Privacy Notice

The person responsible for this blog is me, Andrew Mason, reachable at johnnygermanic(at)mail.com or via the contact form on the ‘About’ page of this blog.

This site is hosted by WordPress.com, the free version of WordPress.org. This means I do not have my own web server onto which I have downloaded and installed the WordPress software. WordPress servers belong to Automattic Inc., 60 29th Street #343, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.

WordPress.com is not a tool that gives me a lot of personally or legally sensitive details on visitors to my site. I handle the information collected from visitors responsibly and do not share it with or sell it to any companies or other third parties.

In this privacy notice I explain, to the best of my knowledge, how information is collected via this site and how that information is used and disclosed.

The text of this privacy notice has been adapted from a text which Automattic make available to users under a Creative Commons Sharealike license. The original full version of the text can be found here: Privacy Notice for Visitors to Our Users’ Sites.

[Linguistic note: In my adaptation of the text, I refer to the Automattic company in the third person plural (they). This reflects the fact that, in the original text, Automattic refer to themselves in the first person plural (we).]

Information collected by Automattic about visitors to my site

Automattic collect information about visitors to my site in a few different ways: they collect certain information that visitors provide to my site, they collect some information automatically, and they collect any information I provide to them about my visitors.

Information visitors provide to my site

Here are the ways in which visitors directly provide information to my site:

• Follower and subscriber information: When a visitor signs up to follow or subscribe to my site (using Jetpack or WordPress.com), Automattic collect the sign-up information requested by the site, which typically includes an email address.
• Site comments: When a visitor leaves a comment on my site, Automattic collect that comment, and other information that the visitor provides along with the comment, such as the visitor’s name and email address.
• Other information entered on the site: Automattic may also collect other information that a visitor enters on my site – such as name and email address for a contact form submission, or information entered for a search query or site registration.

Information Automattic collect automatically from my site

Automattic also collect some information about visitors to my site automatically. Such information includes the following:

• Technical data from a visitor’s computer, etc.: Automattic 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, date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.
• Visitor interactions: Automattic collect information about a visitor’s interactions with my site, including the ‘likes’ left by visitors to my site.
• Location Information: Automattic may determine the approximate location of a visitor’s device from the IP address. They collect and use this information to, for example, tally for me, the user, how many people visit my site from certain geographic regions. If you like, you can read more about the Site Stats feature for WordPress.com sites and Jetpack sites.
• Akismet commenter information: As my WordPress.com-hosted plan includes the Akismet anti-spam service, Automattic collect information about visitors who comment on my site. The information collected by Automattic includes the commenter’s IP address and site URL (along with other information provided directly by the commenter such as their name, username, email address, and the comment itself).
• 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 use cookies and other technologies like pixel tags to help identify and track visitors and site usage. For more information about Automattic’s use of cookies and other technologies for tracking, including how visitors can control the use of cookies, please see their Cookie Policy. For more information about how to manage and delete cookies, visit aboutcookies.org.

How Automattic use visitor information

Automattic use information about my site’s visitors in order to provide their services to me and my site. I may use their services to, for example, manage my site, or flag and fight comments from spammers.

In addition to the above, Automattic use some information about site visitors who are also their users as described in their Privacy Policy.

Automattic 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, they may publish aggregate statistics about the use of their services.

How Automattic share visitor information

The limited circumstances in which Automattic may share information collected about site visitors are spelled out in the full text of their Privacy Notice (see section entitled ‘How We Share Visitor Information’). An important point to note is the following:

Information shared publicly: Information that visitors choose to make public is, of course, disclosed publicly. That means 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). Automattic provide a ‘firehose’ stream of public data (including comments) from sites to provide that data to firehose subscribers, who may view and analyse 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.

Ads and third party plugins

I pay for a ‘personal’ WordPress plan, which removes advertisements and gives me a custom domain name but does not allow site monetisation or the use of Google Analytics or other plugins. Certain services, such as Jetpack and Gravatar, are integrated into the WordPress core and cannot be deactivated by users of WordPress.com.

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The paragraph below is not based on Automattic’s Privacy Notice. It is my own text, based on key points from a German-language template provided by e-recht24.de.

Social media functions

I have activated the Facebook1 and Twitter2 share buttons on all of my blog posts. Please be aware that if you use these social media functions (e.g. to like, retweet, or share content) on my site while connected to your Facebook or Twitter account, your activity will be revealed to Facebook or Twitter, and to other Facebook or Twitter users. My site may also include links to Youtube3 videos. Here, too, if you are logged into your YouTube account while visiting my site, YouTube will be able to match your online activity to your personal profile. If you do not want any of the above to happen, please log out of any relevant social media accounts while using my site.

1 Facebook Inc., Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
2 Twitter Inc., 1355 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
3 YouTube, LLC, 901 Cherry Ave., San Bruno, CA 94066, USA