Miskatonic University Press

No more tracking

code4lib privacy

Today I upgraded to the latest version of Matomo (moving up from an older version from when it was called Piwik): that’s the open, non-proprietary self-controlled more private equivalent of Google Analytics. The upgrade had been on my to do list for over a year. It didn’t take long, even with the renaming, which meant I needed to change some URLs in Javascript footers that put a tracker on every page.

I got it all working and looked at the fresh Matomo interface. It tells me: not many people look at my web site; the three most popular pages are an out of date post from 2012 (Counting and aggregating in R), Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang and this list of definitions and principles from Ranganathan’s Prolegomena to Library Classification; and Freedom of information request for York University eresource costs completed has had over 400 views since posted two weeks ago, which is very nice to see.

Screenshot of Matomo report on this site
Screenshot of Matomo report on this site

I hadn’t looked at the stats in over a year. I don’t use them. I don’t need them. Why am I tracking users on my site anyway? There is no reason. Becky Yoose and other experts would ask me: Why are you recording personal information you’re not using?

So I turned it off. I went even further: I disabled logging on the web server.

I added a privacy statement to the sidebar: “Zero logging: As of 23 June 2020, no tracking is done on this web site and no logs are kept. I know absolutely nothing about how the site is used.” I also turned off logging on Listening to Art (which I didn’t even know I’d set up: I thought it was like GHG.EARTH and STAPLR, where there’s no tracking).

Matomo is an excellent application! It’s under the GPL, the code is on GitHub, it’s easy to install and use … I like everything about it. I just don’t need it. (And now I don’t have to ever upgrade it again.)

Zero logging is punk.