Dating

What’s the safest way to have cybersex during quarantine?

Always practice safe sex!

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A blazing hot summer isn’t the only reason people are shedding their clothes during the pandemic era. Between separated lovers and thirsty singles in your area, everyone is experiencing a rougher time getting their groove on. As a result, people are running to digital messaging and broadcasting platforms to express their horny sides.

However, as the pre-coronavirus world is wont to tell you, cybersecurity isn’t as safe as one might imagine. Work-from-home employees are quickly learning about privacy risks with their preferred conferencing apps. For example, Zoom, the work-from-home community’s golden child, has repeatedly caused shady privacy hiccups, including Zoombombing (or when unauthorized Zoom users invade other people’s Zoom calls). That said, given how risky office calls already are, how much riskier is it to sext these days?

Sliding into those DMs

Naturally, the simplest form of sexting is the good old-fashioned nude photo. Since the advent of Twitter, DMs have always been home to naughty lewds and unsolicited dick pics. Likewise, the same can be said of Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct. How safe are these forms of communication for your nudes?

Unfortunately, not very. Though they are private in nature, direct messaging features are hardly the most secure of platforms. This has a lot to do with encryption. Despite Facebook’s and Twitter’s best attempts, completely secure messaging is still a distant hope. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, only Facebook Messenger offers a secret conversation feature, allowing messages to be end-to-end encrypted. Twitter has tried encryption before, but so far hasn’t rolled out the feature after the test. Instagram, unfortunately, is still working on its own variant.

Meanwhile, the more dedicated messaging services — like WhatsApp and Telegram — already have end-to-end encryption built in. If you’re planning to go old-school sexting, using these apps might be your best bet. Also, if you and your partner both have iPhones, FaceTime uses end-to-end encryption as well.

What does this all mean? Unencrypted messages are prone to unauthorized third parties. You can get hacked. On the other hand, regular encryption protects against malicious hackers. However, the company can still access your data if it needs to. Even if they claim to not touch your data, they still can. True end-to-end encryption protects your data from both hackers and the company, ensuring that only the sender and the receiver can access the data. That said, there are still ways to illegally access encrypted data as was what happened with WhatsApp recently. Ultimately, it’s all about how much risk you are willing to handle.

Booming while Zooming

Likewise, the issue of security pops up again in video conferencing apps. As mentioned above, Zoom is already in hot water for providing less-than-stellar privacy measures. Even now, malicious parties can just as easily access your Zoom calls without your permission. Rumors of the company’s Chinese ties aren’t helping its cause either.

That said, sexy video chats are always going to be a thing. Especially now, there’s no other way to express physical intimacy for distanced lovers than through Zoom, Skype, or Discord. How safe are you when you take your clothes off on these platforms?

This is when it gets tricky. Technically, Zoom, Skype, and Discord all restrict adult content on their respective platforms, based on their terms of service. Under the strictest implementation of the rule, users shouldn’t send nude selfies or have sex shows through these apps.

However, how can these companies expect to enforce this rule? The only feasible way for enforcement is by monitoring accounts directly. Naturally, no one wants that. And companies will never own up to such an invasion of privacy.

At most, some companies claim to use AI and machine learning to catch these calls in the act. According to Zoom’s statement on Rolling Stone, the platform uses “a mix of tools, including machine learning” to help with enforcement. However, when the publication asked for more details regarding the supposed tools, Zoom refused to answer, potentially confirming the measure’s non-existence.

In 2018, Microsoft adjusted its code of conduct to restrict nudity and pornography. In terms of enforcement, the document explicitly refers to the right to go over your submitted content when “investigating alleged violations.” Like Zoom, Microsoft doesn’t have a crystal-clear way to find violators. “Alleged violations” means that the company must rely on other people reporting violators.

Though they have the same problem, Discord has a more open approach to adult content. Like Zoom and Microsoft, Discord doesn’t allow adult content. However, the platform can allow them under certain circumstances. According to a tweet from their official account, “NSFW content is allowed in DMs and video chat provided that all parties involved are consenting and of appropriate age.” Also, Discord allows users to mark communities as NSFW, curbing some of the blow.

How does this go back to the issue of encryption? Because companies will investigate user reports, Zoom, Skype, and Discord will not offer true end-to-end encryption. Though they have standard encryption, the company can still view your content if they need to.

If anything, Discord has more convenience as a platform out of the three mentioned. Regardless, if security is your priority, true end-to-end encryption — such as those offered by WhatsApp and Telegram — is still your best bet.

The human factor

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the true risk lies in the people you share nudes with. If you don’t strip responsibly, your sexting partner can easily save your nude selfies, capture screen recordings of you getting it on, or broadcast your livestream elsewhere.

Even if you choose the most secure platform, people can still mess with you. At the very least, make sure you completely trust your partner. And not just the he’s-my-boyfriend type of trust. Make sure that, even if you break up, they won’t betray you at all.

If you’ve successfully found yourself such a partner and decided on a secure platform, don’t be afraid to express your sexuality as much as you want. Your body is your own.

SEE ALSO: Android is now much harder to crack than iOS

Dating

iPhone users have a higher match rate compared to Android owners

iPhones boost match rate by 76%

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Looking to improve your chances of getting a match on dating apps? You might want to consider using an iPhone. A new study by a UK-based firm found that iPhone users have a higher match rate compared to Android owners.

