Privacy Statement


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Privacy Statements may not be worth the electrons that they're displayed with. But here goes, anyway.

I am firmly committed to protecting your privacy. The following discloses the information gathering and dissemination practices for tardigrade.org. But there are also some things that you need to do to protect yourself: Protecting Your Privacy

Server Logs

This server, like every other web server, collects the following information for every 'hit', including main pages, images, etc.

I use this information to help diagnose problems with the server, look for abuse, and to administer the web site. I periodically analyze visits and search terms to see which information is the most useful to people. My logs are not linked to any outside data and you remain anonymous.

[Of course, if I wanted to, I could rent or sell my logs to companies who merge them with web logs from all over. Or I could have a company provide a 'free service' to me by analysing my logs for me in return for their handling (and keeping) the raw data. If you have a full-time web connection with a static IP number, this would let such data collection companies easily link your web visits here and elsewhere with your real name, address, phone number, purchase history, public records, credit history, perhaps medical records, and more. If I chose to spend the money, I could rent access to such databases and have a good chance of figuring out who many of you are, and much more about you than you want any stranger to know.]

Email Addresses

If you want to add or modify records for any of the tardigrade.org interactive databases, you must provide a valid email address. This email address cannot be from any known free email services or from a domain known to tolerate spammers. The address is used for the database to mail you your password. This system is in place to limit abuse of the databases. I will not under any circumstances sell, rent, or give your email address to anyone else for any purpose. It's possible that I'll send you mail if there's ever a problem with a database that you actively use, but I won't send you mail for any other reason.

[Of course, your email address is also a valuable company asset. I may not be able to (legally) sell it separately to the highest bidder, but if I ever sold the website, the new owners would probably have few if any restrictions on what they could do with it. You have only my word for it that I think this kind of thing is sleazy and unethical, and that I'd never do it. Well, aside from the problem of who'd want to buy a tardigrade anyway?]

I make every reasonable effort to protect the security of the logs and the user database, but because I don't own the server hardware, I can't make a 100% guarantee that they can't be stolen.

If you want to correct a problem with your database account, or delete it completely, contact dbmaster@tardigrade.org.

Public Forums

This site has an associated mailing list, pnw-natives. Messages sent to the list are archived online and are available to public search engines. Please remember that any information, including your email address, that is disclosed on any public mailing list becomes publicly accessible to everyone for the forseeable future, and you can't recall it. I will not remove messages or parts of messages from the archive because it's futile to try to put djinns back in bottles. Think before you send! Exercise caution when deciding to disclose any personal information. For the mailing list, you are allowed to use a free email account to protect your real address if you desire, as long as it doesn't place advertisements in the messages you send.

Links to Other Sites

This site contains links to other sites. I have no control over, and am not responsible for, the privacy practices or the content of such Web sites.

Cookies

I do not use cookies. Contrary to what many companies tell you about cookies, allowing unrestricted cookies onto your computer can be a risk to your privacy. It's true that cookies can be useful, and can be safe. But that's not the only way they can be used. It's easy to create cookies that are open to anyone who wants to read them, and these can be used to track you across the web. If you must accept cookies to use some sites, and you can't just avoid those sites, use a utility that will thoroughly delete all cookies periodically, such as every time you quit your browser.

Web bugs

I do not use web bugs. A web bug is an image, often a single transparent pixel, that triggers a remote data collection site to run a script that logs your presence. It logs all of the usual information available to a web server: date, time, your IP number, the page you're looking at, your browser, version, and OS, and sometimes cookie data. When these are sent to a single remote server from many different web sites, it makes it easy to track you across the web and build a complex profile of you. If any of the sites you visit require information for registration, such as your name, age, phone number, or address, this can potentially be linked to the rest of your browsing history, and to public records such as marital status, whether you own or rent your home, and the size of your mortgage, along with records of anything you've bought with a credit card, estimates of probable income, and other information that you'd probably prefer to remain private.

You can avoid many web bugs by turning off the automatic display of images. Then load only particular images that may be of interest to you. Software utilities are available that will filter images that meet certain profiles, such as single pixel images, images that originate at advertising and data-collection sites such as doubleclick, etc.

Web bugs can also be found in email. If you allow your email program to display formatted messages, a remote data collection company can tell when and how often you opened the message, and can match your email address to your computer's IP number.

Please visit the Privacy Foundation's Web Bug FAQ for more information.

Javascript

I don't use Javascript. (It's called Scripting in Internet Explorer, and ECMAScript in some other browsers). Javascript opens up many security and privacy holes on your computer, and it's best to keep it turned off unless you completely trust not only the intentions, but the programming capabilities, of the site you're visiting. It's becoming quite common for websites, both private and commercial, to have their logs analysed by third party companies. This is often done with a few lines of javascript code such as superstats, amongst many others, uses. Javascript provides all of the 'features' that a webbug does, and more. There are commands in Javascript to access your browser history, create and ask for cookies, send mail from you, and other things. There are also bugs in the various implementations that can allow access to even more of your computer. Javascript is turned on by default when you install your browser, so if you don't know for sure that you've turned it off, it's probably on--doing who knows what behind your back.

Active-X

Microsoft's Active-X is even less secure than Javascript--it should never be turned on, even at trusted sites. Active-X makes it easy for malicious programmers to fully access your computer. You can avoid Active-X on the web by not using Internet Explorer. (You can avoid Active-X entirely by not using Monopolistic Software.) If you do use IE, check the preferences to turn it off. You'll have to learn about the security zones and do some fiddling to get it turned off completely.

Java

Java is not the same thing as Javascript. It has some similarities in that it's a language that runs programs on your computer and interacts with a web server, but it's considerable more powerful than Javascript, and has a much different underlying structure. In general, it's more secure than Javascript, but there are bugs that can be exploited by vandals and the unethical. It's also a resource hog, and since it isn't widely used, you can safely leave it turned off unless necessary for a particular site.

Contacting tardigrade.org

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with tardigrade.org, you can contact webmaster@tardigrade.org


Protecting Your Privacy

There's a lot you can do to protect your privacy even from those who actively try to steal it.

More Information