You can’t help but have noticed that the laws around the way that companies and websites deal with your privacy are changing this month, on 25th May.
You may have had many emails asking you to ‘resubscribe’ to email newsletters and the like, or you will no longer be contacted by the company in question. Some companies have in the past added people to email newsletter lists without their confirmed consent. At Walkhighlands everyone who receives our newsletter does so as a member benefit and has not only signed up as a member, but also clicked on an email sent to them to ask them to confirm this. So if you currently receive our newsletters by email, you will continue to do so unless you unsubscribe using the link that is at the bottom of every newsletter.
Our approach is to maximise your privacy and not carry out any tracking or other monitoring of users personal data, unless it is absolutely necessary.
We will never sell your data, or pass on your email address for any other company to use.
The main change is that the new law has meant that Google has begun giving publisher websites like Walkhighlands the option to opt out of their users’ data being used to create profiles and show you personalised adverts based on your interests, in exchange for reduced revenues. We have taken advantage of this opt-out, so Google’s advertising service will no longer be tracking your visits to Walkhighlands in order to use that data to create a profile of your interests. This may mean that adverts you see on Walkhighlands may be less relevant to you personally than previously. We have also opted out of interest-based advertising and data sharing with Skimlinks, the other automated advertising service we use. Please note that if you have ‘opted-in’ to your data being gathered when you were on another company’s website, Google may still be able to serve you adverts for that company on Walkhighlands. Walkhighlands is not a controller of your data in that instance – the consent had to be given to the advertiser. A cookie is still used by Google adverts on Walkhighlands to make sure you aren’t repeatedly shown the same advert, unless you have disabled cookies.
Due to concerns around users being tracked around the internet by social networks such as Facebook (even for people who do not have accounts at these social networks), we have also removed all website code for ‘share’, ‘like’ and similar buttons provided by these networks to Walkhighlands several months ago. The share buttons that still appear on Walkhighlands are now ones hosted by ourselves and they involve no contact with the social network unless you click on them to visit that social network’s own website.
Like many or most websites, we use Google Analytics to track how busy Walkhighlands is, how it is used, how people find it and which are the most popular pages on the site etc. On some websites the data passed to Google can include personal data, but we have used an option Google provides called ‘Anonymise IP’ which means that no data is passed to Google Analytics that can be used to identify you personally.
If you are a registered user of Walkhighlands then you create an account so that you can record your hill-bagging progress, keep trip reports, take part in the forum etc. There are no changes here, and the data we gather is the minimum needed to perform these services; namely your email and a password (the latter is encrypted so we have no access to it). You can optionally provide other information (such as where you live) entirely at your own discretion.
Your IP address – a number which can be used to identify your computer or internet connection – is recorded when you make forum posts and register your account. Some past abusers of our forum have tried to use ‘privacy’ concerns to try to force us to delete all their details, so that they can again restart their misuse of the site. The IP address of posts is permanently stored by Walkhighlands solely for the purpose of being able to moderate the forum and uphold the moderation policy, this is done in the legitimate interest of preventing posting of illegal material and misuse by hackers, spammers and trolls. For this reason this particular data cannot be deleted; it is not held reliant on your consent, but on grounds of legitimate interest. If you have posted as part of a forum discussion, the posts you made will continue to form part of the discussion even if your account on Walkhighlands is closed; this is again to protect the legitimate interests of the forum community by making it possible to maintain the integrity of discussions.