Pervasive Legal Paranoia

Apparently, WordPress is of the opinion that if I speak publicly on their platform and anyone, even unknown to me, reads what I say from the EU, then I must take steps to be compliant with EU law. Well, IMHO, since I’m not a commercial operation and have no revenue, they can fine me 4% of it and I’ll send them a check for $0.00 and be done… Besides, it’s not ME doing any tracking here.

This notice appeared in my management panel today:

Akismet & Privacy.

To help your site be compliant with GDPR and other laws requiring notification of tracking, Akismet can display a notice to your users on your contact form. This feature is disabled by default, however, if you or your audience is located in Europe, you need to turn it on.

Please enable or disable this feature. More information.

I don’t even know if I have a “contact form”… so what’s in that “More Information” link? It sends me to automatic.com; a site I know nothing about, but who, it would seem, is important to my being compelled to do something for the EU. I suspect they are the parent in some way for the laundry list of sites in the notice, including WordPress.

https://automattic.com/privacy-notice/

A dozen pages of all sorts of technical jargon, brand names, and legal terms follows, the original filled with dozens of links to what are not doubt dozens of more pages of equally incomprehensible jargon and undefined terms of “Policy”.

So since I don’t know if I have a contact form, I’m going to turn on whatever notice it does, and include here what they say in their privacy notice page just so everyone is notified of whatever it says. And ’cause I don’t want to waste a stamp mailing a check for $0.00 to Europe.

Privacy Notice for Visitors to Our Users’ Sites

Hi there! This Privacy Notice explains how we, at Automattic, process information about the visitors of our users’ websites in connection with the services we provide through WordPress.com, Jetpack (including WooCommerce Services), IntenseDebate, Polldaddy.com, and Akismet. Read on!
Who’s Who and What This Privacy Notice Covers

Let’s talk first about who we are at Automattic, what we do, and what this Privacy Notice covers.

We are the folks behind a variety of products and services designed to allow anyone–from bloggers, to small business owners, and enterprises–to create, publish, and manage their own websites:

WordPress.com offers the design, features, and support to bring a website to life.
With Jetpack, website owners that host their websites elsewhere can connect those websites to features and tools available through WordPress.com and WooCommerce Services.
Polldaddy helps site owners create quizzes, surveys, and polls that fit their brand and vision.
Intense Debate gives site owners tools to manage comments on their websites.
Akismet helps keep spam under control by filtering out spam comments–hundreds of millions, every day!

To keep things simple, in this Privacy Notice we’ll refer to the users of the services we provide through these products and services–such as a website’s administrator, contributor, author, or editor–as our “Users,” and we’ll refer to our Users’ websites as “Sites.” Visitors to those Sites can read published content and interact with the Sites through features such as comments, “likes,” poll/survey responses, and follows.

We put together this Privacy Notice to help our Users understand the information we collect about their Site visitors (a/k/a our Users’ users), and how that happens on their Sites. Our Users are responsible for publishing a privacy policy on their Sites that explains to their visitors how data is collected via the Sites and how that information is used and disclosed.

This Privacy Notice does not apply to the information we collect about Users and those who visit Automattic’s websites (like automattic.com, wordpress.com, jetpack.com, or akismet.com)–that’s covered in our Privacy Policy.

Alright, with those introductions out of the way, let’s turn to how we collect, use, and share information about visitors to our Users’ Sites.
Information We Collect About Visitors to Our Users’ Sites

We collect information about visitors to our Users’ Sites in a few different ways–we collect certain information that the visitors provide to the Site, we collect some information automatically, and we collect any information that our Users provide to us about their visitors.
Information a Visitor Provides to a Site

We’ll start with information that visitors provide directly to a Site, which primarily happens when visitors type into a text field on a Site, like a comment field or a sign-up form. Our Users may also implement other ways to allow Site visitors to provide information directly through their Sites.

Here are the most common ways in which a visitor directly provides information to a Site:

Follower and Subscriber Information: When a visitor signs up to follow or subscribe to a Site using Jetpack or WordPress.com, we collect the sign-up information requested by the Site, which typically includes an email address.
Site Comments: When a visitor leaves a comment on a Site, we collect that comment, and other information that the visitor provides along with the comment, such as the visitor’s name and email address.
PollDaddy Survey Responses: When a visitor completes a poll, quiz, or other type of survey prepared by a User via Polldaddy.com, we collect the visitor’s responses to those surveys, and other information that the survey owner requires for a poll/quiz/survey response, like an e-mail address.
Order and Shipment Information: If a visitor orders something (hooray!) from a Site using our store and ecommerce features available through WordPress.com or Jetpack (including WooCommerce Services), we may collect information to process that order, such as credit card and billing information, and an address for shipping the package along to the recipient and calculating applicable taxes. We may also use this information for other purposes on behalf of our Users–for example, to send marketing and other communications from our Users to their customers, and to provide our User with analytics information about their ecommerce site (e.g., the number of orders from particular geographic areas).

