If you read on, I'll explain some of the standard ways on-line and software companies automatically collect data about their users. I'll also explain my take on the ethics of each method. Yeah, this is a long-winded page, but if you are really concerned about your privacy, read on.
Web Page Identity
When you tell your browser to visit our website, your browser tells the cloud the identity - the URL or URI - of a page on our website. The fact that you asked to visit the URI is visible to anyone able to eavesdrop on your network. The computers that your browser consults to find our website learn that a computer with a specific network address is asking to visit the web page. The company we use to host our web page is told which page you wanted. Our website is told which page you want.
The company hosting my website keeps some anonymous statistics, such as the number of pages visited and the amount of data we send out. The company also keeps such data as it deems necessary to provide technical support. This may include a log which URIs were requested, when the request was made, what network address issued the request, how long it took the website to handle the request, and the success or failure code of the attempt to handle the request.
Back when I was trying to provide applications as a business, this website tracked how many times each of its pages were visited. This website content no longer does so. Information about which pages are visited is still collected by this website's hosting service.
I monitor the logs and reports provided by the website hosting service periodically to keep an eye out for broken links and for signs that I need to either seek larger disk and network quotas or rework our website to be less demanding, or that this website is in some other way acting in an unhealthy fashion. The statistics provided by our web hosting service list the network address of your computer as well as which URI of each page you visited. The statistics are kept in logs that are erased on a regular basis.
A cookie is a piece of information that a website gives to a browser to remember. Every time you ask your browser to visit a page at my website, your browser will tell us the piece of information again. A website can ask that a cookie be kept for one visit to a website or that a cookie be kept for a specified time interval. Unless you use an https: web address, the cookie is visible to eavesdroppers as well as to the website.
Originating Web Page Identity
When you click on a link or submit information after filling out a form, your web browser reports the URI of the page containing the link or form. This URI -- known as the referrer -- is visible to eavesdroppers (unless the link or form asks for an https: address).
This website uses the referrer URI when a web page submits a trouble report, for example when the scripting code in a web page reports that it crashed trying to run on your browser.
If I find that some other website is making what I regard as unfair use of my content by, say, embedding one of my pages into their site in a way that make it look like their content, I may start using the referrer URI to block those uses.
I regard the referrer URI as being sensitive information. It can be used to track the sequence of pages you visit. Knowing the sequence of pages visited is the kind of behavior tracking that in other contexts has proven to be vulnerable to being correlated with other actions to reverse-engineer the identity of a person. This is a piece of information I will not start storing (outside of website hosting logs) or using without a very compelling reason.
Type of Web Browser
Your web browser reports what kind of browser it is when it fetches a web page. It also reports what kind of browser it is to the any scripts included by the web page fetched. For example, a web browser might report itself as Internet Explorer 8. Because different kinds of web browsers behave somewhat differently, people that maintain websites like to track what kinds of browsers are being used to visit the website. The information lets them decide how much testing to do with the different kinds of browsers.
This website looks at the type of your browser to determine whether it should send content formatted to look good on typical desktop or laptop displays or whether to use a format that looks better on cell phone displays. In addition, when one of this website's pages detects a misbehavior in itself, it will send a problem report that includes the type of browser so that I know which browser to use when I try to figure out how to fix the bug.
When you ask for a web page, your web browser reads the page. It will ask the website for additional information, for example, for the images you see. Sometimes a web page will wait awhile before it asks for more information, for example, a news site might ask to see if there is any new breaking news. In those cases, you can see the new images or announcements of breaking news. In other cases, web pages communicate behind the scenes.
I will be open about what communication my website does that isn't obvious based on what you see. Right now, this website does hidden communication for one reason:
This website has a link at the bottom of each of its web pages to the policy policy, which informs you of this behavior.
Web pages can contain code - or scripts - designed to be run by web browsers. Such code can provide useful functionality. It can enable websites to provide functionality in a more private fashion by letting the browser carry out tasks in the privacy of your own computer, as opposed to a more public fashion by telling the website to carry out the task on your behalf. Such code can also report on what it observes you do and what it observes of your computer. Many browsers provide a means for their users to command that the browser not execute such code (scripts).
This website embeds scripts (code) in its web pages to provide functionality that I believe benefits you. Whenever possible, the pages on this website are usable even if you configure your browser to refuse to run scripts. At present, this website uses scripting to do the following tasks:
As I add additional applications that run as web pages, I am likely to continue embedding code necessary to do what such web application promise to do and to ask report back on product flaws. My philosophy is to not observe or do things that are not essential to providing you with the content and product features my website promises.
Other Information in HTTP
When you ask for a web page, your web browser talks in a protocol called HTTP to the website. The browser always uses HTTP to tell us the identity of the web page you want. The browser tells us about any cookies it stored about our website using HTTP. Applications other than web browsers can also use the HTTP to ask our website for data or services. An application can use HTTP to send a website other kinds of information about the request. For example, applications on cell phones may send information about your current location.
I will shortly phase out applications that send this kind of information to my website.If you download an application from this website or buy one of my applications from an app marketplace, I'll give you the details about what information the application sends. You will always be able to go to the Apps area of this website to find out about what information is sent before you buy or download.
Any time your computer uses the network, it reveals its network address (or IP address). This enables the remote computer you are contacting to direct its responses back to your computer. A network address is rather like a telephone number. It doesn't directly reveal your name or where you live and the owner of the network address can change from time to time. Like a telephone number, a person with access to the right information can discover which computer owns or owned the address.
I recognize that your network address, as well as your location, is personal information. I will treat your network address with care and not keep a record of it any longer than I must. What do I consider situations in which I must keep it for awhile? Here's a hypothetical example. Suppose I start receiving 10,000 emails a day about feature requests and the web hosting logs indicate that the send feedback page is visited about 10,000 times a day. I might choose to modify this website to store information about which network addresses have used a feedback page to send email during the past 24 hours and block attempts to use my website to send more than one email a day from any one network address.
I feel that sales and marketing purposes do not justify letting me use or record your location or network address. I won't embed advertising in this website if I have any reason to believe that it is looking at your network adress or location. Conceivably I might use either or both if necessary to implement features that you ask to use on this website, for example, a web page that would look up a list of local yarn stores.
Copyright© 2011-2012 by Canitag(tm) Apps N Crafts.