I care about how data from my own internet use is being tracked, stored, and used, and about who is doing so. I expect that you may be concerned as well about your own information. So here’s the scoop on what I collect, and what I do with it:

Data

When you visit this site, it collects no more data about you than most other websites. What is collected is non-personally identifiable information of the sort that web browsers and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. In addition, the statistics program that runs on this site records the country in which your IP address is located. None of this information is made publicly available.

Author identification

When posting a comment, a name and email address are required. You do not have to use your real name. Your email address will not published, but is used to link to your Gravatar profile if you have created one (not required). If you are concerned, you may wish to get a free email account or attempt to use a remail service.

Comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks are published if they comply with my Comments Policy. They are visible to any visitor, and except in very limited circumstances, will be a permanent part of this site. If you decide to comment, link, or pingback to a post, you must keep this in mind.

Comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks will be identified by your IP address. These numbers could potentially be traceable to identifying information about you, whether it is your home or mobile Internet Service Provider or the school or work account where the IP address is registered. Your IP address could potentially be used in conjunction with other data to identify you, although I won’t attempt to do so unless in compliance with my Data Release Policy, as stated below.

If you are concerned about attempts to match your IP address to your identity, you may wish to use an anonymous browsing service or attempt some means to obfuscate your real IP address. If so, you might like to try Tor, an anonymous browsing service. Please see https://www.torproject.org/ for more details.

Cookies

A cookie is a string of information that a website stores on a visitor’s computer, and that the visitor’s browser provides to the website each time the visitor returns. WordPress, which this site runs, uses cookies if you comment on the blog. This is a convenience for you so that you do not need to type in the same information the next time you comment.

Cookies already on your computer may also collect data about your use of this site. This is beyond my control.

You may wish to periodically clear cookies and your browser cache if you wish to refrain from revealing any identifying information. I strongly suggest this, for your own sake, if you are using a public or shared computer. Visitors who do not wish to have cookies placed on their computers should set their browsers to refuse cookies before using this website, with the drawback that certain features of this site may not function properly without the aid of cookies.

Data logging

Any time you visit a page on the internet, you send quite a bit of information to the server. The webservers that host this site maintain access logs with the information that you send. This information is used to provide site statistics and to get an idea of popular pages and what sites link here. I do not intend to use these logs to identify legitimate users. If you want to know exactly what is being collected, and what I can see, visit http://en.support.wordpress.com/stats/.

Browsing this site doesn’t reveal your identity publicly. The data logged may be used to solve technical problems with the site and, in cases of abuse of this site, to investigate the abuse.

Again, if you are concerned about attempts to match your IP address to your identity, you may wish to use an anonymous browsing service or attempt some means to obfuscate your real IP address.

Data release policy

My policy is to only release the data this site collects in the following circumstances:

  • As required by law and requested through legal processes, such as in response to a valid request from law enforcement.
  • To designated third parties to resolve or investigate abuse complaints.
  • When the information is related to spiders or bots, usually when investigating technical issues.
  • For abusive users, I may release information to assist in attempting to block the abusive user or to complain to that user’s Internet Service Provider.
  • If necessary to defend legal claims against me by third parties.
  • In the unlikely event I deem it necessary to protect the property or rights of the user community, or this website.

No selling of information

I will not sell information collected via this site to third parties. Ever.

Information security

I make no guarantee that the information that you provide will be secure or sent via secure channels. Such issues should be taken up with your Internet Service Provider.

Email address use

You are required to give your email address when you post a comment, but it will not be used for anything beyond looking up your Gravatar profile, if you have one, or automatically notifying you of new comments and replies, if you select that option.

If you subscribe via email to receive notifications of new content on this site, you will receive an email every time a new post is published. I may occasionally send subscribers additional exclusive content or special messages. I will never spam you, or share my subscriber list with others.

Other things

Note that this site runs on WordPress.com, which is operated by Automattic. Both may collect some information from you when you access and use this site. For details, I encourage you to read Automattic’s Privacy Policy, which applies to both.

This privacy policy will be reviewed, and may be revised, from time to time. You may wish to revisit it regularly. I will generally announce any changes to it on my blog or on at least one of my social media feeds (probably Twitter). They will also be logged here.

If you have questions or concerns about any part of this privacy policy, please contact me.

Published July 26, 2013

This policy adapts parts of Automattic.com’s privacy policy and Privacy Policy 2 from the OwnTerms wiki, originally written by Jordan Hatcher, both released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Many thanks to all parties for making their work freely available for reuse.

Creative Commons License