Privacy is important. No one likes getting emails they didn’t sign up for, and I won’t use any information you give me in any way except for the purpose it was intended. Websites, however, do store data. I’m going to tell you what I store at kathleen-parrish.com and what you can do about it if it raises any concerns.
Most of the information I store is information you give me freely. My site is protected by SSL which ensures that everything sent to or from my server is encrypted. In addition, I use robust security software, obtained through my hosting service (WordPress.com), to maintain security on my site to the best of my ability.
Sadly, there are people who love to fill websites with spam comments. My site is no exception. My hosting service uses Akismet to provide anti-spam services. If you are concerned with their processing of your data, I urge you not to leave comments. You can read more about Akismet’s privacy policies here.
Every website needs maintenance and management services, and websites hosted on WordPress are no different. These services are provided through Automattic, the folks behind a variety of the products and services by WordPress that are designed to allow anyone — from bloggers, to authors, to photographers, small business owners, and enterprises — to take full advantage of the power and promise of the open web.
You can read more about Automattic’s privacy policies here, but the gist is that they will only collect and store personal information needed for you to use my website and to support the services they provide or feature on my website (e.g., blog stats). Information will only be collected if there is a reason to do so—for example, to provide services, communicate with you, or to make the website better.
Now…about what I collect:
Newsletters and Blogs
I use MailChimp for newsletters and blog entries. When you subscribe, I collect your name, IP address (the address of your computer), and email address so that I can send you the occasional update about what is going on in my world. Want to be removed from this list? Click unsubscribe at the bottom of any newsletter, or send me an email.
In addition, my newsletters do send a message back to MailChimp when they are opened. This helps me to better design my future content. I view and store the statistics about whether you’ve opened the newsletters or not. You can read more about MailChimp’s privacy policies here.
I love your comments, and a good discussion, as long as it stays civil! To allow for discussion, you have the opportunity to post comments (and replies) on my website. The information collected includes your name, email address, IP address, and your comments. If you ever wish to have your comments removed, send me an email and I’ll remove them.
While I love comments, I don’t like spam of the electronic or mystery meat kind. To protect my site (and my visitors) from spam, your information is compared with a list of known spam senders by Askismet. The information Askismet collects includes the commenter’s IP address, user agent, referrer, and Site URL, and the comment itself. Askismet doesn’t do anything with the data and they purge it in a few days, however, I keep the data and comments and store them in my database. Here’s another link to Askismet’s privacy policies if you want to rummage through the details.
Website Activity Tracking
WordPress, my hosting company, provides me with basic data on who accesses my site. The data stored in this manner is not traceable back to any individual and is deliberately generalized. It provides me with information related to the site visitors’ country of origin, what browser they are using, and how long they stayed on the site. For example, WP keeps the web server logs that record information about a visitor to my website, like the visitor’s IP address, browser type, and operating system, for about 30 days. WP retains the logs for this period in order to, among other things, analyze traffic to their websites and investigate issues if something goes wrong.
When I delete a post, page, or comment from my website, it stays in my trash folder for thirty days in case I change my mind and would like to restore that content, because starting from scratch is no fun. After the thirty days are up, the deleted content may remain on a backup or cache until purged. If you ask me to delete a comment, it should be off my webpage as soon as it’s deleted, and out of my Trash folder within 30 days.
In addition, Google, Bing , Yahoo, and other search engines track website visitors independently of my website. This is something that happens whenever the internet is used. If you do not want to be tracked, please consider using a private browser window (the deets are here). The information these search engines store is not traceable to one individual and so is very generic in nature. I do not store this information; however, I may occasionally look at the stats so that I can tell what people are searching for when they come to my site. This helps me provide more relevant content.
Cookies are used on my website to ensure the integrity of the registration process and to personalize the site. A cookie is a small text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie.
One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. For example, the cookie notice on this site will place a cookie on your computer when you accept it. This simplifies the process of delivering relevant content, eases site navigation, and so on. When you return to the website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the site’s features that you customized. From time to time, you may be asked to refresh your cookie acceptance.
Web beacons, also known as clear gif technology, or action tags, may be used to assist in delivering cookies. This technology is a tool used to compile aggregated statistics about web site usage, such as how many visitors clicked on key elements (such as links or graphics) on a Web page, blog, or a newsletter. No private or personal information is transferred by web beacons.
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Many web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can modify your browser settings to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of this or other websites you visit.
Changes to this Statement
Change happens. I may occasionally update this privacy statement. When I do, I will also revise the “last updated” date at the top of the privacy statement. I encourage you to periodically review this privacy statement to stay informed about how I am helping to protect the personal information I collect. Your continued use of my website constitutes your agreement to this privacy statement and any updates.
For my International Visitors
This site is hosted in the United States. If you are accessing the site from outside the United States, by providing your information, you are consenting to the transfer of your information to the United States for processing and maintenance in accordance with this Privacy Notice. You are also consenting to the application of United States law in all matters concerning the Site. Mailchimp participates in and has certified its compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Automattic and Akismet both acknowledge your rights under the European General Data Protection Regulation (aka the “GDPR”).
About Your Payment Information
At this time I’m avoiding collecting any payment information from you like the plague. Anything I sell (like fabulous books or other media) will be made available on third party platforms, like Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites, or will use PayPal. Anything made available directly on my website will be free.