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A note about Addfreestats

UPDATE 2018: Addfreestats are withdrawing their services from June 2018. There are an awful lot of pages on this website to remove reference to them, the work is in progress. The following remains for the time being but they have indicated that in any case the links will fail and no records be kept.

Cookie Usage and Privacy

Cookies are small items of data stored by web sites you visit on your PC; they may be only for the one session of use or longer term; they may be required for site functionality to record the fact you have logged in etc, to note which pages you visit and how often; and to record site personalisation. The data may be restricted to be accessible only by the domain that set it, or more widely available. There is some concern regarding the use of cookies to profile web users for the purpose of targetting advertisements across web sites. This note explains the restricted use of cookies by this web site and more generally how you may control the use of cookies in your browser.

Note that many large websites use invisible and undeclared webtrackers (they do not store data on your computer) which will log many of your details to third parties. One major site has a "Details of our cookies" page with over 30 trackers, whilst one newspaper page had an incredible 90 plus trackers- on the one page, sharing your information with the world. If you are signed in to a social network site some of these trackers boast that they can (using javascript) pass your photo's, email addresses etc to the third parties. Without your knowledge. Cookies are important but you leak information in other ways too. Refusing third party cookies is a good start though.

As we cannot use server based scripts and have no access to server logs, we use the services of addfreestats to discover which pages on this site attract visitors. This site does NOT serve any advertisements nor do we accept paid for links nor accept funds from addfreestats.

The pages on this website contain links to Addfreestats, by means of an image at the bottom of the page and a javascript link. Either of these will send a HTTP header to addfreestats containing the information that is sent to ALL websites that serve you with information. This header contains information that is also stored on the server logs, to which we have no access.
Rechecking on 6th April 2012 showed that a cookie was sent to your PC by addfreestats by using this external image / script (with an expiry date of eleven years!!) which can only be accessed by the addfreestats servers. We have no control over the addfreestats servers, which are located in the USA. No pages on this website rely upon cookies and when visiting this site you may deny all cookies without reducing your experience of this site. Addfreestats seem to use the cookie to report the difference between repeat and new visitors.

The cookie set by addfreestats is in the format 842281x3240x50y and is set by They do not explain the content of the cookie but it looks to be a note of the site you have visited, the date you last visited and the visitor number for the date (eg you may be the 50th visitor) thereby making it a unique visitor number although the cookie itself contains no personal information, and is only readable by the addfreestats server. The cookie allows addfreestats to say you have visited the site previously and the number of days since your last visit.

Firefox browser users may find that the add-on Adblock Plus with the Easylist subscription will block addfreestats and many other cookies. A possibly better extension for several browsers is uBlock Origin.

In the Opera browser if you set cookies to "allow cookies only from the site I visit" (Tools, Preferences, Advanced, Cookies) it appears that third party tracking cookies such as addfreestats will not be set. In general if you refuse cookies and scripts you are fairly secure- but many web sites won't work. At least refuse third party cookies and third party scripts. Refuse third party frames if possible.

Read about how to manage and delete cookies on several browsers and O/S.
Additionally, your browser may offer more sophisticated controls, for example you may be able to set your browser to refuse third party cookies, or to tell it to ask you each time it is asked to set a cookie
addfreestats privacy policy

Read about The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

"Privacy groups, which pushed for greater regulation on cookies, want to see users able to give consent to every cookie presented to them." - users of the Opera browser should select Tools from the Menu bar, then select Preferences. Select the Advanced tab, then select Cookies and in the right column pane select "Ask me before accepting cookies" and the Opera browser will ask you before accepting each cookie. You can also use the Content- Manage Site Preferences controls (right click when on a page blank area) to accept cookies from particular domains, avoiding having to be asked each time.
Detailed notes about cookie use and information storage:

Addfreestats will use your browsers request for either the image or the javascript to record the page you looked at, the referrer (where you came from if it was a link), date, time, and your IP address at the time. Javascript may report on your OS, browser, screen resolution, language.
This information is used to identify which pages on this website are receiving visitors and need to be maintained. Visitor IP information is recorded by addfreestats but is only used by me to identify the country the visitor is from, useful for directing some content.

To maintain visitors privacy, the stats kept by addfreestats for this web site are not being made publicly available. No links on this site generate any revenue to the site owner.

Addfreestats state in their privacy policy:- Use of Information: AddFreeStats does not sell any collected information to third parties. Information is obtained solely for statistical purposes.

Sample of the data addfreestats collects from your web request (http header).

Your IP address is communicated to every server which sends content (a web page, image, javascript, media) to you and will be kept in a log on the server - it tells the packets of data from the server where they are wanted and ensures that you only see the data you request. You may be able to hide your real IP address by using a proxy, but many proxies still allow your real address to be read. Your ISP will probably record every web page your IP address visits (to meet legal requirements).

If you click a link to AddFreeStats they will send your computer another cookie. You will need to have javascript enabled to use their website. Otherwise you will see a blank page! If you have javascript turned off, this will not interfere with your enjoyment of THIS web site!

Use of addfreestats has done a major service to website visitors by alerting me that some pages I considered of no consequence were highly valued in the web community. I have been able to concentrate on the web pages that visitors clearly find valuable and spend no time on pages that are apparently of no use to anyone - and my most popular single page was a real surprise to me. I do appreciate the privacy concerns of visitors- and this site will function normally if you refuse all cookies and turn javascript off. A few pages have image content which you will miss with images off.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 are mandated by the EU and concern the storage of information on your PC including cookies and local storage by web sites.

The regulations state: "For the purposes of paragraph (2), consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or programme to signify consent."
The ICO has advised re third party cookies-
Some websites allow third parties to set cookies on a user's device. Obviously, the process of getting consent for these cookies is more complex and our view is that everyone has a part to play in making sure that the user is aware of what is being collected and by whom.
We would advise anyone whose website allows or uses third party cookies to make sure that they are doing everything they can to get the right information to users and that they are allowing users to make informed choices about what is stored on their device.
This may be the most challenging area in which to achieve compliance with the new rules and we are working with industry and other European data protection authorities to assist in addressing complexities and finding the right answers.

On 24th May 2011, the Department of Culture Media and Sport gave certain advices regarding consent-
The word "prior" does not occur in Article 5(3) of the Directive, and it therefore does not appear in the UK transposition. Crucially, there is no indication in the definition as to when that consent may be given, and so it is possible that consent may be given after or during processing.
It is the view of Government, reflected in the Information Commissioner's advice, that the regulation should therefore be understood to read that if a subscriber or user is able to signify consent through the amending or setting of a browser (assuming they are provided with appropriate information), they "may" also signify consent through choosing not to amend settings or controls of a browser.

The case is more complex than our lawmakers have considered and detailed guidance would appear to be some way off. This long note is to notify you of the use of cookies, the use they are put to, and how you can avoid them.
As we are contractually forbidden to amend the addfreestats scripts, cannot use server side scripting, and have no access to server side log files, if more detailed guidance when it comes is that having external links that set cookies on initial page loading is forbidden, then we will have to remove the addfreestats links and plod on without knowing if anyone visits our site or what pages interest them.

Happy to engage in dialogue on this issue.