By request, here is a guide for medical professionals on how to start a blog, write for a blog, and comment on their own blog, all while being completely anonymous.
Before I go any further, the only way to not deal with the consequences of blogging is to not blog at all. But, that’s like saying the best way to not get in trouble in medicine is to not practice it.
There are much better options, which I’ll share below.
I am going to start with very simple methods and get into some massively nerdy details – most of which will probably be overkill unless you are planning on being a whistleblower.
Recipe for a Blog
A blog is a website that has multiple dated entries. Unlikely a static website, there are multiple pages which are individual posts, authored often by a single individual.
In order to have a blog you need a website name (URL), a company which will store the data your create (hosting), and you’ll need a software to handle your content (i.e. WordPress).
So, a blog is really simple, those are the 3 major components you need. But, of course, as a blog gets a lot more traffic and starts collecting email lists and selling products, it gets much more complicated.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about VPN’s.
The average medical professional has a home, there they have an internet modem, and internet service through ISP – internet service provider.
This ISP knows everything about you. They know when you’re downloading porn. When you’re logging into your email. When you go offline and when your phone connects to your home WiFi.
If you want to be anonymous then you need to use a VPN – virtual private network. This will prevent anyone from knowing which websites you visit, what content you are streaming, when you’re online, and when you’re not.
The VPN hides your identity.
But what is your identity? Your IP address.
It’s an identifier much like your email or cell phone number. It shows up anytime you are online. Anytime you log onto a web page, you navigate away from that web page, you send an email, or you turn on your computer.
Well, when you use a VPN, you don’t use an IP address that’s assigned to you but some random one that the VPN provide (NordVPN, for example) assigns you.
If someone traced this post then they would see that I logged on to my WordPress from a particular IP address in Los Angeles, Ca. I’m not even close to LA – wrong continent.
Every medical professional should be hiding behind a VPN. That’s my terribly pessimistic opinion.
By having a VPN nobody will know from where and to what websites you are logging in from/to. They won’t know what music or files you’re sending or receiving.
Just like I draw my curtains when I get nekked, I like to decide who and how my footsteps on the internet can be tracked.
Publishing Posts and Comments
I’ll get into setting up an anonymous blog website in a moment. But let’s talk about posting comments and posts which is most of the work you’ll be doing on your blog.
I am writing this post in my word platform of choice and then I’ll cut and paste it into my ‘New Post’ section, tweak it to look pretty, check the spelling again, add some keywords so people can find the post in a search engine, and then I click publish.
When I want to reply to someone’s comment, I open the comment tab and look for the particular comment I want to reply to, click reply, and type out my message.
Let’s talk about you commenters. If you are using your VPN then I will have no clue where you are located and your comments are legitimately anonymous.
But if you aren’t using a VPN then your IP address is recorded. If you’re some stalker idiot who is sending me spam and you don’t bother using a VPN then I know you’re from Walla Walla, Washington – not a lot of people are from Walla Walla, Washington – so I know who you are.
That’s why in the screenshot above I blocked out that person’s information because their IP address shows up which I can use to find out some information about them.
Purchasing a Website Name
In order to purchase your website name – which is your URL – anonymously, you can go from very simple to very complex.
Let’s say you want your blog name to be www.suckmynutsmedicalboard.com. If it’s available then you can go to any website selling service and purchase it.
But you want to purchase it anonymously otherwise I can just lookup whom the website is registered to by going to a website like this to get all that information.
Websites such as Anonymous Speech cater to those who want to protect their identities and privacy.
They offer hosting, domain names, and emails. You don’t have to provide them with any personal information.
On their website you can read what steps they go through to protect your identity.
Privacy Protection Plan.
When you first register a URL you will be asked for your DOB, your dick size, your home address, and other person information. Can you lie? Sure. Is it legal, no. But everyone does it.
You can pay for a “anonymity” service – called Domain Privacy Protection. Here, the hosting company will use their own information and therefore hide your true identity. This works perfectly fine for 99.99% of use-cases.
Now, if you’re planning something illegal or think that the gov’t might come after you then you need much more sophisticated methods. But listen, it’s unlikely that anyone will subpoena a company like Bluehost for your little ass.
The Domain Privacy Protection is somewhere around $50 per year.
Use a Lawyer.
You can also use a lawyer who will add their name and their law office’s information as the person who owns the URL.
One thing I’ve learned recently about lawyers is that they aren’t as expensive as one might think. They are happy to just charge you a 1-2 hour fee and do whatever work you need.
