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IP, Privacy, Spying, and other Fine Print (Our Policies)

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The mumbo-jumbo

You want legal-babble? Talk to my son who went to law school. Otherwise, simple. Try to keep up. Most important: I’m a good guy, but there are limits, ok? And I can change any of this stuff anytime I want. But, good guy, right? Trust me, this site is a whole lot less evil than most of the internet in terms of policies.

Intellectual Property Policy:

  • I wrote it? It’s mine.
  • You wrote it? And then posted it in my comments section or elsewhere visible to public? It’s yours. It’s all yours, baby – I take no responsibility for anything others post on this site. You are the sole owner of your comments, and you eat the sole legal responsibility if somebody wants to sue your ass. I’m not helping them, but I’m way too small a guy to fight them.
  • Somebody else wrote it? Well then let’s look at the copyright on it, any explicit license grants, whether it’s Public Domain, Creative Commons (and which CC grant), Open Source licensed (and which of the batshit-gazillions of licenses), and let’s try to respect the rules.
  • Anything on this site that isn’t explicitly attributed? Assume it is copyright to me, Mark C. Mercer, 2013 or whatever the first date it appeared, and no you can’t pretend that “It’s on the internet so I can use it for free.”
  • All excepts which I post and identify as being “sample”, “chapter”, “fragment”, “draft”, “excerpt” or anything similar that would let a nematode-brain realize that it’s not being shared for free because I’m planning to publish it in some kind of Real Thing – are copyright ME as noted above, All Rights Reserved. Not Open Source. Not Creative Commons.
  • Fair Use? I’m your biggest fan. Don’t be obnoxious in stretching the definition beyond reason.

