Privacy Policy

Because such things matter, even if they are illusory.

Who we are

Our website address is: But you will probably know that already.

Thanks for dropping by.  I’m sure you realise, even before landing on this site, that you are under closer personal surveillance than you could possibly imagine.  The trail of digital breadcrumbs you leave behind you creates an enormous store of data, a treasure trove plundered many times each day to track you, sell to you, influence you, even control you.  Compared to all that, what has on you is pretty trivial.  We want to maintain your trust, and we’re not interested in passing your details on to anyone else.  The purpose of this page is to spell out when and why we collect your personal information, what we do with it, how we use and how we keep it secure.

So, if you landed on this page deliberately, then read on.  If you didn’t, then I can’t say you’ll be missing a great deal if you head back to the home page.  I’m sure somewhere in Brussels a GDPR lawyer will be cringing at those words, but it’s true.  The bigger issue is surely what data governments, internet giants and intelligence services hold on you, not what the minnows are up to.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it


Opinion is free. Comments are great. Please leave them. When you do, the computer logic grinding away in the background collects the pearls of wisdom you’ve left in the comments for our Opinion Commissars to review later. That same computer logic saves your device’s IP address (the sequence of numbers that identifies your device on the big old Internet) and some details of the browser you’re using to help detect spam (we don’t like spam much).

An anonymised jumble of characters created from the email address you supply (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After our Opinion Commissars have signalled their approval of your comment, your profile image is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with location information (also known as EXIF GPS data) embedded in the image file. This is because other visitors to the website (such as governments, internet giants and intelligence services) can download and extract the location data from images left on the website. And you don’t want that, do you?

Contact forms

When you are kind enough to honour us by subscribing to this website, we obviously collect personal information as part of that process.

We use that information for a couple of reasons: to tell you about stuff you’ve asked us to tell you about; to contact you if we need to obtain or provide additional information; to check our records are right and to check every now and then that you’re happy and satisfied.

We don’t rent or trade email lists with other organisations and businesses.

We might at times, decide to use a third-party provider, MailChimp, to deliver our emails. With the help of their email monkeys we can gather statistics around email opening and clicks using ‘industry standard technologies’ (we’re not sure which ones, although these days they rarely involve armies of operatives in trench coats and trilbies watching you with binoculars) to help us monitor and improve our electronic scrawling. By and large, though, we’ll go on gut instinct when it comes to deciding what to write – and by how much abuse is hurled at us in the comments.

For more information, please see MailChimp’s privacy notice.

If the prospect of receiving emails from us provokes a sensation of mild nausea, you can unsubscribe at any time of the day or night (a phrase rendered largely worthless by technology, but we’ll use it anyway) by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any of our emails or by emailing our Data Commissars (they’re on a different floor to the Opinion Commissars’ department) at


The majestic empire (this website, basically) uses cookies to collect information.  These are little files of largely indecipherable mush. This includes information about how you, dear reader, browse the website, tracking pages you’ve viewed and the meandering journey we hope you’ve taken around the site.

If you deposit your views on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are intended for your convenience so you don’t have to fill in your details all over again when you next share your thoughts. Such a palaver is, we know from experience, a little tedious. These cookies will last for one year.

Wherever the website offers the ability to create a user account and log in to access it (depending on when you read this, such a facility might not be available), we will save a wee nugget of data to tell us if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is consigned to oblivion when you close your browser.

When you log in we will also manufacture several cookies to save your login information and any screen layout changes the website allows you to save. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select “Remember Me’ when you start using the site, your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be summarily purged.

Embedded content from other websites

Since this website regurgitates, with a unique and piquant twist, information sucked in from the world around us, the articles on it will include embedded content (such as videos, images, articles, tweets and whatnot). When you interact with embedded content from other websites it behaves in the exact same way as if you had visited the other website. Please be aware that other websites might have a very different view of what constitutes acceptable use of personal information. If in doubt, track down the contributing site’s privacy policy and check it for nefarious clauses.


When someone happens upon we use a third party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this because we want to you know which bits you seem to like and which you will only touch with a very long stick. This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make, and do not allow Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. We’ll admit that we’re rather cynical and not entirely convinced that the internet giants are playing with an open hand, so we are only passing on what we believe to be the case.

Our maxim is: if in doubt, opt out!

Who we share your data with

Well, beyond Google Analytics (see above) – no-one. But do remember that if we embed any odds and ends from other websites, and you click on that content – especially ads – then goodness only knows what they will do with your data. As we said above, if you’ve any concerns about that, then check the data handling policies of the websites who host the content you’ve clicked on.

How long we retain your data

If you spill your brainwaves onto our pages, then your comment and its metadata (like who left the comment, when it was made and so on) are retained indefinitely. I know, scary. But this is so our Opinion Commissars can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue – that’s assuming your contributions are not peppered with Very Rude Words.

Wherever you are able to register on our humble website, we also store the personal information you provide in your user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (although usernames are fixed, so think carefully before lumbering yourself with something like unicorn_fairy_dust_3335). Website administrators (an entire floor of our gleaming steel and concrete head office is devoted to them) can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you’ve created an account on this site or have left comments you can ask us for a file of the personal data that sits on our website, including any data you have provided to us. You can also ask us to delete any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes. That last sentence is admittedly rather woolly and is largely dictated by The Powers That Be.

If you’d like to get in touch about this, email

Where we might also send your data

Your comments might be squeezed through a spam mincer, which checks them to make sure you’re not trying to flog us penis enlargement cream, Viagra or whatever. Rest assured that we have no need of such things. 😉