Ian's Shoelace Site is not targeting your privacy. That said, your visit to this website – or to any website – can leave “fingerprints”. If you're concerned about privacy – or simply curious – please read on.
Because this website is free, it doesn't require a “login” of any sort. I don't need your name or e-mail address. I don't need your credit card or any form of payment. You can use the full website completely anonymously and with no restrictions.
Storage of Information
Because you haven't given me any login details, there's nothing for me to store. Nothing stored = nothing to steal. No-one – not me, not my staff (I'm a one-man show and don't have any staff), not my web host – not even hackers (correctly termed “crackers”) – can access information that doesn't exist.
• Cookies are useful for websites that people log into. As I said above, this website doesn't require a login.
• Cookies are also also useful for tracking visitors. I'm a one-man show with little time and even less interest in tracking any of the thousands of daily visitors to my website.
The only thing that is within my control is to disable Google's “Interest-based ads”. For example, if you Google “backpacks” one day, then for the next few days or weeks you'll probably start seeing ads for backpacks on every other website – but not here.
Switching off interest-based ads gives my visitors a more private experience – even though it results in lower revenue from the resulting less-targeted Google ads.
I don't use any code on this website to track visitor's movements from page to page.
• The vast majority (90%+) of the Internet's top websites add tracking code (eg. Google Analytics) to every web page. Shopping websites in particular need to be able to track visitors as they work their way through a web store to analyse the success or failure of purchases. I'm perfectly happy with visitors browsing my website randomly and don't have the need, the time or the interest to track their route.
I don't use web bugs on this website. To me, they're creepier than real-world bugs!
• Web bugs are tiny images hidden on web pages and e-mails. They are usually encoded with a unique filename such that the website can link a specific view to a specific visitor. Again, I'm a one-man show – I've neither the time nor the interest in tracking individual visitors.
This website – like just about every website – is on a web server that maintains a log of each and every file access. I don't use these log files for anything more than their intended purpose – certainly not for identifying or tracking individual users. (Read above about me being a one-man show).
• Log files are useful for troubleshooting. For example, seeing failed accesses for non-existent or moved files following changes or due to a script error.
• Log files are useful for security. For example, monitoring attempts at gaining access to commonly exploited files (eg. login credentials). Luckily, my website doesn't have those files, as they certainly seem to be actively targeted.
• Log files are useful for statistics. For example, discovering that my Shoe Lacing Methods section is four times as popular as my Shoelace Knots section. This knowledge helps me to devote more time to what my website's visitors actually want.
• Each entry in a log file includes the address of the item being requested (eg. a file or image on Ian's Shoelace Site) plus the address from which the request was made (eg. your computer/handset's IP address). Such requesting addresses mean nothing to me. I have neither the time, resources nor incentive to track individuals and decipher their interests.
People's e-mails are very important to me. In fact, I've kept every e-mail that I've ever sent or received – both private and professional. It's an amazing archive that currently spans almost a quarter of a century – way back to 1996!
Rather than entrusting all of this potentially private e-mail correspondence to “the cloud” via third-parties like Google (gmail) or Yahoo! (ymail), it's all kept off-line. Admittedly this limits my ability to read all of my past e-mails from any device anywhere in the world – but it likewise prevents other unauthorized persons from reading them.
In short, if you send me an e-mail, the only person ever likely to read it is me.
That said, any worthwhile feedback that I receive in your e-mails may be added to this website for the benefit of other visitors. Any such feedback will be anonymized by showing only the initial of the surname (eg. “Ian F.”).
I have never maintained a mailing list of website visitors' e-mail addresses.
• I don't have a newsletter, special offers, competitions, promotions or anything similar to which visitors can “sign up” with their e-mail address.
• I don't harvest e-mail addresses from visitors' e-mail correspondence.
• I have never sold, given, traded or exchanged e-mail addresses to/with any third party.
I'll continue to add to and modify this page as I think of other potential privacy issues.
NOTE: I hope that this page has addressed your privacy questions. If you still have concerns or suggestions, please contact me – I'm interested!
In summary, I'm trying my hardest not to breach anyone's privacy. In fact, the average visitor can learn far more about me from their visit to this website than I could ever possibly learn about them!