Privacy Policy

  • This site is on the internet. Mostly. If I don’t get slashdotted or reddited (In your dreams, Sparky!)
  • Stuff on the internet isn’t private. It’s 2013. Does’t everybody know that already? Please.
  • As the little box on the side says, Proudly NOT hosted in the NSA (oops USA). But that’s just the basic site. In addition to the cool creepy stuff I mention below, the entire site is distributed by a thing called a Content Distribution Network (CDN) – which is a whole bunch of globally-distributed high-powered servers copying and serving up my little site to you, from which ever place in the world is closest to you, in internet distance (dog years). Plus, keeps it on the air in case I get slashdotted or reddited (Stop that, Sparky!) Right now as of site launch week, on CloudFlare CDN. Which is based in the USA. I might move it to Google PageSpeed Delivery service, like I use over on Uruguay Expat Life. PageSpeed CDN is also in the USA, in fact right inside the GooglePlex, now with NSAInside!
  • I will see if you subscribe to the posts by RSS or email, even though a robot does that for me. If I decide to have an email newsletter, which is a whole ‘nother thing from you subscribing to my posts by email, I reserve the right to use the email addresses I discover from the list of people who voluntarily subscribed to my posts, if the robot will give me them, to send out an initial mailing of that new Email Newsletter. Kind of a, “Hi guys, I see you already subscribe to every one of my posts, because you clicked that link on purpose on my site. Thanks! Here’s the first of a separate kind of email, a newsletter for subscribers. If you don’t want to see get this, please click the opt-out link.” Yes, semi-evil, but hey, YOU ALREADY OPTED-IN TO MAIL FROM ME!
  • I won’t ever sell your email address to third parties. I won’t rent it or loan it either. I won’t even use it to contact you about or from any of my other sites or businesses. Promise.
  • I have all kinds of neat tracking stuff on here. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me a normal web publisher. Analytics, some affiliate likes, some third party services like the Disqus Enhanced Commmenting Platform, cool sharing buttons so you can slather my stuff all over your networks…
  • Don’t want the neat tracking stuff to work? I’m 100% OK with that. It’s your responsibility to block it, not mine to stop doing it. Here’s a hint: I recommend Ghostery for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer if you do not want to be tracked. Disconnect, available for Firefox and Chrome browsers also is good, and maybe simpler to understand, and doesn’t come from a Big Evil Ad Company. but from a nice touchy-feely new kind of socially-responsible company called a B-Corporation.  Seriously, I like both products, like the attitudes of both companies, and use both – but never at the same time! If you’re not geekish, Ghostery is better for Firefox and Disconnect is better for Chrome. That opinion is worth what you just paid for it. Some functions of my site will not work if you block all third-party trackers and widgets, including comment reading and posting. That definitely won’t work. If you use Ghostery or Disconnect to block widgets and evilbits but want to see and participate in the comments here, you need to do one of these things: b) Whitelist my site, which will turn on all the stuff, or b) whitelist Disqus in your blocking extension, which will whitelist Disqus everywhere, or c) Only in the Firefox version Now in both the Firefox and Chrome versions of Ghostery, click the little round thing next to Disqus on the list of things the Ghost Bubble is telling you it’s blocking on my site, which will whitelist Disqus only on my site, and still block you from seeing all those commenters at CNN.com and TheAtlantic. Chrome version of Ghostery and IE versions of Ghostery can’t do site-and-widget-granular unblocking, nor can any version of Disconnect.
  • OK, what tracking evilbits? Well, as of this writing, and it might change without any notice to you, and again, I fully expect you to keep up:
    • Affiliate Links and their required related trackers. I may or may not have any on here at any given time, but I expect to have some. They help pay the internet rent, or get me, and you if you use them, extra online storage or other mutual benefits, and never cost you more to use (cost as in money) than if you went to the same provider directly. Sometimes I may be able to get you a discount on something. The “Got VPN?” link at the bottom of all this? That’s an affiliate link. Hover over it and you’ll see the details without clicking. Don’t say I didn’t tell you. There may be affiliate links in or near the comment section, including in the “other sites you might like” stuff near the comment section, automatically selected and placed by a Robot. Maybe a Bad Robot.
    • I might actually have ads. Could be from Google’s various networks including but not limited to AdSense. Could be Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, lower-tier stuff like Qadaba. Deal with it. If you don’t like them, Adblock Edge for Firefox or AdBlock for Chrome, ok. Never Adblock Plus because they take money from advertisers to block their own blocking! If you think the ads are jarring, let me know, but hey, seeing the occasionally wildly stupid irrelevant thing on-site is part of the fun of the internet. If you see an ad that really offends you AND you think it should offend me too, feel free to send me a message via the “Contact Mark Mercer” item on the menu. I may or may not give a crap, but hey, let me know.
    • Suggested other content. Same comment as with the ads. I don’t directly choose the suggested other comment, and some of it is indeed facepalming. But it’s also kinda funny to see a paleoconservative site, or especially a neocon site like Newsmax, show up here! Views and opinions do not necessarily reflect mine, but that of a robot. A possibly Bad Robot.  Oh, I potentially make money from having them here, which helps pay the InterRent.
    • WordPress.com Analytics (no we’re not ON WordPress.com, but we’re connected to them via JetPack and other parts of the Greater WordPress Imperium.
    • Enhanced Commenting Platform – the comments box and threaded conversation area at the bottom of each Post and possibly of Pages. This is not in France at my outside-the-USA server, because it is a hosted third-party service which allows for broader discovery and conversation across the Whole Wide Web. At site launch, it was using JetPack Enhanced Comments from the WordPress Imperium. It is now on Disqus, which I use on most of my other sites and those of my clients. I could move it to LiveFyre,  a similar web-wide commenting platform, which I use for some of my other sites. All of which are based in the USA and your comments get stored, spam-checked, and then displayed, via the USA to this site.
    • Plain old unenhanced WordPress comments, if I turn the cool stuff off: Even if I just use the on-site comment system from my self-hosted installation of WordPress software, running on my server account in Paris, France, the comment box has Akismet spam filtering turned on, as do 99.99999% of other WordPress-based blogs (I made up that number but it’s close), because that Akismet thing, that be mighty good shit. Which means your comments are going to and from the USA.
    • Google Analytics. As of 2014-02-06, now using Google’s DoubleClick ad network tracking JavaScript and DoubleClick cookies instead of the regular Google Analytics version. Why? Primarily because that gives me Demographics and Interests in Google Analytics, such as what you’ve allowed Google to profile you at elsewhere, what you like on social networks, your age cohort, gender, etc.. In other words, just like any other website. Google does supress that info if the aggregate numbers are low enough that a person could guess who the site visitor is. Secondarily, because I might put AdSense ads on here and this gives me better targeting of ad buys.
    • Lots of other Google-y bits, like Google Webmaster Tools, Google+ integration. Expect G+ Like buttons, follow buttons, sell-your-babby-to-Sergey buttons.
    • Bing-y bits from Microsoft (Boo! Hiss!) like Bing Webmaster Tools stuff and whatever else of theirs I feel like using.
    • Twitter-stuff both direct from Twitter and/or via other parties (like the WordPress JetPack Twitter widget in the sidebar).
    • Yahoo Stuff – Yahoo webmaster tools, yahoo whatever. Or maybe not, because I’m questioning their relevance. But just assume I have YahooStuff here, and act accordingly.
    • StatCounter.com statistics tracking stuff. Yes, I know how to look at and interpret Google Analytics. As Captain Janeway once said about Time Travel, “it gives me a headache”, and that is the last quote you’ll ever see by me from the Worst.Starship Captain.Ever (no, not because she’s a woman…). StatCounter analytics are way easier to interpret quickly, are near-real time (I can SEE YOU!), and don’t give me a headache.
    • Might be something from Yandex in Putin’s Russia. Deal with it.
    • The address where I receive mail you send me via the Contact Me form? Definitely in Putin’s Russia – at Yandex.com aka Yandex.ru. And for trigger-the-NSA fun, I specifically used the Dot-RU form of my address there. Commies!
    • The email server your contact form comment is sent to me via? It’s an email address on a domain I own legally assigned to Somalia! Yes, Blackhawk Down and Al-Qaeda. NSA alert! It’s really, at the moment, via my provider Gandi.net’s email servers in Paris, France, EU, Sol III, on a domain registered through them, with the Somalia .SO domain actually run by a Japanese company and claiming to be under Japanese law. But Somalia! Pirates!
    • If any of the above, especially the Somalia, Russia, and anti-NSA stuff bothers you, you really should read this next part.

