Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 30 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

TidBITS Privacy Notice

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our services, along with the choices you have associated with that data. We last modified this privacy policy on 15 May 2020.

We use your data to provide you with our services and to improve our ability to perform that task. By using our services, defined below, you agree to the collection and use of personal data in accordance with this policy.

Who We Are

TidBITS Publishing is a small publishing company that produces the free TidBITS Web site and email newsletter (“TidBITS”), the associated TidBITS Talk discussion forum (“TidBITS Talk”), the SlackBITS public Slack group (“SlackBITS”), and the TidBITS Content Network syndication service for Apple professionals (“TCN”).

TidBITS Publishing is located in the United States at 50 Hickory Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. Feel free to peek via Google Maps—there’s a nice pond in our front yard, and you can see our solar panels.

If you have any questions about this privacy policy, requests for your data, or wish to have your data erased, please contact TidBITS CEO Adam Engst via email.

What Data We Collect, Why We Collect It, and How We Use It

Personal Data

We collect certain data about you when you use our services or provide the information to us directly. In general, we use your personal data to:

  • Provide and maintain our services
  • Notify you about changes to our services
  • Allow you to participate in interactive features of our services
  • Provide customer support
  • Provide analysis or information that will help us improve our services
  • Monitor the usage of our services
  • Detect, prevent, and address technical issues

More specifically, the information we collect includes:

  • Email address: Although an account on our system is not necessary to read TidBITS or TidBITS Talk, you do need an account to post to TidBITS Talk because we don’t allow anonymous posting. Because TidBITS and TidBITS Talk are available as email subscriptions, and because we distribute new TCN content to subscribers via email, we request your email address when you’re setting up a new account for TidBITS and TCN. We may use your email address for direct communication about and promotion of our services. The email address also serves as your username when logging in to any of our sites. An email address is also necessary to set up a separate account in SlackBITS. Finally, the WordPress software we use for the TidBITS and TCN sites uses your email address to associate your Gravatar image with your account. (Gravatar is a free service run by Automattic, creators of WordPress, that lets you create a globally recognized avatar image that Gravatar-enabled sites like TidBITS and TidBITS Talk can then associate with your account, linking the two via your email address.)
  • First and last name: You have the option of entering your first and last name when setting up an account in any of our systems, but names are not required, and you may enter a pseudonym if you wish. We collect this information to make it easier to provide tech support in the event you have an account-related problem and because it’s just nicer to address someone by their first name. For TCN, we use your first name in the email message when distributing monthly content to subscribers.
  • Subscription preferences: TidBITS is available via email as a weekly issue, as individual articles for TidBITS members, and in Dutch and Japanese translations. If you wish to receive any of those mailings, you must specify that in your account.
  • TidBITS member contribution data: If you choose to support TidBITS with a contribution via our TidBITS membership program (thank you!), we receive various information necessary to complete the payment, including your email address, credit card number, expiration date, and security code, along with the amount of each contribution and, if you choose to have it repeat automatically, the frequency. This information is passed to Stripe, our payment gateway, to process your purchase. Of your credit card information, only the last four digits of your credit card number and the expiration date are saved by our site to use for reference and to send you an email if your credit card will expire before the next recurring payment. Stripe records your email address and, if provided, first and last names in a way we can see. Stripe receives your full credit card number in order to process your contribution, but we cannot access that data. For more details on what data Stripe collects and how it uses that data, see Stripe’s privacy policy.
  • Acknowledgment name and URL: Paying TidBITS members may optionally enter an acknowledgment name and linked URL that will appear on the public TidBITS Members page. (We may remove names or URLs that we deem to be offensive or suspicious, not that it has ever come up.)
  • Profile picture, bio, hometown, and Web site (TidBITS Talk): The Discourse software we use for TidBITS Talk optionally collects these pieces of data. They are not necessary, but if you enter them, they will be used to populate your public profile on the TidBITS Talk site.
  • Profile picture, position, phone number, time zone, language, and Skype handle (SlackBITS): The Slack service we use for SlackBITS optionally collects these pieces of data. They are not necessary, but if you enter them, they will be used to populate your public profile in SlackBITS. For more details, read Slack’s privacy policy.
  • Twitter username, Facebook profile URL, bio, company name, company blog URL, company Facebook URL, company Twitter URL (TCN): For TCN, we ask users for this information to ease tech support requests and to better understand how they use the TCN content. The information is optional and is never shared with third-parties.
  • Surveys: We may give readers the opportunity to participate in surveys on occasion. In all cases, participation will be voluntary. If a survey asks for personal information, answering those questions will be optional.

