Privacy

Privacy is a key element in protecting your freedom from people, corporations and governments who would otherwise desire to take it away from you. This is not a traditional lawyer written privacy statement.

Many sites (almost all) track your behavior in order to do two things: 1. figure out who you are and what you like, and 2. find out how to improve their website by tracking you through the site. In the first case, some websites (I'm not just talking about swords) may do something like figure out if you are browsing from a brand-new ultimate level device, and if so, that you may be less price sensitive than someone who is browsing on a generic 7 year old out of date device. As such you may receive a higher price by a marketing engine that thinks you have more money to spare. This is one reason why you should block tracking cookies and services.

Tracking of course extends cross site. A major website for instance may want to subscribe to a Google tracking service so that they know if you were googling for Nike sneakers, that when you hit their site they should show you Nike shoes. This increases their chance of making a sale, but also it means they were effectively eavesdropping on what you did with Google.

When people become part of these tracking networks they become part of a major problem, which is the loss of privacy and the loss of your freedom. It's not a loss of their privacy or their freedom because they probably are opting out and blocking all of this stuff. It's about destroying the freedom of the cogs in the machine so that they can crank the machine to produce dollars out the other end.

The other major reason I do not subscribe to tracking is that loading all these social media engines and search engine analytics scripts takes time. It puts load on the website and puts load on your browser and it ruins your experience online because everything loads slow and runs slow. I take pride in polishing my site like I'm a 20 year old with a new car and a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do. Except I am old and have too much to do, but I still try to make this site the best possible site on the internet for sword viewing. I won't load this crap into my site because I don't like my site being slow, it annoys me, and that is one of the big drivers for me in life. The first person who got annoyed at being cold through the night is probably the person who figured out how to get a fire running. Annoyance with crappy TV pictures got us HDTV. If people were not annoyed we'd make no progress.

Anyway, the more people try to block this corporate spyware the more tricky the ad networks get about inserting it. There are some ways of tracking your behavior which are hard to detect like device fingerprinting. There is work being done now by Mozilla and others to try to thwart it but basically it's impossible to know if a site is fingerprinting you and then subscribing on the back end to a network that processes this information.

So here is my statement on all that stuff.

Methods and Policies

Secure Protocol

My site uses secure encrypted transmission between you and the site only at this point. This means your internet provider cannot spy on what you're looking at. This means that governments with illegal taps into data centers and long haul internet backbones cannot spy on what you're looking at. This means that hackers cannot spy at what you're looking at. This means I lose people who do not have HTTPS in their browser. There are not many though. There will be a point about 5 years out when all sites will use HTTPS all the time. This is just on the advance edge of the curve. This is a good thing for humanity. Embrace it.

Tracking

This site does not track you and will not track you. I do not subscribe to tracking networks. I don't pay for advertising (I am not past taking a $100 free handout from a search engine to get some free advertising on their results from time to time however). I don't pay for links. I don't load any analytics scripts into your browser. Whatever possible way I can locate where technology is wasting your CPU time or internet bandwidth on this stuff I cut out. This site rises and falls in search engines on the strength of its content only. This will never change.

Your Data

First, I don't really have your data. Second, what I do have is from the standard server logs of access and what files are downloading and what errors are on the site. This is not for sale to third parties. Any financial transactions you do with me to buy a sword or another item are also not sold. Nor do I buy any information about customer data from any third parties. The best protection against hacking is to not have any data. Then there is nothing to hack.

Cookies

When governments, especially in Europe, decided they would Do Something about privacy and tracking they went after the 1991 technology of browser cookies which is really not the problem at all and everyone who is interested in tracking you has already moved well past. So you get these nonsense cookie notifications in Europe. This is your cookie notification. There is one cookie on this website and it is to set the state of my quick reference menu to open or closed, for your convenience. When you load a new page it lets that menu then when it starts up, ask if it should be open or closed and do the right thing. But maybe it's better to just kill that function and have no cookies at all. Anyway, my promise to you is that I won't set any cookies past this one. No other website can read this cookie, it is not given to anyone else, nor is it useful unless they want to know your menu preferences. Otherwise this site stores no data on your computer.

Wordpress

I use Wordpress for running my blog.

Wordpress is a huge monster of functions that is impossible to ever really know entirely what is going on. But I don't have time to write my own blogging platform so I'm using it because it is a one click install on my website.

I have not configured Wordpress to try to track you. Wordpress will tell me the geographic locations of people visiting the blog as a chart, and I get no other information.

Wordpress has a series of plugins which run, some of which may try to do Helpful things which are beyond my control. I've had a look at the code and I don't see any tracking in there, but these plugins auto-update themselves and I don't know in the future if one may try to insert a tracking cookie or something like this. If this happens and you notice it, please let me know. This thing is basically a gun, and I am trying to take all the bullets out of the gun so it can't fire.

Spam

When you use wordpress, Russian spambots eventually infiltrate your website and start signing up. More than half of my signups were spambots and I don't have the time to individually investigate each and every one. Some of those spambots start inserting advertising comments and links to other sites. I don't have the time to block each and every comment. Some of those spambots are being signed up for some other reason I don't understand and don't have time to understand. I use a plugin on Wordpress called Cleantalk which I pay for. This service does try to analyze signups to determine if they are robots or botnets or spammers and if so block them from signing onto the service. So know that if you join the blog they will filter your IP address and email address to test if you're a Russian spambot or not. This is a good thing for everyone but it overlaps a bit with my position on tracking. The alternative is having no signups at all, which I may do.

Social Media

I have no presence on Facebook because of what they do with your information and I don't want to be part of that.

I have a twitter account which I barely use which is not integrated well with this site except to let you follow a link to my twitter page. It is not integrated with tracking.

I have written some of my own code to integrate with Pinterest. This code embeds a link to Pinterest to allow you to pin one of my images there. I am not loading their libraries which are probably full of tracking and analytics garbage. I wrote it myself so I would know it is fast and not full of crap, and it's all done when the page is built so there is nothing to run on your machine.

I did this only because people were pinning my images anyway and not bothering to cite where they came from. This encouraged other people to use my images from them. Some bloggers were then using Pinterest as a reference, and other people from Pinterest would see images in the blog and pin them and then the blogger would get credit as the author of the image. So I wrote this as if you can't beat them, then join them. I don't like what they do but I had to do this in order to protect my work. It's better to have it cited properly so people know who made it and what use terms are than to have it go on as it was.

General Policy

Basically this: I don't care who you are. I don't care why you're here. I'm not going to try to take your information and use it to my profit by selling it, nor am I going to use it to try to improve my site. When I find Wordpress packages in the blog section that try to take your data, I disable them or recode them to stop doing that. It's not my business to snoop on what you're doing or guess at what you'll do next. You are welcome to look at and use my site and move on. I won't slow down your web browsing experience so that I can try to squeeze a few more bucks out of my commercial efforts. I believe in a secure internet and one in which people's privacy is respected so I do my best to align this site with my personal philosophies on that matter. I believe the right to basic privacy like reading a website is the same as going to a library and reading a book. I believe it to be a human right. You have a basic right to your private thoughts and to read and educate yourself and nobody should be violating that.