GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), also known as Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, is an EU law valid from May 25, 2018. It repeals EU Directive 95/46/EC and replaces the national regulations on the same matters of EU member states. GDPR states mandatory conditions that must be met by web sites, IT companies, organizations, national and regional authorities, and any individuals or legal persons that store and/or process the personal data of EU residents.
Note - GDPR is an EU law, but this does not mean that it is automatically valid in all EU countries. Each EU country needs to incorporate the GDPR directives in its own law before they become valid at the national level, which often takes years to implement. This means, in practice, that GDPR starts taking effect at different times in different EU countries.
This law applies to any of the above entities, regardless of their geographic location. It is enough that these entities store and/or process personal data of EU citizens to make them subjected to GDPR rules. This web site might therefore be affected by GDPR, although it is not hosted in the EU.
I will not discuss here whether this EU law really can apply outside the EU, and whether it can be enforced outside the EU, in case the defendant has no economic interests within the EU and no other ties to the EU.
This web site has never used cookies. However, I need to collect statistics about visitors, broken links etc. to correct problems and errors on this web site. For this purpose, I use Google Analytics cookies. They are issued by Google, and I have nothing to do with them. However, you do receive these cookies by visiting this site.
This site will work just as well also without cookies, and I will never know, nor care, whether you choose not to accept cookies from this web site.
This is the whole story about cookies on this site.
More in general, what data does a cookie contain, and can cookies be a threat to your privacy?
A cookie is a text file that a web server sends to your browser. Your browser stores this file on your computer (if configured to do so). Modern browsers typically store all cookies in a single database, which is faster than storing and retrieving individual files. This data file contains:
- The server's URL. This is used by the browser to locate the cookie and send it back to the same server when you visit this server at a later time. Cookies typically expire (i.e., are deleted) by the browser after a number of days (which may be specified in the cookie but may be overridden by the browser settings). Some browsers also allow the user to delete all cookies in bulk.
- Some data provided by the server. This data is usually obfuscated and not directly readable by the user. This data may contain information about you that is known by the server. Potentially, this data may therefore contain personal information like your name, physical location, originating IP address and any other data that you may have entered, for example, while registering for membership on the server. This data may also contain a pointer to a database record stored on the server, which allows the server to identify you and use your personal data for a targeted user experience even if the cookie contains no personal data about you. This means, in practice, that the server may know a lot more about you than what is contained in the cookie itself.
Therefore, while cookies are generally used for innocent purposes, like recognizing you as a previous visitor, instructing the server to present its pages in the way you selected during previous visits, and calling your attention to posts and news that you have not yet read on previous visits, some users may desire not to be identified by the server. In these cases, for maximum safety, configure the browser not to accept cookies from specific (or all) servers.
Even if you store no cookies on your computer, a server may still identify you, for example, through your username and password. The server may also try to identify you by comparing your IP address with addresses it has stored during previous visits. The latter method is only a best guess, since the user IP address may change without notice. Some Internet providers may try to assign you always the same IP address, while others may give you a different address every time your Internet router or mobile phone is restarted or reconnected. The latter is especially frequent when using a mobile Internet connection.
How this web site complies with GDPR
- This web site contains no personal data of EU citizens, except data already in the public domain, or my own personal data. As web master of this site, I am therefore neither a data controller nor a data processor as defined by GDPR.
- No database is connected to this site, and all data on this site is contained in static pages and available online at all times. There are no "secret" or "member-only" areas on this site that might hide personal data, and no lists of members or visitors.
- GDPR gives each EU resident the right to request what personal data a controller or processor is holding about said EU resident.
- If you are an EU resident and wish to know whether this site contains your personal data, use the Google Search facility on the home page of this site to search for your personal data. If this search facility does not return anything relevant, it means that this site does not contain any of your personal data.
- GDPR gives each EU resident the right to ask for removal of personal data of said EU resident from databases, web sites, etc.
- If you are an EU resident, in the unlikely case you will find some of your personal data (as defined by GDPR) on this web site and you object to it, you may ask me to remove this data by e-mailing me, specifying which page contains the data, which data to remove, and providing evidence of your identity as well as sufficient proof that you are the person mentioned on the page in question.
- I will ignore any blanket "remove me from your site" request that lacks a clear indication of which data to remove, or proof that the data refers to you.
- I will also ignore requests to remove personal data on behalf of a third person, unless you can prove you are the legal guardian, estate, or testamental executor of this person.
- I will not remove any of the following data from this web site:
- Non-personal data, e.g. a street name, city name, company name, or date that is not accompanied on this site by other personal data that may allow you to be identified as an individual. Explanation: If one of my pages contains, for example, a date that accidentally happens to be your birthday, or the name of the street where you live, and nothing more about your identity like your name or phone number, this is not personal data as defined by GDPR. GDPR covers only data that may allow others to uniquely identify you.
- Data that is already in the public domain, e.g. your name if you are the author of a published book, chapter, article, paper, or patent. Explanation: I will only remove personal data that is not in the public domain. Removing data from this site that is already in the public domain and easily accessible would do nothing to protect your privacy.
- Personal data from snapshots of earlier versions of this web site, stored on web archives like Wayback Machine and ScreenShots, or returned by search services like Google Search.
I have no control over these databases. Contact them if you want to remove your personal data from their databases. I will not do it on your behalf.
- I reserve the right to clearly mark the place in the page where I removed the personal data, with a language similar to the following:
Personal data was removed from this page by request of a person previously mentioned here.
I also reserve the right to publish a list of all pages of this site where I removed personal data for compliance with GDPR.
Privacy and logging
The IP addresses of visitors of this site and the URLs requested by their browsers are only logged when necessary for diagnostic purposes. Logs are stored by the web hosting company (Freehostia) of this site. I keep no separate copy of the logs.
The total number of site-wide page hits is recorded for traffic statistics purposes, via www.simplehitcounter.com. The site-wide number of visitors by geographic location is recorded via clustrmaps.com (based on the originating IP address as seen by clustrmaps.com) and displayed on a map (generated by clustrmaps.com) at the bottom of each page.
This web site does not change or tailor the served contents on the basis of your location. All visitors see the exact same contents, unless firewalls set up by your provider or your government change or restrict the contents being sent to you.
Access denied and page not found incidents are logged for security purposes and for detecting broken internal links. The logged information includes the originating IP addresses, the requested URL, and any information supplied by the visitor's browser. Based on these logs, attempts to access resources on this site for clear hacking purposes may lead to a temporary or permanent blocking of the originating IP addresses and domains.