Usage Data

We collect access-log information to prevent fraud and potential unauthorized access to your personal information, ensuring the technical availability and security of our services. The servers that host our services may record requests your device makes, the details on which device and browser you use, your IP address, date and time of access, and operating system. This data is used only to ensure the proper functioning and security of our services and to investigate possible security incidents. For more details on how we manage this data, see “How We Store and Protect Your Data” below.

We also record but do not share information about queries submitted to TidBITS search facilities to better understand how people use our search features. This data cannot be associated with any particular user unless the query terms themselves include personally identifiable information.

Tracking and Cookie Data

Like nearly all Web sites, ours rely on cookies to provide and personalize our services. A cookie is a small piece of text sent to your browser by a Web site you visit. We use cookies as minimally as possible, but some of the software we use to power our sites requires the use of cookies, as outlined below.

Google Analytics

We collect information about how our services are accessed and used via Google Analytics, an analytics service provided by Google. Google Analytics uses cookies to help analyze how you use our Web sites. The information generated by the cookie about your use of our Web sites will normally be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information on behalf of TidBITS Publishing for the purpose of evaluating your use of our Web sites and compiling reports on Web site activity.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings in your browser; however, please note that if you do so, you may not be able to use all functions of our Web sites. You can also opt-out from Google’s storage of the data that is created by the cookie and the processing of such data by Google. To do so, download and install the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on.

For further information on Google Analytics, please refer to Google’s general privacy policy, how Google uses data from sites that use its services, and how Google safeguards the data it collects.

WordPress and Paid Memberships Pro

The WordPress content management system that we use for the TidBITS and TCN Web sites sets several cookies. If you visit our login page, we set a temporary cookie to determine whether your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for 2 days, and screen display cookies last for 1 year. If you select the “Remember Me” checkbox, your login will persist for 2 weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. WordPress provides more information about its cookies.

The Paid Memberships Pro plugin that we use to manage TidBITS memberships and TCN subscriptions uses cookies to track some of your activity, including logins, visits, and page views.

Discourse

The Discourse software we use for TidBITS Talk relies on cookies to provide the service. A full list of cookies used by Discourse is available, complete with what each cookie does and when it expires.

How to Disable Cookies

You can generally activate or deactivate the use of cookies through settings built into your Web browser. To learn more about how to control cookie settings, follow the links below for:

If you want to learn more about cookies or how to control, disable, or delete them, visit www.allaboutcookies.org for detailed guidance.

How We Store and Protect Your Data

We store your data on secure cloud-based servers run by other companies. Our TidBITS and TCN Web sites are hosted at ArcusTech. TidBITS Talk is hosted at Digital Ocean. SlackBITS is hosted by Slack. Payment information related to TidBITS memberships and TCN subscriptions is stored at Stripe. Refer to those companies’ privacy policies for how they protect access information that’s available to their support staff.

Our user databases, including those underlying TidBITS, TidBITS Talk, and TCN, can be accessed by only a few members of the TidBITS staff and are well protected against theft, tampering, and misuse (electronic or otherwise). These databases include account information and data surrounding article comments and TidBITS Talk posts.