Other Information Entered on the Site: We may also collect other information that a visitor enters on the Site–such as a contact form submission, a search query, or Site registration.

Information We Automatically Collect from the Site

We also automatically collect some information about visitors to a Site. The information we automatically collect depends on which of our services the Site uses. We’ve listed examples below:

Technical Data from a Visitor’s Computer and Etcetera: We collect the information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available about visitors to a Site, such as the IP address, browser type, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.
Visitor Interactions: We collect information about a visitor’s interactions with a Site, including the “likes” and “ratings” left by visitors to a Site using WordPress.com or Jetpack.

Location Information: We may determine the approximate location of a visitor’s device from the IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, tally for our Users how many people visit their Sites from certain geographic regions. If you’d like, you can read more about our Site Stats feature for WordPress.com sites and Jetpack sites.
Akismet Commenter Information: We collect information about visitors who comment on Sites that use our Akismet anti-spam service. The information we collect depends on how the User sets up Akismet for the Site, but typically includes the commenter’s IP address, user agent, referrer, and Site URL (along with other information directly provided by the commenter such as their name, username, email address…oh, and the comment itself, of course).
Polldaddy Response Information: We collect information about visitors who respond to a Polldaddy survey. The information that we collect typically includes IP address, browser type, operating system, user agent, and the web page last visited.

Intense Debate Commenter Information: We collect information about visitors who comment on Sites that use our Intense Debate service. The information that we collect depends on how the User sets up Intense Debate for the Site, but typically includes the IP address and account information on the Site, along with the comment.
Information from Cookies and Other Technologies: A cookie is a string of information that a Site stores on a visitor’s computer, and that the visitor’s browser provides to the Site each time the visitor returns. Pixel tags (also called web beacons) are small blocks of code placed on Sites. Automattic uses cookies and other technologies like pixel tags to help identify and track visitors and Site usage, and to deliver targeted ads when ads are enabled for free WordPress.com sites or when ads are enabled on a Site through WordAds or Jetpack Ads (see the “Other Tools” section below for more details). For more information about our use of cookies and other technologies for tracking, including how visitors can control the use of cookies, please see our Cookie Policy.

Sections

Who’s Who and What This Privacy Notice Covers
Information We Collect About Visitors to Our Users’ Sites
Information a Visitor Provides to a Site
Information We Automatically Collect from the Site
Other Information Provided by Our Users
How We Use Visitor Information
How We Share Visitor Information
Other Tools
Other Resources

Hi there! This Privacy Notice explains how we, at Automattic, process information about the visitors of our users’ websites in connection with the services we provide through WordPress.com, Jetpack (including WooCommerce Services), IntenseDebate, Polldaddy.com, and Akismet. Read on!
Who’s Who and What This Privacy Notice Covers

Let’s talk first about who we are at Automattic, what we do, and what this Privacy Notice covers.

We are the folks behind a variety of products and services designed to allow anyone–from bloggers, to small business owners, and enterprises–to create, publish, and manage their own websites:

WordPress.com offers the design, features, and support to bring a website to life.
With Jetpack, website owners that host their websites elsewhere can connect those websites to features and tools available through WordPress.com and WooCommerce Services.
Polldaddy helps site owners create quizzes, surveys, and polls that fit their brand and vision.
Intense Debate gives site owners tools to manage comments on their websites.
Akismet helps keep spam under control by filtering out spam comments–hundreds of millions, every day!

To keep things simple, in this Privacy Notice we’ll refer to the users of the services we provide through these products and services–such as a website’s administrator, contributor, author, or editor–as our “Users,” and we’ll refer to our Users’ websites as “Sites.” Visitors to those Sites can read published content and interact with the Sites through features such as comments, “likes,” poll/survey responses, and follows.

We put together this Privacy Notice to help our Users understand the information we collect about their Site visitors (a/k/a our Users’ users), and how that happens on their Sites. Our Users are responsible for publishing a privacy policy on their Sites that explains to their visitors how data is collected via the Sites and how that information is used and disclosed.

This Privacy Notice does not apply to the information we collect about Users and those who visit Automattic’s websites (like automattic.com, wordpress.com, jetpack.com, or akismet.com)–that’s covered in our Privacy Policy.

Alright, with those introductions out of the way, let’s turn to how we collect, use, and share information about visitors to our Users’ Sites.
Information We Collect About Visitors to Our Users’ Sites

We collect information about visitors to our Users’ Sites in a few different ways–we collect certain information that the visitors provide to the Site, we collect some information automatically, and we collect any information that our Users provide to us about their visitors.
Information a Visitor Provides to a Site

We’ll start with information that visitors provide directly to a Site, which primarily happens when visitors type into a text field on a Site, like a comment field or a sign-up form. Our Users may also implement other ways to allow Site visitors to provide information directly through their Sites.

