Sunday, January 5, 2020

Some New Things

I run a blog and a handful of websites, more or less as a hobby.

So suffice it to say that I'm sometimes a bit behind when it comes to posting necessary disclaimers, or a bit amateurish in the wording of such things. I am not a lawyer, I rarely get advice from lawyers, and I definitely don't make enough money off my websites to afford to hire one long enough to get all the necessary relevant advice.

Several months ago, I got my website health checked. I saw an advert, offering a free site health check, and it didn't require any personal information aside from an email. I did a little background on the company, determined they were as legit as my untrained eye could judge, and signed up.

Their response amounted to the following:
  • Engaging Design: Satisfactory
  • Mobile Friendly: Excellent
  • Retina Friendly: Yes
  • Call-to-Action: No
  • Privacy Policy: No
  • HTTPS: No
  • Page Loading Speed: Satisfactory
  • Image File Size Issues: No
  • Broken Pages: Yes
Since then, I've done my best to address the issues.

I've written some Call-to-Action posts. Predictably, they've received no response. My goal here has never really been to drive people to action. I know I'm an armchair activist at best, and I'm not really trying to change anyone's mind. I'm just trying to share my perspective on the world.

I have posted a Privacy Policy. It's pretty simple. I'm no lawyer, and I doubt many of my visitors are either, and since I have next to none audience interaction, I don't directly collect any visitor data. What is collected gets filters and anonymized by Google, so I have no control over it.

This website has had issues with HTTPS and breaks whenever I try to enable it. I've reached out to my hosting to try and figure out what the problem is, but gotten no reply. However, since all data that this website collects runs through Google's servers, I have every reason to expect it to be reasonable secure. And all my surveys do run on HTTPS.

I haven't done anything about the broken pages yet. I know what's causing it, but it's very tedious to go through and try to fix them, especially since I don't know where all of them originally linked to. For the most part, it's only a partial fault on my end (the attempt to make a little bit of money), not due to changing of my own links, but due to the closure of

That all being said, there are changes happening in the world of privacy and personal data management all the time. Because I'm such a small voice, and because my hosting services run through a giant corporation, so many things I can just forward people with issues to Google. Nonetheless, it can help paint a better picture of my intent to have my own pages dedicated to such things.

That's why, last week, I posted a new disclaimer/resource/compliance sheet for visitors, down near the link to my privacy policy, in response to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2020. It's a pittance, I know, but this blog is a pittance, my voice is a pittance, and see above in the second paragraph about lawyers. It's probably not even relevant to me, because I already don't sell what little visitor information I collect; I don't collect enough for it to be worth sharing (not that I would if I did), I don't have anyone to sell it to, and the majority of the data that does get collected from users I never see, because it's received and anonymized by my hosting company (domain hosting: Google, blog hosting: Google).

It's largely chance I even heard about this new thing before it went into effect, not that I really expect it to affect me at all. As far as I can tell, only web crawlers and bots have glanced at my Privacy Policy, which has been live for about eight months now.

Either way, I've added this mess to my talking points list for an upcoming October. Maybe I'll be more educated about it by then, and share my learnings with anyone who cares to know.