Vanagon Wiki:Privacy policy

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Vanagon Wiki is provided by volunteers. As such, you visitors and contributors to Vanagon Wiki should not expect your security or privacy is protected. We do our best, and we have good intentions, but we do not have the resources of more formal organizations. For that reason, Vanagon Wiki may be less secure than services with more resources or expertise. That might mean Vanagon Wiki is more likely to disclose information about you that you didn't expect or cause security problems on your computers.

That said, we respect your privacy and security, and we have a little expertise in protecting them, so we believe you can use Vanagon Wiki with confidence.

Vanagon Wiki collects data in several ways:

  • Vanagon Wiki logs your visits. Your full IP address is recorded.
  • If you choose to allow Vanagon Wiki to run Javascript on your computer, Vanagon Wiki records a good deal of information about you and your computer. In particular, Vanagon Wiki tracks each of your visits to the web site as you move from page to page and when you follow links from Vanagon Wiki to other web sites. Vanagon Wiki records your operating system, web browser, window size, and lots of other details of your computer's configuration. In practice, that information uniquely identifies you (not just your computer).
  • If you log in to Vanagon Wiki and contribute, your contributions are linked to your Vanagon Wiki account for all to see.
  • We do our best not to disclose your email address directly, but you can choose to allow other logged-in Vanagon Wiki contributors to send you messages that will be delivered to you by email.
  • If you choose a Vanagon Wiki username or register with an email address that's similar to those you use on other web services, it's likely that anyone can guess your username or email address on those other services and so correlate your activity across several web sites.
  • We do our best not to disclose your password, but mistakes happen. If you use the same password on Vanagon Wiki as on other web sites, and a data breach occurs on Vanagon Wiki or elsewhere, it's likely an attacker could pose as you on several web sites. If you use sensitive web sites (your job, bank, or private communications), be sure to know and apply good practices to protect your privacy.

Here are a few ways we try to protect your privacy and security:

  • We use Mediawiki software, the same software used by Wikipedia. That means we benefit from the expertise of many developers around the world. Other open-source software behind Vanagon Wiki includes FreeBSD, Apache, MySQL, Imagemagick, Piwik, and much more. All of the software behind Vanagon Wiki is available for inspection by experts, and none of the software is encumbered by licensing or other legal restrictions, as best we can determine. We hope this minimizes the risk that Vanagon Wiki or you contributors can be victimized by unscrupulous people or organizations.
  • We keep the software up to date as best we can. That means when vulnerabilities are discovered in the software, they affect Vanagon Wiki as little as possible.
  • We don't use third-party services, such as Google Analytics or Facebook "Like" buttons, that routinely track you as you browse the web.
  • Vanagon Wiki's Server at SFCCP
    Vanagon Wiki relies as little as possible on commercial internet providers. Vanagon Wiki runs on a server owned by Steve Williams installed in a facility operated by the non-commercial San Francisco Community Colocation Project, which has pretty good contracts with its commercial landlord and upstream internet access providers. This means that your contributions to Vanagon Wiki are less likely to be quashed by bogus legal demands, and your use of Vanagon Wiki is less likely to be disclosed by our providers. Steve almost certainly will be notified of any legal demands before action is taken, and he'll try to contact you before taking action that affects your contributions or your privacy.

Where could we do better?

  • We retain web server logs and web analytics data. It'd probably be better to delete all such logs routinely and often. But we like to know people use Vanagon Wiki, and it's harder to do that while aggressively deleting logs. Maybe you have some expertise in this area and would like to help!

Please help improve this privacy policy! We want this to be understandable by non-technical visitors and contributors. And we want this to serve as one example of how volunteer projects can be clear about their intentions and give their communities realistic expectations about privacy and security, and maybe even help their community members protect themselves better.

(As of March 7, 2011, this document had a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of about 11 according to Added Bytes. A Grade Level of 8 would be preferable, to better serve all readers. If you'd like to take a stab at improving the readability of this page, your efforts are welcome!)