Google Analytics and tracking policy

In a nutshell: I collect and retain as little data as I can while still obtaining useful analytics, I never share information with ad networks, and I never collect any information that could be used to trace your browsing history back to you personally.

I dislike being tracked as much as you do, but I also want to know how many people read Control-Alt-Backspace and what posts are popular so I can write more of the stuff that people actually want to read. Therefore, I use Google Analytics, but I have made some unconventional settings to help protect your privacy.

  • I never collect any personally identifiable information or send any such information to Google Analytics. This includes your IP address – before being sent, it is partially anonymized so Analytics can get a general idea of where in the world you are without making it possible to identify you personally. The only information Google Analytics receives from Control-Alt-Backspace is a randomly generated, unique identifier temporarily assigned to your computer, the standard information passed on every Web request like your browser and operating system, and details about what pages you’re looking at.
  • All tracking cookies containing this unique identifier expire after 24 hours. This means that if you log back in after 24 hours have passed since your last visit, there is no way to cross-reference the pages you visited yesterday with the pages you visited today. (The standard expiration period is 2 years, which is enough to more or less permanently track all the pageviews of regular users unless they clear their cookies. This can of course give some useful insight into how people use the site, but I also think it’s pretty creepy.) Note that when you reload a page or click a new link, the expiration time is reset, so it’s theoretically possible for your session to continue indefinitely if you never stop using the site for 24 hours at a time.
  • All my tracking cookies are first-party and only visible to controlaltbackspace.org, and I have all Google’s Data Sharing Settings turned off. I also do not use ad network trackers or Google’s Remarketing, User-Id, or Advertising Reporting Features. This means I cannot see what other sites you have visited, demographics, browsing history, or any other information Google collects about you. It also means I do not intentionally pass on any information that would allow other sites to know you have visited Control-Alt-Backspace. (This unfortunately does not fully guarantee no sites will obtain that information, since features like Google’s search history tracking could still collect that information and share it with other sites.)
  • Although I do not believe I collect or create any data that would fall under Google’s user and event data retention policy, if I do somehow end up with such data, in no event will it be retained longer than 14 months (this is the shortest option available).

Don’t like trackers? Check out the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser add-on, which automatically blocks these kind of trackers from reporting anything. Given my restrictive usage policy, you might consider whitelisting Control-Alt-Backspace, but I also don’t mind if you use blockers.