Whether you like it or not, or whether I like it or not, my web server, my blogging software (WordPress), and other pieces of software I have installed are going to log certain things about your visit to this web site. For instance, Google Analytics lets me see how many people visit this web site, but it also logs your IP address among other things. Also, if you comment on this blog your IP address will be recorded. Without being able to log such things, I would not be able to filter out malicious attackers or spam, and you don’t want to know how much spam my site gets.
Needless to say, your privacy is important to me and I have no intention of violating it in any way. One of there reasons I track this information is to protect the web site and the logs it automatically gathers about visitors. I will do battle on your behalf to protect your information as best I can.
There’s a saying that if you’re getting something for free, its not the product, you are. This is the case with agencies like Facebook and Twitter who regularly sell access to your information. This is not the case for me; I will never sell or willingly divulge any information about you to any third party for any purpose if I can possibly help it. Of course if someone presents me with a valid legal reason, I’m probably going to have to cave in pretty quick as I don’t have the resources to fight that.
As mentioned above, the web server gathers log files with information in them that is used to analyse traffic and behaviour which allows me to protect the web site from denial of service attacks, spam, and other hacking attempts. I don’t keep this information forever, and I don’t sell or use if for anything other than traffic analysis.
Cookies and Web Beacons
There are also cookies involved in tracking visits to this web site. I’m using Google Analytics and the WordPress plugin Jetpack, both of which try to figure out if you’re a returning visitor or not. They use a cookie to do this. I use this information to understand who is reading the blog (my audience). Cookies are also used if you want to log in to the forum.
If you have a Gravatar, WordPress will try to figure it out and use it as your picture when you comment. It’s not magic; you may be surprised at this and think I’ve done something to figure out who you are; I haven’t. WordPress has this functionality built-in. It makes for a nice way to control how you “look” when you comment.
If you’re not happy with any of the “tracking” things that this blog does, I suggest you use Google Chrome’s incognito mode; this will automatically delete cookies and prevent a lot of tracking. You can also use other browsers with similar functionality. You can also just turn off cookies in your browser. This will result in some reduced functionality, and probably strange behaviour. Your call.