How can I play games with my friend without compromising privacy?

I want to play some games with my friend because i finally got back into gaming and we will use steam, which is privacy invading itself. But I am worried because of how my identity could be tied to me, what if my friend accidently says my real name or something? My friend is not really a privacy focused person like me, but I still want to play with them but i find it hard because of this. I asked them if they could not say my real name or my personal info while we play, but i still worry that it wont make a difference. Is there anything I can do? I dont want to force my friend or just not play with them at all.

Thanks for anyones help.


First, if you have a steam account you’ve used on a system with other spyware apps/lots of personal info OR if you have any cards attached to it, it’s probably compromised and they have your ID. Don’t plan a terrorist activity or say anything racist with that account (or any account for that matter). Otherwise, if your account is secure, you use a unique username and anonaddy/simplelogin alias, it should be fairly hard for some edgy internet kid to doxx you.

The “watertight” approach involves a VPN, a virtual machine that only connects through the VPN, an anonymous email, and only free games or games purchased with gift cards. This is, of course, unrealistic.

From what I’ve experienced, a good balance is a steam account with an alias name and email. You don’t ever provide card info. VPNs are slow, so I would just live with the risk of a government/adversary having an IP address. Ideally you shouldn’t, but you could say anything that doesn’t piss off the glowies, and you’re good. No selling drugs with this, please. Consider using linux or a VM to have more control over the steam app.

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Use the Steam Flatpak under Linux, or consider having a separate Windows install for gaming if you use Windows.
There is not enough evidence to suggest Steam collects any sensitive data without your knowledge, the main privacy issue will be with anti-cheat, which have a range in the data they collect. Do research on what one is being used, but chances are if you’re running it under a Flatpak sandbox or separate Windows install, it won’t really matter much anyway.
I don’t really think it’s a big deal if your first name is dropped in a game chat. Gamers online are not snoops or data aggregators, and I don’t think anyone is going to think twice about it. Totally understand the preference though, and I think your friend should not use your real name if that makes playing more comfortable, just know it’s not really a big deal if there’s a slip-up.
Relax, and have fun with your friend.


Depends, if your first name is John or something basic like that, it shouldn’t be an issue. A lot of people I know have very unique first names, and especially if they’re immigrants, it could mean gamers having access to a lot more information than they should. Maybe not all gamers are bad, but 10 minutes of chat in a minecraft anarchy server should be enough to convince you that you probably don’t want them having too much information about you. Worse, you would be associated with them.

I tried making my pc as private and secure with many tools but I know its not bullet proof. My plan is to just use this pc for gaming and videos and my personal info is not on it. I did use a simplelogin alias.

I didn’t bother with a VPN because of money and I didnt think i needed it. Virtual Machines arent much of an option because my pc isnt that powerful for running games in a vm. I usually play free games and might get a giftcard because it doesnt have personal info on me

But if they still wanted to get my ip, would there be much they can do with it? I know they can boot me offline but could it still affect me? And unfortunately linux isnt a choice for me because my hardware cant run it.

Thanks for the help!

Linux wont run on my pc :frowning: but i plan using my pc just really for gaming anyway. Anti cheats scare me the most, but i will research like you said. Even if my first name was dropped and no one would care, steam could still know right? Like I said I did ask them and they do understand and said they wont, i was really just worried of the possible chance. so that helps alot too.

Thanks for your help!

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If you’re hosting something, they could use it as a starting point to hack you. They could find your approximate geographical location (for example the suburb of the city you live in), what you torrent, and whether you’ve used TOR lately. That’s about it.

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This is off topic but do you guys have any ideas on how to put nextDNS on a PS Vita?