On privacy and Google Analytics.
This post originated over on Fetlife in their tech support forum. (original here: Link ). The question posed is one of concern for what information is sent to google when you click on a link or picture on Fetlife. The original poster is afraid that their IP address, associated with the picture they clicked on, is sent to google and therefore can be traced back to their identity.
My response there is included below for discussion and debate. Enjoy.
I use GA on all of my blogs and sites I manage. It is invaluable in planning upgrades, seeing what people are reading and when, etc. Get used to it, it’s not going away.
As for the privacy thing. I have been an active user of online services since the days of dialup BBS’s. I purchased my first modem in 1982 and almost my entire adult life has been online in some fashion or another.
The one hard rule I have never broken is that I put nothing online that I would be ashamed to see on a billboard on the side of the expressway.
Does that mean there is nothing scandalous or perverse about me out there? Fuck no. One of my blogs is one my wife and I built to write about our kinky lives together. Would it embarrass me to see that blog plastered across CNN? Again, fuck no. I’d welcome the traffic.
The issue here is not about privacy. If you put something online, if you surf somewhere online, you are not and never will be private about it. It’s like saying you don’t want anyone at McDonalds to know you have a serious hardon for chicken nuggets.
The issue is one of control. Being in control of what and how your public activities are tracked and used is the real issue. Anything you do online is at best as public as what you do in the video booth at your favorite adult store.
There are many ways to obfuscate your activities online. For some activities I use an encrypted proxy service that I pay $15 a month for. If there’s something I want as close to maximum anonymity as possible for, I use TOR or other such service.
Being all butt-hurt because it’s possible to track your IP from your picture viewing on Fetlife back to your personal identity is looking at it backwards. If you are that concerned, or it’s possible that that information could harm you financially or professionally, then you need to rethink your choice of online surfing hobbies.
Or rethink how you live your life and just how much power over you that others have been given out of fear of disclosure.