Here are the most common ways in which a visitor directly provides information to a Site:

Follower and Subscriber Information: When a visitor signs up to follow or subscribe to a Site using Jetpack or WordPress.com, we collect the sign-up information requested by the Site, which typically includes an email address.
Site Comments: When a visitor leaves a comment on a Site, we collect that comment, and other information that the visitor provides along with the comment, such as the visitor’s name and email address.
PollDaddy Survey Responses: When a visitor completes a poll, quiz, or other type of survey prepared by a User via Polldaddy.com, we collect the visitor’s responses to those surveys, and other information that the survey owner requires for a poll/quiz/survey response, like an e-mail address.
Order and Shipment Information: If a visitor orders something (hooray!) from a Site using our store and ecommerce features available through WordPress.com or Jetpack (including WooCommerce Services), we may collect information to process that order, such as credit card and billing information, and an address for shipping the package along to the recipient and calculating applicable taxes. We may also use this information for other purposes on behalf of our Users–for example, to send marketing and other communications from our Users to their customers, and to provide our User with analytics information about their ecommerce site (e.g., the number of orders from particular geographic areas).
Other Information Entered on the Site: We may also collect other information that a visitor enters on the Site–such as a contact form submission, a search query, or Site registration.

Information We Automatically Collect from the Site

We also automatically collect some information about visitors to a Site. The information we automatically collect depends on which of our services the Site uses. We’ve listed examples below:

Technical Data from a Visitor’s Computer and Etcetera: We collect the information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available about visitors to a Site, such as the IP address, browser type, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.
Visitor Interactions: We collect information about a visitor’s interactions with a Site, including the “likes” and “ratings” left by visitors to a Site using WordPress.com or Jetpack.
Location Information: We may determine the approximate location of a visitor’s device from the IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, tally for our Users how many people visit their Sites from certain geographic regions. If you’d like, you can read more about our Site Stats feature for WordPress.com sites and Jetpack sites.
Akismet Commenter Information: We collect information about visitors who comment on Sites that use our Akismet anti-spam service. The information we collect depends on how the User sets up Akismet for the Site, but typically includes the commenter’s IP address, user agent, referrer, and Site URL (along with other information directly provided by the commenter such as their name, username, email address…oh, and the comment itself, of course).
Polldaddy Response Information: We collect information about visitors who respond to a Polldaddy survey. The information that we collect typically includes IP address, browser type, operating system, user agent, and the web page last visited.
Intense Debate Commenter Information: We collect information about visitors who comment on Sites that use our Intense Debate service. The information that we collect depends on how the User sets up Intense Debate for the Site, but typically includes the IP address and account information on the Site, along with the comment.
Information from Cookies and Other Technologies: A cookie is a string of information that a Site stores on a visitor’s computer, and that the visitor’s browser provides to the Site each time the visitor returns. Pixel tags (also called web beacons) are small blocks of code placed on Sites. Automattic uses cookies and other technologies like pixel tags to help identify and track visitors and Site usage, and to deliver targeted ads when ads are enabled for free WordPress.com sites or when ads are enabled on a Site through WordAds or Jetpack Ads (see the “Other Tools” section below for more details). For more information about our use of cookies and other technologies for tracking, including how visitors can control the use of cookies, please see our Cookie Policy.

Other Information Provided by Our Users

We also collect any other information that our Users provide to us about visitors to their Sites. For example, a User may upload a directory or other information about Site visitors and customers to the “backend” administrative platform for managing the Site.
How We Use Visitor Information

We use information about Site visitors in order to provide our Services to our Users and their Sites. Our users may use our Services to, for example, create and manage their Site, sell products and services on their Site, flag and fight comments from spammers, and collect information through polls, quizzes and other surveys.

In addition to the above, we use some information about Site visitors who are also our Users as described in our Privacy Policy.

We may also use and share information that has been aggregated or reasonably de-identified, so that the information could not reasonably be used to identify any individual. For instance, we may publish aggregate statistics about the use of our services.

How We Share Visitor Information

We may share information collected about Site visitors in the limited circumstances spelled out below:

Subsidiaries, Employees, and Independent Contractors: We may disclose Site visitor information to our subsidiaries, our employees, and individuals who are our independent contractors that need to know the information in order to help us provide our services to our Users and their Sites, or to process the information on our behalf. We require our subsidiaries, employees, and independent contractors to follow this Privacy Notice for information about visitors that we share with them.
Third Party Vendors: We may share Site visitor information with third party vendors who need to know this information in order to provide their services to us. This group includes vendors that help us provide our services to our Users and their Sites. We require vendors to agree to privacy commitments in order to share information with them.

