Data Privacy Day 2010: No More Cookies or Web bugs at MichaelZimmer.org

January 28, 2010 is Data Privacy Day:

Data Privacy Day is an international celebration of the dignity of the individual expressed through personal information.  In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized, with our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes, we have to ask – who is collecting all of this – what are they doing with it  – with whom are they sharing it?  Most of all, individuals are asking ‘How can I protect my information from being misused?’  These are reasonable questions to ask – we should all want to know the answers.

To celebrate, I’ve taken some steps to make MichaelZimmer.org even more privacy-friendly:

  • I have replaced the commonly used ShareThis widget with Sociable. Both allow readers to easily post and share stories from my blog to various social networking sites, but Sociable does it without the use of web cookies or web bugs. Sociable simply automatically creates the necessary links, that’s it. No one is tracking what you decide to share, or where you do it.
  • I have ended my use of StatCounter for basic tracking and measurement of who visits this site, how they got here, and what they do while here. StatCounter’s privacy policy is pretty simple, but the service is dependent on a persistent cookie. While nearly everyone on the planet uses some kind of web analytic tool to track users, until I can find one that doesn’t rely on cookies or web bugs, I can live without it.
  • I’ve updated the site’s Privacy Policy to reflect these changes (the old policy is here).

You can validate these changes by installing the Ghostery Firefox extension, which alerts you about the web bugs, ad networks and widgets on every page you visit. Nothing should appear when you visit MichaelZimmer.org, but you’ll be amazed to learn how other sites & advertisers are tracking users.

Enjoy Data Privacy Day, and let me know what you’re doing to get involved.

3 comments

  1. Thank God this tyrannical tracking by MichaelZimmer.org has finally come to an end! I for one will sleep better tonight knowing that my personal information will not be used to… to… wait, what am I supposed to be worried about again?

    But hey, why the requirement to provide name, email and website (+math proficiency test) before we are allowed to comment? I demand fully anonymous posting rights on this site!!

  2. Hi Adam – yeah, sometimes trusting 3rd parties is hard, so I just removed them….who knows what ShareThis does with all that clickthrough data its collecting 🙂

    And, for the record, commenters only need to put in “a” name, their real name (as well as email and website) are purely optional. Basic math skills remain a necessity.

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