The privacy policy I want to write.

by w3woody

Look, I don’t know who you are, I don’t want to know who you are, I barely have the wherewithal to know who I am, and it’s not like our apps connect to anything or…

What, I’m supposed to have a privacy policy now? Really?

Warning: Language. If you’re under 18, get your parents to read this to you, so they can skip over naughty words, because trust me: this whole thing is full of naughty words that you shouldn’t use until you’re an old crotchety software developer drinking an Old Fashioned. (And if you don’t know what an Old Fashioned is, ask your mommy and daddy. Or the cool kid at school who often shows up looking a little… out of it.)

After all, if you’re under 18, you shouldn’t be here. You’re certainly not old enough to legally be held to a stupid privacy policy which I didn’t want to write. Instead, here’s a link to Nickelodeon. I hear they have games staring that weird sponge with pants…

All privacy policies start with the following words:

Your privacy is important to us.

Then they tell you all the ways they’re screwing you, what information they’re taking, how they’re selling it to other people, how they’re going to abuse the hell out of your privacy just as soon as they can figure out how to “monetize” your sorry ass. Because money is king, right?

But what no-one tells them is that it’s hard to monetize someone’s information. I used to work for Yahoo! (and you know that’s true because I spell Yahoo! with a stupid exclamation point), and I know just how much work it is to squeeze a penny for every page you visit.

And me, I just want to be left the hell alone so I can make software that someone out there may enjoy.

So let me start with the cold, hard truth.

I don’t give a damn who you are, where you are or what you do here.

I don’t care. I don’t want to know who you are. I don’t want to spend tons and tons of effort “monetizing” you or your behavior or giving that information to anyone else, unless there is a pretty damned good reason to do so, which I will spell out if and when I have to.

So as a rule if I have to go through the trouble of tracking you, it is not nor will it ever be for the purpose of sharing or selling your information to third party resellers or those obnoxious jerks who call you in the middle of the night asking if you want a “free” vacation to the Bahamas. Because those trips are never “free.”

Now all that is different if you want to be friends. I could use more friends, to be honest. But at that point, I’d be a pretty crappy friend selling your privacy out for a couple of bucks, right?

So look. The way this shit works is simple, and it works the same way on every web site, mobile app, desktop app, grocery store purchase or gas station you visit.

There is personally identifying information, such as your name, your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other crap which would allow a private investigator or a government official to send the cops over to have a “chat.”

Then there is non-personally identifying information, such as the IP address, the version of your web browser, the web page you visit, where you visited from, and a whole bunch of other crap which–well, while we can’t use that information to figure out who you are, it’s not like there aren’t a whole bunch of companies trying to trace that back to individuals.

Which I always thought was bullshit.

Now, when you visit this web site, including visiting it from our apps (Kythera and RSSNews), WordPress (who hosts this web site and my other web sites) does gather a bunch of non-identifying information. They even have this lovely “Stats” page which displays summaries of all this information, and once in a while I confess I may log into that page to say “someone hit my web site from Germany. Cool!”

And if I get off my lazy ass, I may even use that information to “optimize” my web site–though frankly I probably won’t get past the map of countries. But I might. And if I do. I may use that non-personally identifying stuff.

Now that “Personally Identifying” stuff–well, that happens when you log into WordPress in order to leave me a nasty-gram. And when you do that, I get to see who you are: the information you foolishly provided WordPress. Now they are the ones who track all that information, and they share it with–well, as far as I can figure, they can share it with Gravitar, other WordPress hosted sites, and for all I know, the NSA. They have their own privacy policy, and if you care about such things, maybe they’re the ones to talk to.

Me, I got nothing to do with any of that.

And in point of fact, I won’t share any of that information you plug into the web site, including your name, home address, mother’s maiden name or any other information you gave WordPress thinking “what can it harm?”–because as I said above, I don’t give a damn who you are.

By the way, the same goes for if you e-mail me or send me your information via the contact page.

No-one is telling you to use the contact page or even visit my web site (but please stay; I’m begging you to stay!), but if you do, well, I’ll get an e-mail with your name (or whatever name you made up when setting up your account), and of course your e-mail address.