Legal Requests: We may disclose Site visitor information in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request. For more information on how we respond to requests for information, please see our Legal Guidelines.
To Protect Rights, Property, and Others: We may disclose Site visitor information when we believe in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Automattic, our Users, third parties, or the public at large. For example, if we have a good faith belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, we may disclose information related to the emergency without delay.
Business Transfers: In connection with any merger, sale of company assets, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business by another company, or in the unlikely event that Automattic goes out of business or enters bankruptcy, Site visitor information would likely be one of the assets that is transferred or acquired by a third party. If any of these events were to happen, this Privacy Notice would continue to apply to Site visitor information and the party receiving this information may continue to use this information, but only consistent with this Privacy Notice.

Information Shared Publicly: Information that visitors choose to make public is–you guessed it–disclosed publicly. That means, of course, that information like visitor comments and “likes” are all available to others, including information about the visitor that is displayed in connection with a comment or “like” (such as a visitor’s WordPress.com username and Gravatar). We provide a “firehose” stream of public data (including comments) from Sites to provide that data to firehose subscribers, who may view and analyze the content, but do not have rights to re-publish it publicly. Public information may also be indexed by search engines or used by third parties.

Other Tools

Our Users’ Sites may contain ads from third party ad networks and advertisers, and our Users may integrate other tools and services on their Sites (such as Google Analytics and third party plugins). Please note that this Privacy Notice only covers the collection of information by Automattic, and does not cover the collection by any third party.

Ad networks and analytics providers may set tracking technologies (like cookies) to collect information about visitors’ use of a Site and across other websites and online services, such as a visitor’s IP address, web browser, mobile network information, pages viewed, time spent on pages, links clicked, and conversion information. This information may be used by those companies to, among other things, analyze and track usage, determine the popularity of certain content, and deliver advertisements that may be more targeted to visitor interests. For more information about how to manage and delete cookies, visit aboutcookies.org, and for more information on interest-based ads, including information about how visitors may be able to opt out of having their web browsing information used for behavioral advertising purposes, please visit aboutads.info/choices (US based) and youronlinechoices.eu (EU based).
Other Resources

You can read more about how our products and services operate on the links at the top of this notice.

And we’d love it if you follow us on privacy.blog for more information about privacy and transparency at Automattic.

So, don’t you feel better now, being all fully informed and enlightened?

If so, one of you can post a translation into plain English (or Spanish or French or anything that makes more sense than this…)

My take on it all is that it’s a match to my general state of Appropriate Paranoia about the Internet. Anything you say will be archived to be used against you. Any information you put out there will be shared with the world to better entangle you in legal messes, advertise you to oblivion, fill your mail box with SPAM, have political dossiers assembled about you, and in general be used for all manner of blackmail, intimidation, character assassination, and commercial exploitation.

In Related News

AOL has sent me a “here’s our complete lack of privacy notice”. Seems they were just sold to someone else.

I’m likely going to change my email provider anyway. (It’s just been too long and too much SPAM / content has accumulated). I may actually pay for one this time ;-) But that’s months in the future.

The new folks are named “Oath” and their non-Privacy Policy is a good indication of just why I am an extremely reluctant user of E-Mail. I’ve known about these kinds of activities for years. Just now we will get to know just who is actually doing them. Maybe now more folks will wake up to using encrypted email and it will get easier to find…

https://policies.oath.com/us/en/oath/privacy/controls/index.html

Remember, this applies to all AOL email and to any email to or from me.

Privacy Controls

At Oath, we fundamentally believe that the best user experience is a personalized one. We provide you with many controls built-in to manage your experience with us. We are working to get all these options centralized for all our combined products, but in the meantime please choose the options relevant for your Legacy Yahoo or AOL product.

Control Legacy Yahoo Products Legacy AOL Products
Edit your account information and settings, including your profile and contact information. My Account My Account
You can unsubscribe from marketing messages or newsletters using this link, or directly from the link in the email footer. Marketing Preferences Marketing Preferences
We attempt to match the advertising you see through our systems with your interests based on your online activities and expressed preferences. Ad Interest Manager provides a view into what our systems believe you are interested in and allows you to selectively manage each interest or opt out of personalized advertising by Yahoo’s and AOL ad systems. Ad Interest Manager Opt-Out of interest-based advertising
Search assistance recommendations draw upon your historical searches at Yahoo and AOL to better personalize your search experience. Utilize this tool to view what you’ve searched on in the past using our search technology, remove individual searches, clear your entire history from search assist use, or block further personalization of search assistance suggestions. Search History AOL Search Preferences
Yahoo provides customized content based on your online activities, expressed preferences, and linked accounts to better understand your preferences. Visit this tool to see the content topics you like and dislike, make alterations to those, or opt out of personalized content provided by our systems. Content Preferences
Our location management page allows you to access, manage, and remove geo-location information associated with your Yahoo account. Location Management
To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, Oath generates categories that are derived from your interactions with Oath Services. To make your experience more personalized, we may select advertising that are likely to match these categories. You can view the standard categories we use. Standard Categories Standard Categories

For additional information on how Oath treats your personal information, please visit our Privacy Policy.

