We care about your privacy. (And so should you!)

You may not care about your privacy, but we do. (Admittedly, if you're taking the time to read this privacy notice, then the chances are you do, in fact, care about your privacy. In which case, I approve.)

From March 2018 to March 2019, we used Google Analytics to track usage data for the Mouse Trapped website. This showed us what we wanted to see: the number of users who were visiting the site and some clues as to what they were doing there (including the proportion of those users who were actually staying to play the game). But it also showed us quite a lot of information that could be regarded as superfluous or even unnecessarily intrusive. For example, aggregate data about the proportion of our users that Google thought were male or female, the distribution of estimated ages, and information about the most common interests of our users.

If Google knowing your age and gender aren't worrying enough, then think about that last one. How does Google know what each user is interested in? The two most obvious ways they can work it out are from your search history (what you type into Google and which results you click on), and from the data collected by other sites that use Google Analytics. If you visit a site that specialises in sports, for example, and that site uses Google Analytics, then Google can now infer that you are interested in sports. And they can share this information with other sites that also use Google Analytics. This happens regardless of whether you're using a different search engine, such as Duck Duck Go, or even typing the URLs directly into your address bar. As soon as you arrive at that sports website and your browser loads the JavaScript, Google knows you're interested in sports.

Hopefully, I don't need to convince anyone that this is a bad thing. Google is aware of about half the sites you visit online, even if they don't appear to be affiliated with Google in any way. They can use this data to stalk you across devices, target you with ads, and improve the technology that lets them do exactly the same thing to everyone else. That's right: By not caring about your privacy, you're making it harder for everyone else to care about theirs.

There are two solutions to this. The first is for everyone in the world to install a tracker blocker that disables Google Analytics and other services on pages they visit, so that tracking users through behavioural data is no longer effective. In practice, this is definitely not going to happen. You can't convince everyone to care about their privacy. Browsers aren't going to suddenly start caring for us, because a lot of them actually benefit from this tracking. Chrome is made by Google, after all. Just look at how ineffective the Do Not Track setting is!

The second solution is for websites to stop using Google Analytics. Respect your users' privacy and just don't collect any more data than you need. If you really want to see some numbers every week, then look into a simple, open source solution that aggregates data from web server log files instead. No JavaScript involved. If it's possible for Google Analytics and other intrusive tracking services to simply fall out of fashion, then we want to help contribute to that. Which is why...

We don't track you.

Since March 2019, Anderbell Studios does not use Google Analytics or any other tracking services. The data that we collected prior to this date has been deleted.

The IP addresses of all users who send requests to the site are recorded in our web server log files. This is unavoidable and does not constitute a violation of GDPR. These log files are automatically deleted after one week. This data is not used for tracking or analytics purposes.

We don't store cookies on your device.

Aside from the web server logs mentioned above, this website is completely stateless; it doesn't even have a database. By default, Rails sends a single cookie in order to persist session data from page to page. Since we have no need to persist any such data (and because cookies are more trouble than they're worth now that GDPR's happened), I have disabled this feature. Consequently, we can state that this website does not store any cookies or other retrievable data on your device.