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A lot of people express a problem with vampires not having reliable communications across large distances, and seem to express the belief that there is no reason why vampires can't have their own equivalent of Facebook.

I would like to argue that the reason such a "Vampbook" does not exist is due to the extreme security issues that would arise. How would vampires become aware of it, separated by time and distance? How would their identities be verified? How would sensitive or proprietary information be kept secret? What's to stop the system from being hacked, vandalized, or otherwise compromised? What kind of rewards exist that would outweigh the enormous risks?

For example, GURPS Vampire: The Masquerade has opening fiction in the form of a chat room log, which involves a mortal successfully infiltrating a multi-sect vampire chat room. The only reason they are discovered is because the chat room itself is shut down by the Camarilla and all those involved are hunted down.

In the real world, using Facebook or Twitter to conduct riots is ineffective, since the police can just read your wall and be there waiting for you (as many Occupy Wallstreet protestors found out). Real social networking sites are notoriously prone to privacy problems.

For an analogy, imagine if serial killers, pedophiles, and other horrible criminals decided to make "Murderbook" so that they could share tips. Logistically, they would need countless layers of secrecy and encryption on a truly massive level, because even one mistake means certain death. Similar examples include Mafiabook, Terroristbook, Pimpbook, Torrentbook, etc.

This isn't to say that there aren't channels of communication, but those that exist are either unique to a small and secretive circle, unreliable and unsecure due to logistics, or use magic (which defeats the point of using computers in the first place). The tried-and-true methods of couriers or coded letters offer more (not absolute) protection at the cost of speed.

How do you think this could be alleviated?

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Ghouls, Allies, use of Disciplines like Auspex, and a new Merit - Network:

Network (• to •••••)

Effect: You have access to a secure communications network which allows you to share information with others. Similar in nature to Allies and Contacts, but distinct from both, the Network permits effective and secure transfer of data along secured, encrypted lines. The higher the rating of this Merit, the stronger the protection provided (each dot inflicts a penalty of -1 dice to any attempt to intercept and decrypt communications over the network).

Note: this system does not necessarily involve computers over an internet or intranet. The nature of the network could be a physical internet run by computers, or it could be a mystical network of telepathy established between members of the network possessed of some sort of telepathic ability such as the Auspex •••• Discipline of that name.

This Merit only reflects your character's degree of access to that network - that access may be cut off by members of the network if your character abuses the system, reveals details of its existence to outsiders without the network's permission and so on.

To reflect one's standing within the network requires the purchase of a separate Status (Network) Merit. The network can also be purchased as a single dot of Contacts, representing the network subscribers as a single source, but in order to do so one needs to purchase separately at least one dot in Status (Network) and one dot in Network as well.

Unless specified otherwise, assume that other characters and NPCs with Network Merit dots have access to their own networks; one to which the character will have no access. It is possible for a character to have access to multiple networks, with different Status and degrees of access. Each must be paid for separately, and noted on the character sheet.

This does include a network set up between members of the same gang, circle or coterie; in which case all members in good standing must contribute their own Merit dots to create a shared network, and so on.

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Well, rumors has it that there is a forum somewhere, where vampires come to write about their existence and of the world. It's practically hiding in plain sight, posing as a board for roleplayers with discussions of the game system a way of encrypting their communications. They ironically named it umbra-et-corpus.com, as they are beings of the night. :D

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