That “privacy” policy link?

https://policies.oath.com/us/en/oath/privacy/index.html

Welcome to the Oath Privacy Center

In June 2017, we announced that Yahoo and AOL had joined to become Oath, a digital and mobile media company and part of Verizon. We’re now bringing Oath and Yahoo under a single privacy policy. Some things haven’t changed, like the control tools we provide to help you manage your experience with us. If you have an existing Yahoo or AOL account, you will need to agree to this Privacy Policy. If you have not yet agreed to this Privacy Policy, the legacy Yahoo Privacy Policy or legacy Oath Privacy Policy (for AOL) still apply to your account. For Oath products or services that are accessed without signing into an account, this Privacy Policy applies to those products and services starting May 25, 2018. If you are creating a new account, the terms below apply starting today.

Last updated: April 2018
Our Privacy Pledge

Our commitment is to put users first. We strive to be transparent about how we collect and use your information, to keep your information secure and to provide you meaningful choices. This Privacy Policy is meant to help you understand what information Oath, its affiliates and its house of global brands (“Oath,” “us,” “our” or “we”) collect, why we collect it and what we do with it. This policy applies to Oath brands, websites, apps, advertising services, products, services or technologies (we’ll collectively refer to these as “Services”). Additional privacy practices for certain Services can be found in Details for Specific Products and Services.
Your Controls

We believe you should have tools to control your information. You can find controls to manage or review your account information, marketing preferences, location data, and search history at Privacy Controls. Some of our Services provide additional controls and privacy practices. (See, Details for Specific Products and Services)
Information Collection and Use – General

We may collect and combine information when you interact with Oath Services including:

Information You Provide to Us. We may collect the information that you provide to us, such as:
When you create an account with an Oath Service or brand. (Please note, when you use our Services, we may recognize you or your devices even if you are not signed in to our Services.) Oath may use device IDs, cookies, and other signals, including information obtained from third parties, to associate accounts and/or devices with you.
When you use our Services to communicate with others or post, upload or store content (such as comments, photos, voice inputs, videos, emails, messaging services and attachments).
Oath analyzes and stores all communications content, including email content from incoming and outgoing mail. This allows us to deliver, personalize and develop relevant features, content, advertising and Services.
When you otherwise use our Services, such as title queries, watch history, page views, search queries, view the content we make available or install any Oath software such as plugins.
When you sign up for paid Services, use Services that require your financial information or complete transactions with us or our business partners, we may collect your payment and billing information.
Device Information. We collect information from your devices (computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.), including information about how you interact with our Services and those of our third-party partners and information that allows us to recognize and associate your activity across devices and Services. This information includes device specific identifiers and information such as IP address, cookie information, mobile device and advertising identifiers, browser version, operating system type and version, mobile network information, device settings, and software data. We may recognize your devices to provide you with personalized experiences and advertising across the devices you use.
Location Information. We collect location information from a variety of sources. You can learn more about and manage your location permissions on our Locations page and by visiting the location settings tool on your devices.
Information from Cookies and Other Technologies.
We collect information when you access content, advertising, sites, interactive widgets, applications, and other products (both on and off of our Services) where Oath’s data collection technologies (such as web beacons, development tools, cookies and other technologies, etc.) are present. These data collection technologies allow us to understand your activity on and off our Services and to collect and store information when you interact with Services we offer to partners.
This information also includes the kind of content or ads served, viewed or clicked on; the frequency and duration of your activities; the sites or apps you used before accessing our Services and where you went next; whether you engaged with specific content or ads; and whether you went on to visit an advertiser’s website, downloaded an advertiser’s app, purchased a product or service advertised, or took other actions.
Information from Others. We collect information about you when we receive it from other users, third-parties, and affiliates, such as:
When you connect your account to third-party services or sign in using a third-party partner (like Facebook or Twitter).
From publicly-available sources.
From advertisers about your experiences or interactions with their offerings.
When we obtain information from third-parties or other companies, such as those that use our Services. This may include your activity on other sites and apps as well as information those third-parties provide to you or us.
We may also receive information from Verizon and will honor the choices Verizon customers have made about the uses of this information when we receive and use this data.

