privacy

Sup y'all

Repar T here to tell you about our take on privacy.

Here is the real scoop on privacy and the internet. Putting those two words together in a sentence is foolhardy at best.

The privacy policy for this website (or any website, for that matter) doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

Check out this wikipedia listing of data breaches. It includes names like Google, Apple, Experian, Equifax, Facebook, Yahoo, AT&T, Medicaid, Medicare, Citigroup, Department of Homeland Security, etc. The list is a long one. All of these sites had privacy policies. All of them were hacked and your data, if you used these sites, is now in the hands of creeps, weirdos, sociopaths and reprobates.

The internet and its infrastructure are not designed for privacy. Privacy is always something that requires effort—building walls, installing alarms, putting up barriers, creating diversions, implementing security measures of all kinds. It doesn’t happen unless someone makes the effort to make it happen. And even then, there are never any guarantees. The internet is changing so quickly and is so complex, that no one can ever say they’ve got it locked down.

Even though I willingly promise to never intentionally share your information, I can’t promise to keep it secure. Nobody can. The only privacy policy that really matters is the one you actively enforce for yourself, because once your information leaves your control it is forevermore out of your control.

As a general rule, you should not share any information on any site anywhere on the internet regardless of any publicly stated privacy settings unless you are comfortable with the fact that the information extracted from the data you share, deliberately or inadvertently, might one day be made public or used privately to influence you in ways you don’t want to be influenced.

The simple truth of the matter is this. I can promise you I’ll do my best to keep your data private, and I do make that promise, but I can’t promise you that I will control technologies or people I can’t control. Here is what we do to protect your privacy.

  • This site enforces secure connections with your browser so all data transmitted both ways, to and from your browser, is encrypted.
  • This site does not deliberately collect any data from you except what you intentionally insert into forms.
  • this domain does not share or provide any user data to any other entity.
  • this domain conforms with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • this domain complies with the Do Not Track (DNT) standard recommended by the World Wide Web consortium.
  • this domain does not display content not hosted within this domain.
  • this domain may link to external content.
  • this domain does not participate with third-parties that may set cookies or other trackers in your browser’s cache.

That said, the ability of this domain to enforce privacy is dependent on the actual enforcement of privacy by the service provides with whom this domain deals. They all have clauses in their privacy policies that stipulate that they reserve the right to change their privacy policy at any time. Their ability to enforce privacy is dependent on the enforcement of privacy by the data centers and server farms that they deal with, and do not own, administer, operate or have any say in who does what. Like you we pay for their services and hope for the best.

At every layer of this interdependence on privacy enforcement are clever human beings who don’t always tell the truth. This is a vulnerability that cannot be avoided.

We have no idea if we can trust the system administrators roaming around in the data centers where our data resides. And, you can bet your ass that if they can’t be trusted, they’re not advertising it.

We don’t know the backdoors built into the code that runs the routers that tell the bits and bytes initiated within the authorized and unauthorized sessions on our connected digital devices where to go on the internet.

We don’t know if the programmers who write the software that runs the sites and apps to which we give our information are honorable.

We don’t know the private and potentially nefarious intentions of the people who pay the salaries of the engineers and coders who make the hardware and software that allows us to connect to one another on the internet.

That’s a lot of shit we don’t know.

However, we do know that hackers and even legally empowered law enforcement entities manage to get massive amounts of data about us all the time, legally and illegally, for uses that they never disclose publicly unless it is to their advantage.

And we should know by now that we can’t stop them in the current environment. These are the people we’re letting into our lives with our lack of concern for privacy. But that ship has already sailed.

We live in a time in which corporate profits take precedence over social or environmental responsibility or sustainability. These concerns, in many cases, override any concern for the dignity of individuals. People, and, of course, their privacy are exploitable resources these days.

We have only the vaguest of ideas about which corporations actually own the companies we deal with. We have no reliable way to determine the motives of executives leading the companies we deal with. And, regardless of what their motives are today, we have no idea how disruptions in the marketplace might influence their motives, decisions and actions in the future.

This lack of transparency and disclosure is a huge feature in the landscape of the internet that we all tiptoe around and don’t talk about. There are few regulations and less enforcement. It’s time for more conversation around these issues.

Of course, you should care about who has your data and how it is being used. After all, it’s your data. That’s why your privacy policy is the only one that really matters. But what you read about data breaches in the media is just the small mass of the iceberg above the waterline. It doesn’t matter how much you care about what else is happening with your data because you’ll never even know until it is too late. If ever. Use your best judgment and expect that the worst that could happen too your at some point. That’s the best you can do.

If you are really, really concerned about your privacy, stay off the internet, get off the grid, don’t own any property, refrain from using credit cards, steer clear of social media, don’t own devices that use integrated circuits, make sure you wear elaborate disguises and wear surgical gloves whenever you come out of your cave, avoid talking to other people or writing what you are thinking, hope you never win the lottery, never sign any legal documents with your real name, and pray for luck.

If you’re really interested, here are links to the privacy policies of the service providers that this domain deals with online. If you read all these, you and I will probably be the only ones who did except for the lawyers who wrote them.

Like all the privacy policies above, this privacy policy will be updated now and then. Unlike all the privacy policies in the list above, this privacy policy will be updated by you to your own advantage rather than by some lawyer who is getting paid to protect the interests of a corporation that doesn’t really give a shit about you.

There you have it. Pray for luck.

Your pen pal,
Repar T

photo credits:

Photo by Christian Buehner on Unsplash