dating apps. Most social media allows you to set your profile or posts to private, so only the people you trust could see them. In addition, try to limit location tracking in dating apps to only when you are using them.
  • Use a VPN: A VPN will encrypt your traffic, making your data less vulnerable to breaches. Furthermore, a VPN can help you access LGBTQ+ specific websites and news outlets that report on many positive news stories relating to being LGBTQ+ from around the world anonymously.
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William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.

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