How We Use This Information

We are able to deliver, personalize, and improve our Services by combining and using the information we have about you (including information we receive on and off our Services) to understand how you use and interact with our Services and the people or things you’re connected to and interested in. We also may use the information we have about you for the following purposes:

Provide, maintain, improve, and develop relevant features, content, and Services.
Analyze your content and other information (including emails, instant messages, posts photos, attachments, and other communications). You can review and control certain types of information tied to your Oath account by using Privacy Controls.
Fulfill your requests and when authorized by you.
Help advertisers and publishers connect to offer relevant advertising in their apps and websites.
Match and serve targeted advertising (across devices and both on and off of our Services) and provide targeted advertising based on your device activity, inferred interests and location information.
Contact you with information about your account or with marketing messages, which you can also control.
Associate your activity across our Services and your different devices as well as associate any accounts you may use across Oath Services together. We may associate activity and accounts under a single user ID.
Carry out or support promotions.
Conduct research and support innovation.
Create analytics and reports for external parties, including partners, publishers, advertisers, apps, third-parties and the public regarding the use of and trends within our Services and ads, including showing trends to partners regarding general preferences, the effectiveness of ads and information on user experiences. These analytics and reports may include aggregate or pseudonymized information.
Provide location-based Services, advertising, search results, and other content consistent with your location settings.
Combine information we have about you with information we obtain from business partners or other companies, such as your activities on other sites and apps.
Detect and defend against fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful activity.

We provide you with controls to manage your experience with us. For example, you can review or edit your account information, manage your marketing preferences, or opt out of targeted ads. If you opt out, you will continue to see ads, but they may not be as relevant or useful to you.
How We Share This Information

Oath shares information within its affiliated brands and companies and with Verizon. We also share information we have about you for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy, including to provide Services that you have requested (including when you connect with third-party apps and widgets). We do not sell, license or share information that individually identifies our customers with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Oath unless one of the following circumstances applies:

With Your Consent. We will share information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Oath when we have your consent.
With Verizon. As part of Verizon, Oath and its affiliates may, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with user controls, share information with Verizon and Verizon affiliates. This information will be used consistent with Verizon’s privacy policy.
Within Oath. Information may also be shared within Oath, including with other Oath Services and affiliates. Oath affiliates may use the information in a manner consistent with their privacy policies.
With Partners. We may share your information with nonaffiliated companies who are:
Trusted Partners. We provide user information to trusted partners who work on behalf of or with Oath based on our directions and in compliance with appropriate confidentiality measures. Learn more.
Advertising, Analytics and Business Partners (Limited to Non-Personally Identifiable Information). We may share aggregated or pseudonymous information (including demographic information) with partners, such as publishers, advertisers, measurement analytics, apps, or other companies. For example, we may tell an advertiser how its ads performed or report how many people installed an app after seeing a promotion. We do not share information that personally identifies you (personally identifiable information is information like name or email address) with these partners, such as publishers, advertisers, measurement analytics, apps, or other companies.
When you use third-party apps, websites or other products integrated with our Services, they may collect information about your activities subject to their own terms and privacy policies.
We allow other companies that show advertisements on our webpages or apps to collect information from your browsers or devices. Other companies’ use of cookies and other data collection technologies are subject to their own privacy policies, not this one. Like many companies, we may allow cookie matching with select partners. But, these parties are not authorized to access Oath cookies.
For Legal and Other Purposes. We may access, preserve and disclose information to investigate, prevent, or take action in connection with: (i) legal process and legal requests; (ii) enforcement of the Terms; (iii) claims that any content violates the rights of third-parties; (iv) requests for customer service; (v) technical issues; (vi) protecting the rights, property or personal safety of Oath, its users or the public; (vii) establishing or exercising our legal rights or defending against legal claims; or (viii) as otherwise required by law.
This may include responding to lawful governmental requests. Learn more about how we evaluate and respond to these requests.
New Ownership. If the ownership or control of all or part of Verizon, Oath or a specific Services changes as a result of a merger, acquisition or sale of assets, we may transfer your information to the new owner.

Details for Specific Products and Services

Additional privacy practices for certain Oath Services are included here.

Information Security and Data Retention
Oath has technical, administrative and physical safeguards in place to help protect against unauthorized access, use or disclosure of customer information we collect or store.
To learn more about security, including the steps we have taken and steps you can take, please read Security at Oath.
Protecting Children’s Privacy

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Don’t you just feel all warm and fuzzy and comfortable now?

IMHO, a Real Privacy ™ Policy would be “We will share your data only reluctantly after being served with a legal subpoena. In all other cases, we will hold your data private.”

But that’s just me and my silly old fashioned ideas…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in News Related, Tech Bits and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Pervasive Legal Paranoia

  1. H.R. says:

    Good luck to the aggregator of the comments on this eclectic site.

