I am concerned about online privacy. I recognize that it is not a “nice to have” extra, or something to get around, but necessary. I believe that people have a right to keep their inner lives actually private, and know that a great deal of our online behaviour is being mined to figure out things that we don’t necessarily even know about ourselves yet.
(For a 12-minute presentation I did on the importance of privacy and online security, you can check here.)
At the same time, some of these marketing technologies are vitally important to the success of tiny startup businesses, and I have implemented some of the most common ones.
I have an official policy (down below) drafted using an online service, but it is all that barely comprehensible legalese that is more about protecting my butt than actually telling you what is going on. In more clear terms, here’s what I’ve got:
This website is built using WordPress.
I maintain my own servers, and keep both the WordPress installation and the servers up to date with security patches on a nearly weekly basis, or when new versions are released. The specific plugins and themes change on fairly regular basis, but I always have security and privacy concerns at the top of my list when I make any changes or additions.
At the moment I do not collect any personally identifiable information. If I do start doing so, I would like you to know that I believe in the importance of people being able to control what information is left behind in their traces, so anything I implement will include things like “being able to delete stuff for real.” (This will be required by European law starting on May 25, 2018, so I’m ahead of the curve! ) Also, any sales I make would be stored in a secure server through a payment gateway, not on my own servers.
2. Mailing List
My mailing list is hosted at MailChimp, and if you sign up for it, all appropriate features (like security and being able to unsubscribe) will be provided through their service.
A couple of things about mailing lists: We know a lot about what you are doing with our emails. We know if you (specifically) have opened particular emails, whether/what links you have clicked on, which wording was on the page you signed up from… things like that. Everybody who has an email provider worth their salt has access to this sort of functionality. They may not know how to use it, but they could. This means that the way you interact with the emails may change what I send you. (This is also how you get those eerie emails when you click on a link to a product but don’t buy the thing. I haven’t done that, but I’ve seen it done.)
I will not give anybody else access to my mailing list, nor will I use it for anything other than emailing you. (I will not, for example, give it to any other social network to connect with you there.)
If I change email providers but keep the same business, I will take the mailing list with me. In that case, I will delete it from the original mail provider. If I change businesses substantially (more than just changing the name of the website etc.) I will let you know, and may give you the option to join the new mailing list, but I will not just take the existing list to the new business.
I (like many other people you probably follow) use a technology that links this website back to FB. This allows FB (but not me) to know if you have visited this website. FB may use that information to send you messages from me, but I will not know who you are.
I cannot tell if FB targets you with an ad from me: that’s done by algorithms that are outside of my control. I may target (for example) 45-year-old women with purple hair* who live in Oklahoma, but I will not know who the specific women are who fit that profile. This also has nothing to do with the link back from this website.
(* Actually, I don’t think FB knows what colour your hair is. But I could say, “people who like [a page that features rainbow hair dyes].”)
If you want a lot more information on how cookies work, there is a good explainer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxoZSEbrX5A
I am not currently using Google Analytics*, or Google Ads, so if there are ads showing up around my site, that is from your browser and your own search history, not anything to do with this website.
If either of the previous sections gave you pause, you might want to do some research on “remarketing” or “retargeting” to find out why/how “they” show you things you were just looking at.
* This is likely to change since I can’t currently tell how many people are reading my posts.
I will be making some changes to this document over the next couple of weeks in anticipation of GDPR. They will make it more private, not less.
Now for the long legal version designed to reassure you that we take this seriously, without any risk of you actually reading it:
What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?
When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address or other details to help you with your experience.
When do we collect information?
We collect information from you when you register on our site, fill out a form or enter information on our site.
How do we use your information?
We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:
• To send periodic emails regarding your order or other products and services.
How do we protect your information?
We only provide articles and information. We never ask for credit card numbers.
Do we use ‘cookies’?
We may send cookies to your computer in order to uniquely identify your browser and improve the quality of our service. The term“cookies” refers to small pieces of information that a website sends to your computer’s hard drive while you are viewing the Site. We may use both session cookies (which expire once you close your browser) and persistent cookies (which stay on your computer until you delete them). You have the ability to accept or decline cookies using your web browser settings. If you choose to disable cookies, some areas of the Site may not work properly or at all.
• Keep track of advertisements.
• Compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interactions in order to offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may also use trusted third-party services that track this information on our behalf.
You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies. You do this through your browser settings. Since each browser is a little different, look at your browser’s Help Menu to learn the correct way to modify your cookies.
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information. This does not include website hosting partners and other parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or serving our users, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release information when it’s release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others’ rights, property or safety.
However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.
Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third-party products or services on our website. These third-party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.
Google’s advertising requirements can be summed up by Google’s Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users. https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/1316548?hl=en
We have not enabled Google AdSense on our site but we may do so in the future.
California Online Privacy Protection Act
According to CalOPPA, we agree to the following:
Users can visit our site anonymously.
Can change your personal information:
• By emailing us
How does our site handle Do Not Track signals?
We honor Do Not Track signals and Do Not Track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.
Does our site allow third-party behavioral tracking?
It’s also important to note that we allow third-party behavioral tracking
COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)
When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 years old, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, United States’ consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children’s privacy and safety online.
We do not specifically market to children under the age of 13 years old.
Fair Information Practices
The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.
In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:
We will notify you via email
• Within 7 business days
We also agree to the Individual Redress Principle which requires that individuals have the right to legally pursue enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or government agencies to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.
CAN SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
We collect your email address in order to:
• Send information, respond to inquiries, and/or other requests or questions
• Process orders and to send information and updates pertaining to orders.
• Send you additional information related to your product and/or service
• Market to our mailing list or continue to send emails to our clients after the original transaction has occurred.
To be in accordance with CANSPAM, we agree to the following:
• Not use false or misleading subjects or email addresses.
• Identify the message as an advertisement in some reasonable way.
• Include the physical address of our business or site headquarters.
• Monitor third-party email marketing services for compliance, if one is used.
• Honor opt-out/unsubscribe requests quickly.
• Allow users to unsubscribe by using the link at the bottom of each email.
If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at
• Follow the instructions at the bottom of each email and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.
650 Hillside Rd
Albert Bridge, NS B1K 3H8
Last Edited on April 11, 2018