The latest study by CompareMyMobile dives into the relation of devices owned with chances of matching with someone. It found out that having an iPhone boost chances of matching with the “one” by almost 76%. There’s no specific iPhone model named in the study, but having the latest model surely boosts a person’s match rate.

It didn’t stop there, either. If you love your AirPods and Apple Watch dearly, you are sure to attract more people looking for the love of their life. The study guarantees 61% more chances of successful matches if one owns an Apple Watch. Meanwhile, having the latest AirPods alone boosts profile matches by 41%.

This is in stark contrast with the owners of Android smartphones. Having a Google Pixel will erode chances of matching with other profiles by 10%. Other brands have it worse: owners of Sony will have a 14% lesser successful match rate, while Huawei and OnePlus will have 23% and 30%, respectively.

Photos by CompareMyMobile.com

And what if you still rock a Blackberry? Sorry, but you can expect more people swiping to the left. The study found that having a BlackBerry significantly decreases your chances of matching with others by a staggering 74%. So if you’re still wondering why you’re still single despite having good looks and charisma, then your BlackBerry might be to blame.

Age and location affect match rate too

There are two factors that affect these preferences: age and location. Unsurprisingly, younger people are much influenced by smartphone brands in their matching preferences.

Women are much more discerning with smartphones a person uses across all age brackets. For example, smartphones influence the preferences of women in their 20s by up to 65% while men in the same age bracket are only influenced by up to 15%.

Your location also plays a key role in determining your success.  If you have an iPhone 11, you have the best chances in London, Vancouver, and Los Angeles. And if you show off your Apple Watch on your dating profile while you’re in San Francisco or Manchester, you will attract more views and swipes to the right.

The only odd-one-out is New York. Here, the most swipes to right goes to the person who shows off their AirPods.

Some might have reservations on the whole study, but this was done using legitimate methodologies. The whole study is done by setting up fake profiles. Each fake profile displays the device supposedly owned by the person. Granted though, the study only looks at data from 15 major cities and more than 50,000 swipes.

So, don’t be discouraged if you don’ have an iPhone to boost your successful match. After all, there’s a lot that you can do to improve your chances on dating apps.

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Dating

Pokémon launched Pikachu-themed wedding rings, but there’s something nasty about them

How big is your love?

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As of late, The Pokémon Company has increased its reach to a lot of other industries outside of gaming, including lifestyle apps and wireless earbuds. Now, the ubiquitous brand has expanded to the most precious catch of them all: wedding rings.

Partnered with Japanese jewelry company Ginza Tanaka, The Pokémon Company has officially launched Pikachu-themed engagement rings and wedding bands. The list of products includes simple platinum and gold wedding bands that come in a PokéBall-style box. Couples can also get their rings engraved with their own personal customizations. (However, the company rightly suggests a variation of “I choose you, [insert name here].”)

Meanwhile, the engagement rings are a bit more ostentatious. One design is a simple silhouette of Pikachu’s face, but the face’s center holds a diamond. Another design has two Pikachu tails holding the diamond in place. Like the wedding bands, they can come in either gold or platinum.

Cute as they are, there’s something awfully weird about them, as The Verge points out. In particular, the ears of the Pikachu rings look particularly nasty. Call us skeptical, but we don’t think Pikachu had *those* for ears. And yes, while they are part of the marriage process, we don’t know if you’d want them wrapped around your finger forever.

However, if you’re not bothered by them and think they’re perfectly innocent and fluffy Pikachu ears, they retail for JPY 346,500 (approximately US$ 3,225). Meanwhile, the wedding bands range between JPY 115,550 (approximately US$ 1,076) to JPY 121,000 (approximately US$ 1,126). The collection also has a keepsake photo frame selling for JPY 13,200 (approximately US$ 123).

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Unite is the very first Pokémon MOBA game

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Dating

Dating apps will stop letting you search by race

In response to Black Lives Matter protests

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Since its inception, online dating has always presented an interesting conundrum. To access the services, users are shrinking themselves down to individual nuggets of data focused entirely on who they are. In doing so, they enter a vast lottery of people, searching for people according to their preferences. However, one of these nuggets is unarguably the most controversial topic today: ethnicity.

Though Tinder does not allow searching by ethnicity, other dating apps — Grindr, OkCupid, and Hinge — do, allowing users to search potential matches based on their race. However, Grindr is taking an all-new stand, in response to the ongoing protests happening across America.

Announced on Twitter, the popular dating app for gay, bisexual, and transsexual men supported the Black Lives Matter movement. However, rather than just making its stand known, Grindr has announced the end of its ethnicity search function. In the next update, the app will take the feature out completely.

However, in a statement to Forbes, other similar dating apps will keep the ethnicity search. According to these companies, minority groups still want the search function to find other people like them.

Regardless, it’s an interesting time for dating apps in general. For one, social distancing has put physical dating to a complete halt, necessitating new socially distant matching tools. Secondly, with race turning into a touchy topic for everyone all over the world, how will dating apps respond?

SEE ALSO: Tinder will soon allow you to match with anyone around the world

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