When you browse any website, the server where the website is stored needs to know where to send the content you view. When you click on a link to any website or page, your computer sends out information. This information includes your web address and computer location, the date and time of your visit, your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc.), your browser (Netscape, Internet Explorer, etc.) your screen resolution, and other such things. This is how the the server knows where to deliver the content, and is sent automatically by your computer.
HumSites also uses a hit counter. We use StatCounter to organize the above information to help us decide the best way to design our web pages. In addition to the content you are viewing, the StatCounter code sends your browser a temporary text file called a cookie. This cookie tells us which pages you viewed and in what order, which pages are popular and which are not. We cannot and do not use this cookie to collect personal information about you.
We can never know anything personal about you which you do not tell us. The only way we can get your name, email address, or other personal information, is if you send it to us in an email. If you ever do that, we will not share, give, sell, or offer your email address to anyone else. We do not maintain a mailing list, nor do we broadcast information to those who have sent us email. We dislike spam as much as anyone, and work to prevent it. We are also serious about data security, to the point of setting up physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to secure any information you may send us.
Editorial Comment on Privacy Policies
Most people think their computer is like a television because there is a screen to look at, but it's not. For television, all channels for a given area are being sent to all television sets all the time. You select which channel to view. This is manageable, because there are only a few to pick from, usually less than one hundred. If this were the case for the internet, it would be unmanageable - there are millions of web pages to select from. Computers do it this way: If you are connected to the internet, you select which page to view by typing in a location, or clicking on a link. Next, your computer sends a request to that remote location, to the file server where the web page you want to see is stored. The request includes, among other things, your computer's address on the internet, so the remote server will know where to send the web page. Your computer also sends out the name of your operating system, your browser, screen size, and things like that. This is so the server can send you the version of the page that best fits your computer or mobile device. This all happens in an instant. When the remote server receives the request, it sends the web page to you and only you, at your internet address. This may take a few seconds or longer, because the remote computer is actually sending your computer all the files for that web page, which may include images and sound or video if the page has them.
How does this apply to Privacy? Say you don't want anyone, not even the remote server, to know how to find you. Here's how to do it: Unplug your computer from the internet. That's right, unplug it. What this means is that there is no way to completely hide your computer if you want to surf the internet the way you normally do. Your computer sends a request for a web page, and says "send page xyz to me at this IP address and make it suitable for my browser and operating system". The remote server cannot "see" you, cannot know your street address or telephone number and email address - it just knows enough to be able to send the web page to your computer. The website cannot know who you are any more than the person you are looking at on a television screen can see you. So when the tv commentator says "So nice to see you today," they are not speaking literally. If you are a little kid, you don't know that, so you think you can talk back to the television, but I digress. Back to computers and the internet. Of course, if the website you are viewing has a place for you to type in your address and phone or email, and you do it and click "send", you have just willingly sent them your information. But until you do that, they won't know your personal information.
So what's all this fuss over privacy? It's because many people have sent their information over the internet and had people do things with that information for nafarious purposes. It's because their children have typed their names and phone numbers in chat rooms and wind up getting unwanted phone calls. It's because, as a society, we are so concerned about privacy, while at the same time not taking personal responsibility. For these reasons, software makers have designed browsers with enhanced security, to ask you if you really want to type your telephone number in that form (as if you couldn't decide for yourself). And for these reasons, software makers have designed security suites that break websites rather than risk allowing full functionality because you might forget your computer is not a friendly television set, and type in something you don't want the world to see.
Perhaps this will change in time. We now have a whole generation coming up who were born after the invention of the internet. We already have a generation of adults who never knew what it was like not to have a personal computer. Many of the kids nowadays are completely at ease making video recordings and posting them to the internet. Their parents would have needed a VHS camcorder, and their grandparents a Kodak movie camera to capture moving images. Cellphones now capture video as well as still images. These can be taken anywhere and uploaded to the world. Security cameras abound in public places and many businesses. Privacy? Anything but.
Visitors to this website come from all over, so it might help to know where we are. Humboldt County is located in Northern California, on the coast, about 80 miles south of the Oregon border. The following cities are located in Humboldt County: Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, McKinleyville, Orick, Ferndale, Rio Dell, Scotia, Garberville, Redway, and all the other spots in between. Please forgive us if we have left you out.
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