    If they combine the comments from this blog with comments from other blogs, they will have conclusive evidence that there is a “gotta-have-a-boat” gene and a “bacon” gene. My guess is that boat and bacon ads are the only ones that slow people down enough to generate clicks. 😜

    I’m sure the aggregator didn’t have to collect more than a few thousand comments to determine everybody hates them. The billions of repetitions of that theme are just overkill. 😆

    BTW, E.M., boiling down their policy statements to one line; “We collect everything and Billy, we know what you did to the cat at 4:32pm EST back on September 16th, 1998.”

  2. Could be worse. I remember the End User License Agreements where the “I accept” button was greyed out until you got to the bottom and had at least scrolled through it if not exactly read it.

    Email is going to be scraped just as everything else we transmit will. The bloody browsers send back information about where the mouse pointer is, as well as all the technical data it can see of the computer it’s on. The far end by default can send down programs to run on my machine (though they’d find it pretty difficult to actually get at anything useful) and it’s hard to find the switches to switch it off since they’re buried in configuration files where we don’t have data as to what all the bits mean.

    It would be nice to have an OS where each program ran in its own sandbox and couldn’t see anything it wasn’t specifically allowed to. And of course it would have its own “disk” that would need to be specifically copied into permanent memory if so desired.

    H.R. – leave the cats out of it… no-one else saw it happen!

  3. jim2 says:

    @Simon Derricutt says:26 May 2018 at 6:45 pm

    The technology to track mouse movements and keystrokes is old. The claim is that an individual can be identified by mouse movement patterns and keystroke timing. That cow is already out of the barn.

    I’m going to do my damnedest to never buy an appliance, like an A/C system, fridge, or car that is connected to the internet.

  4. Ian W says:

    Welcome to the world of the globalist bureaucracy. This type of edict was the reason for Brexit and is why Trump correctly binned the TPP and TTIP which would have put everyone under this type of globalist control. Everything was already set up with regulations like FBAR where the US enforces financial tracking of US tax payers on foreign banks.

  5. H.R. says:

    The Amish have the ultimate internet privacy policy.


    Amish Laptop Computer

  6. waterside4 says:

    Just trying this from The Soviet Republic of Scotland.
    Am I being tracked?

  7. Chris in Calgary says:

    We will share your data only reluctantly after being served with a legal subpoena. In all other cases, we will hold your data private.

    Oddly enough, there are some email providers that still do this. One is protonmail.com, in Switzerland. (They even offer a limited free service, as well as VPN service.) Here are links to others:
    https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/tor-privacy-email-providers/
    https://freedomhacker.net/list-of-secure-email-providers-that-take-privacy-serious/

    And here’s an article about email tracking (e.g. using 1×1 gifs):
    https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2017/09/28/i-never-signed-up-for-this-privacy-implications-of-email-tracking/

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Chris in Calgary:

    Thanks for the pointer! I’ll likely end up on one of them. I’ll likely leave the AOL accounts around as spam catchers and to avoid needing to change every single thing where I gave them a contact address… just move them over as I discover a need…

  9. philjourdan says:

    For us minions, WP is nagging us I guess to comply with the EU:

    Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy

  10. Chris in Calgary says:

    @ E.M.Smith: I’d be interested in your choice. I’m pondering moving to one of these providers myself. Thx.

  11. paul says:

    If you use AdBlock Plus there is a filter list called “I don’t care about cookies” you can add. It blocks the “we use cookies” pop-overs. Why do they need to do this? It it’s to be annoying, it’s working.

    DuckDuckGo has a Privacy Essentials add-on. It blocks trackers. I’m copying the addresses and adding to my HOSTS file to block any tracking in Thunderbird. If my router was smarter…. oh, well.
    https://duckduckgo.com/app I have noticed no increase in page load times.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    one of the minor advantages of running my own DNS server that “grounds” a lot of the advertising sites (for example google.analytics points to MY Apache server on the same R. Pi) is that it incidentally blocks all sorts of cookie and tracker activity. If the ad never gets to me, neither does all the crap it tries to install. If the “analytics” routes to nowhere, the outgoing data also dies (for anything that did make it in…)

    I can not stress enough the utility of this simple process.

    FWIW, a related “hack” is to use manual routes to take whole blocks of IP range and just bin them.

    Maybe I need a posting on how to do that… But basically, with about a dozen lines of route configuration you can make China or Russia unreachable from your machine. (Unless someone bounces off somewhere allowed first…) IMHO, ANY secure site ought to have that as one of the layers. If, for example, you are a DOD site designing US munitions or a US Power Plant, what possible reason would you have to allow your computers to connect to Russia or China? Just send those routes to the bit bucket…

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, looks like there is a web site that even writes the config commands for you:

    https://www.ip2location.com/blockvisitorsbycountry.aspx

    Block Visitors by Country Using Firewall
    Do you want to block visitors by country?

    Select the countries you want to block, IP address version (IPv4 or IPv6), output format and press the “Download” button.