Participating in discussions in our Discourse-based discussion system for article comments and TidBITS Talk may reveal information such as your name and email address, along with any other information you include in posts. This information could be collected by a third party. You should consider any discussion list to be a public forum and exercise caution in disclosing any personal information.

All communication with our Web sites is secured with HTTPS, which is currently industry best-practice against eavesdropping by third parties. Your passwords are stored using asymmetric encryption so they cannot be read by TidBITS staff members or anyone else.

Transfer of Data

Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to—and maintained on—servers located outside of your state, province, country, or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ from those of your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside the United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to the United States and process it there. Your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

TidBITS Publishing will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this privacy policy, and no transfer of your personal data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

How Long We Retain Your Data

The majority of the cookies we use are session cookies, which are deleted at the end of your session. Some cookies have a longer expiration time (see “Tracking and Cookie Data,” above).

If you register an account on any of our Web sites, we store the personal information you provide in your user profile indefinitely. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time. Similarly, if you leave a comment on an article or create a post on TidBITS Talk, it is retained indefinitely.

You may delete your account and your posts at any time, or ask us to do so. However, usage data such as Web logs may persist for an indefinite time, and payment data stored at Stripe may be retained longer in accordance with Stripe’s privacy policy (see above).

Data transferred to third-parties may be retained after account deletion.

Who We Share Your Data With

As previously noted, we share data with Google via Google Analytics for Web analytics, with Stripe for TidBITS membership and TCN subscription payments, and with Slack for operation of SlackBITS. See above for links to the Google Analytics, Stripe, and Slack privacy policies.

In addition, we send email via Amazon SES (a service of Amazon Web Services), which entails sending subscribers’ email addresses to Amazon temporarily for the purpose of delivering their subscriptions. Amazon asserts that Amazon SES does not store email addresses longer than is necessary to send a particular message. For more information about Amazon Web Services, read the AWS privacy notice.

We don’t share any other data with anyone.

When We Disclose Data

TidBITS Publishing may disclose your personal data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • Comply with a legal obligation
  • Protect and defend the rights or property of TidBITS Publishing
  • Prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with our services
  • Protect the personal safety of users of our services or the public
  • Protect against legal liability

Aggregate information (such as the total number of subscribers) may be discussed in TidBITS publications, used to promote TidBITS, or disclosed to sponsors.

Links to Other Sites

Our services contain links to many other sites that we don’t operate. If you click a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. If you are concerned about what those sites may do with your information, we advise you to review their privacy policies. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party sites or services.

The ads on the TidBITS site are hosted locally and contain no trackers, but some of them do link to the advertiser’s site.

Use by Minors

Our services are not directed to nor made to appeal to individuals of ages 13 and younger. We never knowingly collect or solicit information from any children 13 and under. Parents or guardians who believe that we hold information about their children aged 13 and under may contact TidBITS CEO Adam Engst to have it removed.

Your Data Protection Rights

If you have an account on this site or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

If you are a resident of the European Economic Area, you have the following data protection rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

  • If you wish to access, correct, update, or request deletion of your personal information, you can do so at any time by emailing TidBITS CEO Adam Engst.
  • You can object to the processing of your personal information, ask us to restrict the processing of your personal information, or request portability of your personal information. Again, you can exercise these rights by emailing TidBITS CEO Adam Engst.
  • You have the right to opt-out of email communications we send you at any time. You can exercise this right by clicking the Unsubscribe link in the email we send you.
  • If we have collected and are processing your personal information with your consent, you can withdraw your consent at any time. Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect the processing of your personal information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.
  • You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your personal information. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority.

We respond to all requests we receive from individuals wishing to exercise their data protection rights in accordance with applicable data protection laws.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may modify this privacy policy from time to time, and whenever we do, we will update the “last modified” date at the top of this page. If we believe the changes materially impact the privacy of your personal data, we will alert you via email and/or a prominent notice on our Web sites. We encourage you to review this privacy policy periodically for any changes.