1. Are a very important aspect of your work with any financial services provider of any kind; and because privacy policies
2. Can illuminate what a financial services provider is, or is not, up to in the background.
That is, while I think that your personal information is a precious asset of yours and yours alone, many (most?) financial services providers, away from their provision of services to you and in the background, think of your personal information as a valuable asset of theirs, and think of it that way so much so that some of them (most of them?) choose to sell or trade in your personal information to further their own interests, even at the possible expense of your own interests and wishes (which is why they do it in the background and disclose as little as possible and, when forced to disclose, they do so through a lot of fine print).
Perhaps it’s evident that I have strong feelings about this stuff?
In custom-tailoring my services to your particular situation and particular needs, it’s helpful for you to provide me with as much personal and confidential information about you as you are comfortable sharing with me. Throughout our dealings with one another, then, I will frequently ask you to share information with me about yourself and about those within your financial world.
If you do not wish to share certain information with me, that is your choice.
To the extent you do share information with me, the information flow stops with me. I will strive to safeguard that information as thoroughly as I reasonably can, and will not knowingly provide any of that information to anyone else except when (a) I am compelled to do so by governmental power and/or (b) I wish to do so as part of responding to claims made against me.
In keeping with this the-information-flow-stops-with-me approach, if you ever want me to provide any of your information to someone else, I will only do so after (a) you specify in writing that you wish me to do so, and (b) I in turn have concluded that I am comfortable being an information intermediary for you within that context.
So, no, you will not end up on some huge company’s junk-mail mailing list or do-call-at-dinner-time list as a result of your dealings with me.
The only specific information I obtain about you via this website is information you voluntarily put into (a) the “email” function on the blog page (the one that allows you to email a link to a blog piece to yourself or to someone else), or (b) the “comment” function on the blog page (the one that let’s you chime in with your thoughts at the end of a blog piece). In addition, the “comment” function also records the IP address of the computer you use when you enter a comment into the site.
In addition, this site uses various tools to determine the sorts of people who use the site, and how they use it.
Compared to most commercial and business sites, the tools in this site are quite minimal (consisting of off-the-shelf tools, such as Google Analytics and the WordPress and Wassup statistics modules), as is the amount of information the tools collect.
Typically these tools allow me to see the towns people using the site are in, as well as the Internet service and the sort of computer equipment they are using when they access the site (many more hand-held devices than in the past!). Oftentimes the tools also allow me to see how long, on average, people are reading the site, and which pages they are looking at and for how long. And, if I put my mind to it, I might be able to figure out that a given person entering the site via a given Internet Service Provider using a given computer set-up looked at a given page for a given amount of time. I generally do not feel the need — nor do I have the availability of the time or resources — to do that.
It’s important for you to know that I have access to all the information those functions collect and/or you provide, and usually review it soon after it comes in; you have my promise that I will not knowingly put any of that information into some huge spam-database in the sky, or otherwise use it for any purposes other than (a) monitoring, running and improving this website, the services I provide and the business of John Friedman Financial overall, and (b) with respect to blog comments, for communicating with you and others on the site, and (c) with respect to email addresses you enter into the email function, to add your email address and the others’ email addresses to my email address database, to which I from time to time send emails.
In general, then, I look to see how many people viewed the site each day, where they came from, how long they spent on the site, and whether any given pages caught their eye and then kept their attention.
And, also in general, if you really want me to see you using the site, please do leave a comment and/or email something in the site to someone!