With Wikileaks raising all sorts questions about the unauthorised sharing of data and also what access and legal controls there are, it seems a good time to lay out what data we store and who could see it.
When you register, you have to give an active email. Emails are stored and are not shared with third parties or publicly visible. You can choose to allow people to communicate with you by email from the forum, and if you do send an email through the forum, you will be warned that this will make your email address visible to the other person. You can also not allow emails and the option will not be available.
If you do send any emails, you will be using your email account and this will not be stored on our servers.
The forum software is set to try to prevent emails being used as usernames or posted- this is to prevent them being farmed by spammers. We also try to delete any attempts to get round the software block that we see, again to stop them being farmed because spambots can work out things like myname(at)hotmail.com. Search engines cannot see your email unless you post it.
IP addresses, the number used to identify a computer so that site pages can be sent to your computer, are stored, but are not shared with anybody. IP addresses can contain information about your location.
When we have persistent spammers, trolls or people cloning accounts to cause trouble, administrators can search to see if an IP is used by different accounts. We can also block individual IPs, which we try not to do as different computers can use the same IP.
Passwords are stored, but they are encrypted and they cannot be seen by anyone, including administrators. If you lose your password, we cannot look into the database and see it. We can send a new one or change it, but we have no idea what your password is.
Private messages are stored on our server until you delete them.
Your profile page can be viewed by other forum users, but is not in search engines.
Adverts like the Google Ads on the site do not access personal information- text adverts scan the publicly displayed text and try to find relevant adverts. They cannot access things like your email.
We don't share the information stored with any third parties, but the site is hosted in the UK, and we are registered as a company in England and Wales for legal purposes, and are therefore subject to those laws, relevant EU laws and any international obligations stemming from this. If a court order were served obliging us to disclose the information we hold on someone, the information this could possibly involve would be a username, details given when filling in the form such a date of birth, the email address used, IPs and any undeleted Private Messages. No court has ever asked us to do this, so it's just a theoretical model.
Categories: Editorial Policies