Government Surveillance and Illegal Spying Policy:

  • They’re doing it. Wake up. Don’t be like that guy who always tells me about Chemtrails conspiracies, and the need for chelation, but in all seriousness asked me, “What’s NSA and why should I be concerned about them?” because I’m going to make fun of you on the internet for a long time. And the NSA is going to record every single one of those times I make fun of you, correlate it with all the other people who make fun of you, and the non-critical thinkers who actually agree with you, and put it in YOUR “permanent record”.
  • You’re being watched.
  • So am I.
  • This site is outside the USA, ergo NSA doesn’t even have to pretend they’re not keeping track.
  • Same with the email, including any email addresses I may activate on a FallingOffTheHemisphere-Dot-Com or Dot-Anything address.
  • I live outside of the USA, which makes any communication with me allegedly fair game for the NSA and its other Riders on the Storm (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom) to track and share and not need any steenkin’ warrants. Guess what you’re doing by reading my site? You’re communicating with me. Which means your grandmother’s illicit lover’s sister’s cloth diapers deliveryman is also being monitored now, by virtue of the “3 hops policy”
  • I can’t be arsed to link up all the above. Go use Google, or DuckDuckGo, or Yandex, or Bing, or whatever you prefer. Or just go to The NSA Files at the Guardian.
  • Got VPN? A VPN will not completely protect you from corporate, nosy neighbor, or government spying. But it will help, it will add “friction”, make it more difficult, make it take longer to get to a full profile on you. Connecting through a VPN, such as my preferred one (and I’m “dogfooding”, I use the same one, currently Overplay.net) does this:
    • Hides your traffic from your own Internet Service Provider. Whether that be Antel (the government landline, DSL, Fibre-optic, fixed-internet monopoly here in Uruguay, as in the actual government!), or AT&T or Verizon (as in some of the businesses who run the actual government no matter which party “wins”), or as in the WiFi at your coffeehouse, in your city park, on your WiFi-equipped airplane trip. In some cases, anybody in your neighborhood can see your traffic if you’re a DSL or Cable Modem subscriber. They might not know they can, they may be technically untrained to do so or even imagine it, but the capability is there. A VPN encrypts your traffic before it leaves your PC, Mac, phone, iThing, whatever, so the ISP and your neighbors can’t see, and log, where you are going on the internet nor capture everything.
    • Obscures your geographic location. This is why most “expats” buy a VPN service, so they can watch BBC iPlayer (unless you’re like that idiot on Facebook who berated me for not paying the Beeb licence fee even though I’m not a Brit), or Hulu, or ABC/Disney Propaganda News with George Stephanopoulous This Week and every Sunday Morning. However, it’s really for more than that. With a click, I can appear to be browsing from Sweden, Iceland, South Africa, Russia, South Korea, China, Argentina, Venezuela, Australian, or many more, in addition to the popular “watch the good shows” of USA, UK, Canada. Just to shake things up, to confuse things, to make it harder (not impossible, harder) for people to “profile me”.
    • Potentially encrypts everything end-to-end, but only if, “inside” your “VPN tunnel”, the service you are using is itself encrypted, like the https: in your browser, using TLS/SSL in Thunderbird or Apple Mail to talk to your email server at NameCheap or Gandi or DreamHost or even Google.
    • It’s safe sex. That’s a metaphor. Put a cover on it.

Policy version 1.1.1 2014-03-28 1615 UYT (UTC -3:00)


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