This is a great way to not have an ounce of worry. Lawyers won’t give out your information to anyone without a lengthy court battle.
Paying for the URL.
So, you bought the Domain Privacy Protection thing but now you have to pay with your credit card – so that’ll give you away right?
No, not unless that company is subpoenaed. So there are already some major barriers of anonymity built-in but for someone who is still paranoid, read on.
So, if you want one more layer of security then don’t pay with your credit card. Sine you cannot pay with cash, pay with a store-bought visa gift card. These have everything and do everything a regular card does except that, much like a condom, they are disposable. No traces back to you.
Well, unless someone gets their hands on the convenience store CCT footage and connects your face to the purchase of that particular card. Yea, unlikely.
The whole idea behind cryptocurrency is anonymity along with decentralization.
It’s not easy to make your bitcoin purchase 100% anonymous but it’s much easier to be damn near invisible with a bitcoin purchase. Plenty of domain names can be purchased with bitcoin.
The website above, Anonymous Speech, like many other anonymous-geared products, will accept bitcoin.
Purchasing Hosting Service
Okay, you bought a URL and now you need someone to store the files for you on a server somewhere. This is called hosting. Bluehost is a hosting company and GoDaddy is another one, and Anonymous Speech also offers hosting. There are a ton of these out there.
I pay $250/year because I have the most basic of hosting services. Some people pay $250/month because they need the higher bandwidth or have other needs.
Again, you can pay for hosting with a store-bought visa gift card. Or you can pay with bitcoin. This way, nobody can trace the website back to you.
Logging onto your Blog
You want to be fully anonymous? Well, it takes some work.
You have your anonymous URL, your anonymous hosting, and you purchased your Privacy Protection Plan. This would all go to shit if you log on to your anonymous blog from your home computer which is connected to your home WiFi router and then publish your first post about how the medical board can suck it.
The best way to handle this would be to use a Tor browser or Tor software to mask your online activity.
You still would want to use a VPN so that your activity is masked as well. VPN’s are cheap and I pay $5/month for mine.
That’s it. You can now publish your blog post and write whatever the fuck you want. Nobody can find out who you are unless you’re breaking major laws in which case you’ll eventually get caught since that’s how this game is played.
You can use public computers such as a library computer to post from.
You can then log into your blog from there and create your posts.
If you don’t want to go to a public location like a library every time then you might want to consider having a dedicated laptop for blogging.
The laptop would have a VPN installed and you use it for nothing else but blogging. This makes everything really easy because the chance of cross-contamination is minimal.
Just never use that laptop to log onto your private email. Don’t visit your Amazon account or log in to your Facebook profile from that laptop.
Nowadays, you can do everything from your phone. The WordPress app is amazing on the mobile phone.
Logistics of Being Anonymous
Okay, you now have a totally anonymous blog, now what?
You now need to decide under what assumed identity you will blog. You could be completely anonymous and make a point out of it, like, Dr. Nobody. Or use a vague name like ‘Dr. Mo’ or leave a false trail with real-sounding credentials.
Leaving a false trail is the best way to stay anonymous. This is what’s recommended for those who are paranoid and don’t want to be found out. You make up a fake name but you leave a fake trail so that if someone hires a private investigator or even if authorities go digging, eventually they’ll find a real person and all their work will have been in vain because that person isn’t you.
Matthew Gallagher. I use this name so many times for all my different shenanigans over the years. It’s perfect. There are probably 1,001 doctors with that name.
Or you could choose a woman’s name. People won’t know if the last name is the maiden name or an assumed last name.
Getting Found Out
I blog anonymously, now. But not in the beginning.
In the beginning, I used d my actual name in various posts. But soon I realized that I couldn’t write about my employer if I used my real name. So, I went about anonymizing my blog which was really cumbersome.
It’s better to start out anonymous and then continue under your real identity than vice versa.
I am not terribly worried about my identity so I just take enough precautions that it would be a pain in the ass for someone to prove my identity. Anyone truly motivated could figure out who I am and that’s fine with me.
If you are dead-set on being hyper anonymous then you have to alter dates, places, facts, and people.
Be careful what times in the day you publish. The words you use. The topics your research and when you research them.
If I write a post on an esoteric topic where I had to look up a census report or pay for a particular white paper online and I publish that post within a day or so of that search and payment, well, that’s enough for someone to pin something on me.
Same with wording. My writing is very predictable. Most of my own friends would probably know who the fuck I am just by reading my sentences.
