You don’t have to read all the details below. You can use this website, and all the Web, happily without being aware of these things at all. There are problems with privacy and security when using the Web anywhere — the whole thing is bigger than any of us, and bigger minds than ours are working on solving them!
What we do to protect you
In building and maintaining this website, secure practices are followed to protect the website itself, and to protect your privacy and your computer’s security. The Web Admin keeps up-to-date on the latest security issues and procedures for the Web and for WordPress, and implements them as soon as possible.
Some technologies are used which may expose your data to third parties (other websites or entities). Just like the trade-offs of life, we only use these where the benefits outweigh the compromise. Wherever possible we change, disable, or delete code that may track you or compromise your data. These are listed in the rest of this article, and you can see the things you can do to protect yourself below
→ Ethical design:
“Design” means not just the visual design of the web pages. It also means how the website is structured, what technologies are used, and more. We do our best to follow the principles of Ethical Design. This means that in building and coding the website, we try to always keep in mind your rights and your experience — not just what is easier for us to do!
→ Personal information on this website:
We do not publish any person’s name, contact or other information, or image unless explicitly authorized by that person. In the case of photos, we are showing images with people in them — this has been requested by many people as well the site owner — and does seem necessary to give some life to the idea of Khao Tham Center 🙂 But images are chosen which do not show faces, or, faces are blurred out — again, unless showing their image is explicitly authorized by that person.
→ Your data
We will never knowingly disclose your information to anyone. Ever.
What is “your data”? This means, any piece of information that can identify you, such as your name, address, phone, bank account number, etc. It also includes information you don’t see that is passed over the Web, such as the IP number of your connection, cookies, and more.
Secure connection: This website uses “https”, which means that all connections between your computer and the web server are encrypted.
Tracking: No tracking is used on this site, and no personally-identifiable information is held by us from your visit to this site. The ip number of your ISP is logged, as it is on every website in the world — that is the only way the server can know how to send the web page back to you! And from that we can see graphs showing us which countries our visitors are (probably) coming from — which is nice. But we do not track or otherwise analyze those logs.
Contact form: When you send a message through the contact form, your data (name, email, ip number, and message) are stored at the email account to whom it is sent: The Manager and the Web Admin. The Manager uses Gmail, which may not be considered trustworthy for privacy concerns. The Web Admin uses a secure email service which is located outside of the United States, does not search or read emails, and does not have ads or other tracking code on its pages which could compromise email messages.
Your data is also sent to Akismet spam protection service, to filter out spam. Read more on this page.
Cloudflare: Your computer and this website are protected by Cloudflare, which sits in the middle of your connection to this site. This means that everything between you and this website pass through Cloudflare’s servers. Cloudflare’s “privacy policies” are here
→ No advertising and its tracking
→ No use of external resources
We cannot guarantee that all plugins used have the same policy, but we do our best to keep an eye on them and modify or drop any plugin that we find doing the Bad Things.
→ No linking to tracking websites
Where we have mentioned accounts to a “social” (actually, “surveillance”) website such as Facebook or Twitter, we have given the account name, but not made a link to it. You can go to the site and copy/paste or type the account name in their search box, and that should get you to the right page on that site.
Why we are doing this? The tracking, privacy invasion, and collaboration with various governments’ surveillance that is being done by these services has become a huge problem. (A summary is here.) We cannot in good conscience help them do that. We would rather not be involved with those “social sites” at all, but the realities of the day make it necessary — so far.
Services we use
For those interested in the technical back-end of things — here ya go!
Our web hosting is provided by A2Hosting. Our server is located in The Netherlands, which is more secure and protected than many other countries. We chose A2Hosting because they pay strong attention to Web security, and provide quick and knowledgeable support in case of problems.
We do have other websites on this same server. They are all administered by the same Web Admin, and follow the same strict security and privacy practices. So this strongly minimises the risk of this website being compromised by an insecure website on the same server!
Akismet spam protection
We use a plugin called “Akismet” to protect the comments and forms … and our server … and you! from spam and viruses. In order for it to work, the Akismet program has to “read” the comments and form submissions, with your email address, location, etc., from any comment or form you send. Akismet (which is made by the same company that oversees WordPress) assures us that they do not save personal information and are in compliance with on their website, and we have also provided this same link at the bottom of every contact form.. You can read their statement
Your computer and this website are protected by Cloudflare, which sits in the middle of your connection to this site. Cloudflare not only makes this website faster, it also adds a lot of security protection. Read more about this here.
Google is a notorious privacy-invader, and collaborates with unfriendly businesses and governments to track you and harvest your data. We do not use Google Analytics, Google Search, or any other Google so-called “services”. With one exception …
We do use Google’s translation tool, . This translation feature is just so helpful, as we have visitors and retreatants from all over the world. But no worries, it is not hard to protect yourself from Google (and other) tracking. Learn more here
→ WordPress and plugins
The site is built with the WordPress CMS, which puts a few cookies in your browser — it needs to do this in order for the website to function. All WordPress cookies are automatically deleted when you close your web browser.
To the best of our knowledge, neither WordPress nor any of the plugins used save any information from the website, including any of your personal data. (Except see caveats below. The Web Admin keeps current on latest versions of all technologies used, and will remove (and has done) any that have “gone bad” and are compromising our website or our user’s information.
There is third-party tracking occurring on this website. We would of course rather not allow this at all, but there are features that we find too useful to leave out. It is not difficult to protect yourself from this tracking, see below.
- Google’s translation tool, on all pages. This translation feature is just so helpful, as we have visitors and retreatants from all over the world. But — Google is a notorious tracker and privacy-invader; learn how to protect yourself here
We can’t turn off those tracking activities on our end, but you can protect yourself from third-party tracking on this — and on all websites — by disabling it in your web browser. It is not at all hard to do, and highly recommended that you do it. One place for good instructions is HowToGeek.com.
I can’t protect you from all the invasive technologies out there on the World Wide Web — but you can protect yourself. Here are ten ways to protect your web privacy, at LifeWire.com, and a more comprehensive set of information and tools at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
If you have any questions about these or any other aspects of this website, please contact the Web Admin, who is always happy to discuss techie stuff!
My sincere apologies for all this mind-numbing detail, and for the possible worries it may set up in your mind. The Web is just that — a web: it is interconnected and interdependent. This is its great strength, but also enables people with bad intent to use it for harm. As it is my pleasurable duty to harness that strength for you, it is also my duty to help you be aware of the negative aspects.
— Khao Tham Center Web Admin