What is Privacy?
Whenever you look at a page on a website, you leave a trail of information behind you that can be seen by the people that run the website. There are various ways that a website can obtain information are:
- PAGE REQUESTS - when you request a page a certain amount of information is automatically disclosed by your Web browser, such as the referring page
- COOKIES - sometimes websites set cookies which are small files that stay on your computer.
- FORMS - when you fill in and submit a form, the information gets sent to the site
Requesting a page
When you visit the CHAmois Mountaineering Club website, your browser releases certain information which is then logged in a file. This lets the webmaster see how popular different pages are and also helps identify problems on the site such as missing pages/broken links etc. There are three things that are revealed to the site:
- Operating Environment: The site gets told what browser you are using (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera etc) and sometimes the operating system that you use. This is useful as the webmaster can then gauge how best to present the site to the typical users.
- Internet Address: The site finds out the current address of your computer on the internet (IP address). The site needs to know this so it can send the page back to your computer. These addresses are usually assigned by your Internet Service Provider each time you connect to the internet. Usually an ISP will assign you an address at random so you are unlikely to have the same address if you reconnect. This means that the site can only find out the ISP that you use. e.g. it can tell if you used BT or Freeserve. Note: An IP address is not an email address; they are quite different things.
- Referrer: The site gets told the address of the page that you came from. This helps the webmaster to find out which pages link to the site so that they can be updated if the address of the website changes. However, it was noticed that some people were coming to the site after looking for other mountaineering clubs in search engines. As such a small program was made to use this information to help people get to the club they were looking for quicker; usually webmasters want visitors to stay at their site (stickiness) but we would much rather you got where you wanted to go with less hassle. When the referring page is a search engine, the address usually contains the search terms that were used e.g. www.google.com/search?query=lancashire+mountaineering. So, we created a perl script that checks any terms that you entered (e.g. lancashire mountaineering) against our list of clubs, effectively doing your search again! A similar technique is used on the meet write-up pages to highlight words in the page that were searched for. If you would like more information about this then please contact the webmaster who will forward your details to the relevant person.
Unlike a lot of sites, the CHAmois website does not as a general rule set any cookies so there is nothing to worry about! The only exceptions to this are the enquiry and feedback forms and the setting of cookies is only used as a security measure to prevent abuse of the forms. They are not used to collect any information about the user.
When you send information using one of our feedback forms, the information you add to the form is sent by email to the relevant person (e.g. the Webmaster). You are not required to include your email address unless you wish to get a response.