By having a separate email account you can also set up Twitter or Facebook links, if you want.
I have written about internet security and passwords as well. If you have a weak password and don’t pay attention to phishing techniques, it wouldn’t be hard for an investigator to expose you.
What to Write
As I was working on this post, I realized all the possibilities of shit a medical professional could write about. In researching this post I learned about a waiter and a sex-worker who shared the ins-and-outs of their lives on their anonymous blogs.
There are lawyers and engineers for major companies who have secret, anonymous blogs. Some are whistleblowers and others just refuse to be silenced.
This is the hardest part. It’s tempting to get creative with your posts and make up the facts. Unfortunately, one bit of creativity will lead to another and soon your blog is just fiction.
Not only is it a misrepresentation but it will soon no longer mean anything to you. After all, if you can make up facts then the sky is the limit and that’s just too much responsibility for any writer.
If you are writing and revealing sensitive information in your workplace then you’re a whistleblower and you don’t care to change any facts – in fact, you are a covert journalist.
But if you want to reveal enough to give people in your field a sense of what’s going on then you can change facts.
If you are dealing with a medical board then don’t mention which state. Don’t mention dates.
You can substitute one fact for another. If you were performing a knee surgery that went wrong then write about a shoulder surgery.
This protects you so that even if thing are tied back to you, the facts are different enough that you didn’t break any laws.
There are many financial advisors who are running entertainment blogs and giving financial advice that they otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to give.
So, make your blog an entertainment blog. You can mention this in an ‘about’ page or have a little blurb at the end.
You can continue giving fairly honest recounts of events and provide commentary. And people are smart, they can figure out what’s real and what’s fiction.
Every time I mention Teladoc or Doctor on Demand or Kaiser Permanente, an email goes out to their media team that a web page has been created with those particular names.
Not all but some of my posts then get scanned by their software to look for certain keywords and, if flagged, a person will review it. It’s obvious to me because I then get an alert of who is browsing my blog for that particular keyword and, sure enough, I later get an email from someone in compliance asking me to remove that name from my blog – or else!
So don’t mention Teladoc and use the acronym TD instead. No keyword search will get sent back to Teladoc and you can continue writing about TD in peace.
Or mention them randomly, a lot, just to fuck with them.
If Everyone Blogged
It would be great if everyone blogged. Imagine, if every single medical professional wrote about the ugly details of their job, their dealings with insurers, patients, lawyers, and investigators.
If everyone blogged and some medical professional got caught off-guard then it would only be because she decided to not read what’s out there. But with us all laying it out there – man, that’s potent.
An MAB is a multi-author blog. KevinMD’s blog is a great example.
But much better than an MAB would be an anonymous MAB. I hope that one of my readers considers starting an anonymous MAB for medical professionals.
On this blog, any medical professional (MD/DO/PA/NP/Podiatrist/Psychologist) could share their story. They would write it out on their own computers and then securely send it the curator of the anonymous MAB.
Wha an amazing resource for the rest of us.
Posting on sites like Reddit isn’t the same. It’s not a blog and it’s more comment focused rather than detail-rich insider information.
Reddit might be a great resource but it’s a toxic website to be on with so much sarcasm and negativity. It’s not a professional place to share a medical board investigation or the details of getting caught with a prostitute.
And though you can have a burner profile on Reddit, it is by no means anonymous just because you offered up some fake information. You’d have to take many more steps to protect your identity.
Consequences of Losing Your Anonymity
If I am doing per diem work for a telemedicine company then I should be able to talk about my cases, my outcomes, my hours, my pay, and pretty much everything concerning me as long as I don’t give away any of their secrets. But this isn’t the nature of our profession.
Usually, the worst thing they will do to you if you are found out, as they have done with me, is to stop offering you shifts. So, not a big loss.
When it comes to the medical board then you are asked to keep everything private. If you share any of the details of the investigation then you can be considered to have broken your agreement with the medical board.
For this they can punish you in any relevant manner.
If you discuss an ongoing malpractice case and you are found out then you could be charged with perjury since you are asked to keep the details private. This could look very bad on your part since your blog then would be admissible information.
There is no transparency in medicine, it seems, except for the whitewashed, filtered shit that we encounter on other random websites. The writers are often in cahoots with organizations that tends to profit from the dissemination of this information.
I prefer to read the thoughts and experiences of someone who shares something with me not because they are going to profit from it but because they genuinely want to share that bit of information with me – maybe warn me or teach me something.