About That Fingerprint on the Website

The fingerprint is from Termageddon

This graphic is a purple and white graphic with text overlay which reads Termageddon: Auto-updating privacy policies, terms & conditions, and more

Are you curious why there is a fingerprint on the bottom of the new website? I can explain.

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What is it?

If you are sight-privileged, you have surely noticed the persistent fingerprint on the bottom of your new website. The fingerprint on the Living Table website launches a Cookie Consent manager. It handles some of your website’s policies, and connects in to your privacy policy, which dynamically updates as relevant state and national laws may change. It is from a company called Termageddon, which is a popular solution for providing website policies to users of a website, and it is the solution chosen by Living Table.

But why is it always there?

Well, the short answer is, truly, click it and find out, because it is there for you to have that persistent access. You can also ignore it. If you do nothing, then the website will act like you chose “deny all” because it errs on the side of your rights as a website visitor. I think it is important that you know that up front. If you don’t do anything with it, your rights are maximally protected by default.

Disclaimer

I am not a lawyer and nothing said by me at any time including specifically here should be construed as legal advice. I am a website admin and a tech geek, not a lawyer. For the best information you shoud consult the most apt source, which in this case would be an online privacy law attorney. What I offer here is a general response only, to explain the fingerprint on the website and to point you to sources of more information on website policies and legal obligations.

Why so many policies?

Generally speaking, any time a website collects personally-identifiable information from people who go to that website, then state and national laws say that the website has to have several specific legal documents pertaining to the rights of website visitors. For example, having website analytics that track website visitors typically mandates having both a privacy policy and a cookie policy. The Living Table website also has user accounts to which you can log in, and we do allow comments, so all of that involves more cookies, and privacy, and a Terms of Service policy.

Just Click It

If you have not yet done so, go ahead and click the fingerprint. It stays visible persistently (meaning you cannot make it go away) in order to be the most compliant with the most privacy laws. For example, some states say that users should be able to “readily” or “easily” change their consent regarding website cookies. And the persistent fingerprint is hard to miss, so keeping it there meets that standard.

Why Don’t All Websites Have These Things?

Those of us in spaces where website agency owners talk about the lawsuits their clients get hit with certainly ask this question often. I, personally, find it very concerning that more organizations do not take online privacy more seriously. I have an old friend whose company was fined $1 million by the Federal Trade Commission for violating one specific online privacy law. Ask me offline, and I will show you their somewhat infamous news story…

What does Living Table do with analytics?

This is answered in the privacy policy and cookie policy, but some highlights are that analytics helps us to know what people are reading and sharing, because we can then make more interesting content to share. We also currently have Google Ad Grants funds, and this information is vital to maximizing the potential of that gift.

So what should I click?

Even though one of the categories for cookies is called marketing, Living Table does not advertise to you, so there are no cookies for advertising. However, analytics collects information about things like which website pages are read by the most people, and which blog posts get shared the most times. It is depersonalized, meaning that nobody will ever know which pages you personally may read or share. If you are wondering what you should do with the fingerprint, it’s 100% up to you and that is the point. If you are wondering what is best for Living Table, that would be for you to choose “Accept All” because that allows Living Table to use cookies in all categories, including analytics.

Ultimately…

You have a right to revoke analytics, which is what cookie consent management, the omnipresent fingerprint, and the related laws are all about.

For a more thorough explanation, I invite you to read a resource on one of my own websites – Read About Legal Policies.

Feel free to leave any website-related comments or questions for me below.

Added – About Partner Info

Only adults aged 18+ can register for the Living Table directory, and everyone must complete their own profile. The reason is compliance with federal privacy laws.

When completing your profile, you can indicate whether you have a partner also registering for the directory. However, if they do not also register on their own, Living Table is not able to store their name. This is to protect their legal right to privacy, and it would be illegal for Living Table to store their personally identifiable information without their consent. Everyone gives their consent when they individually register.

If you notice that when you registered, you entered a partner’s name and later realize that their name is no longer in your profile, this is why: they did not register. We can only store that field of information with their consent. The solution is to ask your partner to complete their profile. They can put your name as partner when they register, and you will be linked in the directory. If they do not wish to complete a Living Table profile and be in the Living Table directory, then that field does not apply to you. It is not asking whether you have a partner, only whether you have a partner to be linked within the Living Table directory.

About Erika Sanborne

Erika Sanborne is the website developer and administrator for Living Table. In addition to web development, she produces digital graphics, videos, animated explainers, and portraiture work. Her other hats include: long-time math and psychological science educator, ordained UCC clergy, disabled veteran who is for peace, disability justice advocate, population health and disability policy researcher, and sociology PhD candidate.

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