By the way, I am required to tell you this by law, because that’s how screwed up as a society we’ve become: if you e-mail me, I may use your e-mail to send you back a response!

I know, right? Damned sly of me.

But, and this is important: I won’t use your e-mail to send you unsolicited notices or sell your e-mail to a third party for solicitations.

Because it’s just too damned hard to make money selling e-mails a single e-mail address at a time, especially now when the last spam I received told me I could get like a million e-mail addresses for $25. I mean that’s what, like 0.0025 cents per e-mail?

And frankly I’m up to my eyeballs in junk e-mails as it is, and I’m sure you are as well.

Someday I may (and emphasis on “may”) figure out how to use MailChimp and set up a mailing list so you can hear self-important drivel about me. And when that happens, you’ll be able to opt-in and opt-out.

Until that day happens, however, just keep reading my blog. Perhaps using RSSNews? (Hint hint.)

A couple of more things.

Cookies are these little pernicious bits of data that are handed to your web browser, and they fall under the same category of nonsense that can be used to track what web sites you are on, where you’re going and all that stuff.

WordPress certainly uses cookies; I mean, they have this whole Cookie Policy which can be used to bore yourself to sleep.

But none of the software I develop (except the web site for Hollins Certificates) uses cookies–and there cookies are only used to track your session (and go away when you close your browser), and (ironically enough) to track if you’ve seen the cookie warning.

I mean, how meta is that, having to set a cookie so I can know you’ve already read my cookie policy?

Also, something a lot of apps do nowadays which often people forget to mention in their privacy policies is that they often embed analytics libraries from companies like Google to track how you use your software. They’ll track what windows you have open, what pages you visit, and basically spy on your every move within the app–all for “performance reasons.”

Bah. That shit is just too much trouble, it never really helps you tune your app, rarely does it work right, and frankly I’m too lazy to use it.

So as a matter of policy (and personal disgust) I don’t use any analytics software on any of our apps. Kythera and RSSNews will never “phone home” with reports as to how many minutes you spent staring at porn reading the news. RSSNews does access the web to download RSS feeds–but that is between you and whichever web sites you’re visiting.

I don’t care.

And Kythera will send you to our web page if you ask for a tutorial–at which point, well, see all the drivel above.

Now here’s a whole bunch of other nonsense some guy wants me to say, including some stuff which should be so painfully obvious it hurts.

(1) If you visit another web site from a link on ours, I have no idea what’s going on there. So follow links at your own risk, because their privacy policy may be completely different than mine and WordPress’s. They may be selling your personal information to Russia for all I know.

(2) If you’re in Europe, you have the right to download all personally identifying information I’ve gathered. Since that’s “none”, well, there you go.

(3) Likewise, if you’re in Europe you have the right to be forgotten and for us to delete your information. But that requires that I actually remember you in the first place, right?

Now the WordPress half of things–talk to them. Not my monkey, not my circus.

(4) You also have the right to know how we use your information and to object to the processing of that information. But since I don’t use your information (except to draw pretty maps in some stats page I may visit, and to e-mail you back if you contact me), well, it’s hard for me to know what you could object to.

That map on my stats page? Again, talk to WordPress.

(5) You also have the right to know which technologies I use to secure your information. But since I don’t gather your information, unless you e-mail me–well, there you go, right? And if you do e-mail me, it’s stored on my laptop unless I “accidentally” delete it. And I use a firewall at home because I’m the distrustful curmudgeonly type.

Now periodically I may change shit around on this web page, or WordPress may do something stupid forcing me to switch to another provider. I may also release a new app or two which requires things like me going through the hassle of setting up an account page and e-mailing you password reset instructions and all that crap.

And when that happens, well, the privacy policy above may have to change, right? And when that happens, I may blog about it, or (if I ever get MailChimp working) I may e-mail you.

(I probably won’t get MailChimp working; I’m lazy that way.)

There. That’s my privacy policy. Just like pulling teeth.

Now if you want to bitch about my language or if you think something above isn’t clear, or if you just want to hang out and talk about 3D rendering algorithms, drop me a line.