Websites that keep romantic interests private
If you are in a relationship and want to spice it up, you have three choices this Valentine's Day: you can tickle your sweetheart with a feather, you can take him or her somewhere romantic such as Venice, or you can cheat.
The final option has become a whole lot easier, thanks to the emergence of a website called PrivateDateFinders.com. Strictly speaking, it is not aimed at heels and harlots.
PrivateDateFinders.com boss Jerry Klein said: 'It is about protecting privacy and your personal information.'
Almost half the people who use the internet refuse to make a purchase because they are afraid of security or having their personal information stolen, according to Mr Klein.
The patent-pending technology behind the site erases from personal computers information about previous cookies, the contents of the cache, the history and any data about transactions.
'There is comfort in knowing your activities remain private,' Mr Klein said, underlining that the site was not designed for cheating.
Hu Fleming, relationship columnist and author of the upcoming book Combat Dating, voiced no hostility towards PrivateDateFinders.com.
'For many, privacy is a key issue in their determination to make that leap to digital dating. Dating sites offering higher privacy and security will flourish. I foresee that it will open more doors to singles seeking relationships online,' Dr Fleming said.
But it is hard to imagine that all or even most of the site's supposed 2 million users are single, given that, as Mr Klein said, a third of the people who use online dating sites are married or in a relationship. With its revolving images of wasp-waisted sirens and busty temptresses, the site is sure to antagonise fidelity advocates.
The site may also help fuel the burgeoning hi-tech spy-on-your-spouse trade. Apparently locked in a dogfight with the digital dating industry, the detection camp has generated an array of weapons.
Think GPS vehicle trackers, mobile-phone trackers, stealth-mode programs such as Eblaster, keystroke logging keyboards and even voice-changing programs that enable you to ring a suspect number on the phone bill with impunity. The last means that, if you have a voice as reedy as Truman Capote's in the new movie about him, you can mask it so that you sound like Sheryl Crowe.
To prevent the need to resort to such methods, you can always take the less dubious path of gauging the character of a potential partner by reading any relevant comments posted on a reputation assessment website such as www.manhaters.com.
Also known as womensavers.com, the site operates on the reverse principle of PrivateDateFinders.com, allowing women and homosexual men to 'rate the men they date via a free, analytical database'.
Imagine the acrimony.