    The output format supported are Apache .htaccess, Linux iptables, CIDR, Netmask, Inverse Netmask, IIS web.config, Cisco ACL, PeerGuardian2, network-object, Cisco bit bucket, Juniper Junos and MicroTik. Please find the details below:

  14. ossqss says:

    I have been getting the same cookie pop up as Phil on several WP sites recently. Gonna see how I can remove it. It is the automattic.com one.

  15. ossqss says:

    I cleared the cache and cookies and the notice is still there. I think they placed something in my tablet miscellaneous files. Will check the cookie policy info for applicable extensions and see later. Invasive bastards they are!

  16. ossqss says:

    I did notice that WP settings had me sharing my info, but shutting that off did not change the cookie harassment.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Each time you visit a site, it will check for the cookie and reset / create it if missing. WordPress will nag you that they use the cookie in any case as they don’t want EU Money Suckage… So be careful that you are not counting as “failure to remove” what is really “created each time”.

    Also note I turned on the “notify folks of data usage” flag that W.P. told me to turn on, so there’s a line under the comment block nagging folks about Akismet use. Gee thanks, EU…

  18. cdquarles says:

    Ugh. I noticed this the day the GDPR (gag) went live here and it is mostly here that I see it. And folk wonder why I’m not keen on EU regs …. they’re mostly not common sense.

    Now what should I do with my deprecated WP blog? /rhetorical

  19. David A says:

    Hi EM. First time ever on Musings… got a pop up saying this site uses cookies, by continuing … You agree to their use….
    Then a close and accept click. Is this legit?

    Thanks

  20. David A says:

    BTW, as soon as I clicked on the view full site ( had to work around the cookies box to get there) the cookies box went away.

  21. David A says:

    Nope. I see it in very small type at the very bottom.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @David A:

    Welcome to the fall-out from the European GDPR law…

    You will be finding those cookie notices damn near everywhere now. I have. They are legit, if silly.

  23. David A says:

    Thanks E.M.

  24. philjourdan says:

    Re: AO-HELL – here’s the stupid part. I think Yahoo snapped up AOL first, but Verizon then snapped up Yahoo (after they dumped their billion accounts into the open market). “Oath” is the company created for the sludge that Verizon bought.

    Verizon had a decent, albeit not well known, email service for its patrons. When they bought the other 2 services, did they merge it into the Yahoo mail? A decent product.

    Nope! They merged it into AO-Hell!

    On a previous thread, I noted that a DOT EDU email in the 90s was the golden ticket to ANYWHERE, until the stupid colleges made it worthless. Well, also in the 90s, an AOL.COM address was a big neon sign to any scammers as the user was a real nube! And to the rest of the world, the user could barely turn on their computer.

    Not much has changed for the @aol.com addresses.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Phil:

    I’d had my own domain and email server for about a decade, then saw the era of “Big Data” Abuse coming and dumped the domain registration (about a half dozen of them actually) just to avoid the publication of so much personal information (included your address… and contact information…).

    Decided to use an AOL account as sort of a bad pun… tech guy passing as noob joke. It was fun for a few years…

    Now, with Verizon mushing together yahoo and aol I’m just not seeing the point anymore. Time to move on… (Though slowly. Probably many months before I actually do anything…)

  26. philjourdan says:

    The whole AOL thing was due to their portal. My wife was one of ‘those”. They had no clue what the internet was about, just the AOL portal.

    But you are correct. That was the 90s. To some bigots like me, it still nags me (and the EDU thing is hard to shake for me as well – although working in EDU then and now, I know it is worthless). heck, my mother (god rest her soul) was as noob as they come and she never had an AOL account (she did not have one until they were passe’.) But she hated it if some site changed her home page! Then she was lost.

  27. H.R. says:

    AOL story: Everyone remember when AOL bombarded everyone, everywhere with their free AOL disks? Each week it seems, a new one would be in your mail, at the checkouts, handed out, whatever and however they could get one in front of you.

    My brother collected them, unopened in the package. He wasn’t an AOL user, but he was fascinated with just how many of those darned things were pushed out. It’s been a few years, but IIRC, it was well north of 200 different discs he had thrown in a box. 😆 If I remember, next time I talk to him I’ll ask about that collection.

    Oh, he travels internationally fairly extensively and also collects airline barf bags and the info sheets on the various airplanes he was flying in that are in the seatback pocket. He did leave the safety sheets in place, bless his heart.😜 I can see collecting the airplane sheets so he can say, “I flew in one of these, and one of these, and…” to his grandchildren. I don’t get the barf bag thing, though.

  28. philjourdan says:

    @HR – I can easily understand 200! I expect if he had tried he could have tripled that number! Indeed, AOL created a shortage in CDs back in the late 90s (trivia question).

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