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Even if your registered username isn’t immediately visible in a dating profile, it’s often visible in the URL of your profile, your profile photo filenames, or during communication with other users.There are plenty of free and paid services which search and monitor social media and email accounts by username. It will rapidly scan popular sites and services for email addresses, usernames, names, and phone numbers to build a comprehensive profile of a person.Somebody with malicious intent may use this to their advantage when trying to correlate your dating profile to other web content.He or she will very likely check search engine caches for old pictures or bios that are easier to identify or contain embarrassing details.
This is an easy way for someone with malicious intent to draw connections between a dating site profile username and your ‘real’ life, even if your profiles are correctly private or hidden.
If you post data which compromises your privacy or reputation to your profile, remove it and consider starting fresh with an entirely new profile.
If needed, pursue sites and search engines to remove what they can and will, and disassociate your online identity as much as possible from the content. The individual facts and conversations you post on dating sites might not give away your identity, but as a collective whole, they may.
A few years ago, image recognition on a large scale was restricted to law enforcement and corporate security. Free services like Tineye and Google Images will search billions of indexed images on the internet for identical or similar pictures.
This isn’t necessarily traditional hash or metadata specific – cropping or resizing an image is not a foolproof way to defeat this (as I show in the screenshot below, where Tineye and Google correctly identified my profile selfie which is substantially cropped on social media).
You can’t see EXIF metadata without using special tools, but it may contain startling amounts of information about where the photo was taken, by whom, and when.