Protecting Your Privacy

W

e don't collect very much information about users of Naturenet automatically, but sometimes those who email the website, Keyholeleave comments on one of our blogs, or use Ask the Ranger will be submitting personal information to us. We felt that some people expect to see a privacy policy, and we hate to disappoint anyone. So this page explains in tedious detail what happens to any personal information we hold. This policy applies to all websites within the naturenet.net domain.

What information does Naturenet collect and why?
How does Naturenet use personal information?
What is Naturenet's policy on publishing comments made by other people?
How else might someone learn about my personal details on Naturenet?
How does Naturenet identify me?
Can I access my personal information?
What if I am under 16?
What is a cookie?
How can I control my cookies and IP address?

If you want to know more, or have any queries about this information, contact Naturenet.

What information does Naturenet collect and why?

Naturenet has no login requirement. You should never be required to enter personal information to access Naturenet web pages. By collecting server statistics we (anonymously) monitor visitors to the site so that we can see which sections are being viewed, how long for and which website the visitors came from, all of which is invaluable information for us in terms of developing the site and monitoring our performance. Those who send emails to the editor, comment on blog postings, or use the Ask the Ranger service, may have their email address, IP address, and any information they include in their message retained by Naturenet.

We will only disclose the very limited personal information we hold if required to do so by law or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with legal processes. We do not share your email address or any personally identifiable information with third parties without your consent except in the following instances:

• when required by applicable law or pursuant to a court or similar order.
• as deemed necessary, in our discretion, to protect the legal rights or the property of Naturenet or its contributors, or to prevent personal injury.

How does Naturenet use personal information?

If you send an email to Naturenet or to Ask the Ranger, we may retain the information you send, including your email address. This will be for our own use only, for example, when designing new pages and sections we usually assess the requests for information we receive.

If you provide us with your email address we may use it to contact you, but only in connection with the original reason you submitted it. So for example, if you include your email address on a blog posting we might email you to clarify something in the post or answer a question you have asked. But we won't use it for something unconnected, for example to try to sell you something. And we certainly will not pass it on to anyone else (except as above).

Information about visitors to Naturenet is collected by our server and other software to provide statistics, for example to see which browser is most popular, or what search terms are being used. These statistics and IP addresses are also recorded on a database. None of this statistical information is linked to any personally identifiable information, unless you have deliberately submitted it, e.g. by emailing us or by making a blog posting in which you volunteer personal information. Normally no such statistical information is retained for more than 60 days. It is automatically deleted thereafter as, frankly, we haven't got the disk space to keep any more than that.

Occasionally, questions submitted to Naturenet may be republished on a blog or distributed to our Ask the Ranger mailing list along with the witty answers we give. This is then public information, and before we publish it, any information which is likely to identify the original questioner is removed, including name and location. Personal email addresses are never published. Even so, if you prefer this not to occur, you have the option of saying so at the time you ask your question. If you indicate that you would like your question to remain private, it will never be published.

What is Naturenet's policy on publishing comments made by other people?

Blogs on Naturenet including The Ranger's Blog and Matt and Cat's Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide include the facility for third parties to make a comment. Users making a comment are not required to provide any personal information other than an email address - this will never be published and only used as above. All comments are reviewed by the editors after submission. The comments published represent the views of the commenter, and not necessarily Naturenet or its editors. However comments are published entirely at Naturenet's discretion and Naturenet reserves the right to edit or delete any comment without notice or reason. Naturenet will normally only edit or delete a comment that is spam, illegal, offensive, or malicious. Spelling, style, grammer and stupidity will generally be left alone. Comments may not be enabled for some posts and might be closed for others at the editors' discretion. Persistent spammers are banned by IP and/or keyword: occasionally legitimate comments are misidentified as spam. If you find you want to make a legitimate comment but you are banned then please email the editor to be unbanned.

Note also that comments once submitted may be reposted elsewhere, distributed, archived or used in other ways by Naturenet. Where appropriate, the commenter's attribution will be given.

How else might someone learn about my personal information while visiting Naturenet?

It is not possible for any third party to read your personal information through using Naturenet unless you have submitted it yourself in a blog posting or comment.

Can I access my personal information?

You may request a copy of the personal information that we hold about you with regards to the website. You can also request that any incorrect personal information about you be updated. However, given the strictly limited records that we keep, unless you have sent us email or made a blog comment in the past this will almost certainly result in a nil return, and even if you have, the most that will normally be held is your contact details.

What if I am under 16?

If you are aged 16 or under, please get your parent/teacher/guardian's permission beforehand whenever you provide personal information to Naturenet. If you do not have this consent you should not provide us with your personal information, but you are welcome to look at all the information on Naturenet, all of which is suitable for viewing by readers of all ages.

How does Naturenet identify me?

Most parts of the Naturenet website do not identify users in any way. Users who simply wish to read information and not submit it will not need to be identified at any time. If we do need to anonymously identify you, such as for monitoring web site statistics, we sometimes use a 'cookie'. We also in some circumstances record IP addresses, which are also anonymous.

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. You can opt out of this. If you would like more information about this practice and would like to know your options in relation to not having this information used by these companies, click here.

What is a cookie?

When you enter many websites your computer will automatically be issued with a cookie. Cookies are text files that identify your computer to a server. The cookie itself will not identify the individual person, just the computer to which the cookie was issued.

Cookies themselves only record those areas of the site that have been visited by the computer in question, and for how long. Users have the opportunity to set their computers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. The last of these, of course, means that certain personalised services cannot then be provided to that user. Almost all of Naturenet will work fine with cookies disabled.

How can I control my cookies or IP address?

Depending on what internet browser you are using there are different ways to control your cookies. Most browsers have very simple cookie controls and if you turn off cookies entirely your experience reading Naturenet will be unaffected. If you wish to do this, look at your browser's 'Help' menu to see how to do it.

If you do not wish to be identified by IP address you can configure your computer to avoid this, although it may be a little complicated. The easiest way is to use an online anonymising proxy service: a list of such services can be found here. However be aware that there are security risks associated with using such a service. Naturenet will be fully functional to you whether or not you use a proxy server.