Confessions and concerns about privacy nix sharing icons at IAS

This wood engraving dated May 3, 1917, by Winsor McCay, was published by the New York American Editorial Page. The theme addressed concerns about the Espionage Act passed in June, 2017. The engraving is part of the US Library of Congress Digital Collection.
This wood engraving dated May 3, 1917, by Winsor McCay, was published by the New York American Editorial Page. The theme addressed concerns about the Espionage Act passed in June, 2017. The engraving is part of the US Library of Congress Digital Collection.

I’ve long had concerns about privacy, sharing methods, and search histories on the Internet. While there have long been activists concerned about government spying, there are less concerns about Big Tech spying although in my opinion it’s widespread. Have you ever looked at the long URL that shows up in your browser if you follow a search result from a list returned by the biggest search engine on the Web?

Have you ever thought about data harvested when you ‘share’ an article via social media? If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should.

We shouldn’t assume all data collected is used for marketing purposes. As the tech sector’s relationships with governments around the world have blossomed, little is known about the end game. Even the Web titan Google left plenty of wiggle room after being caught red-handed attempting to appease one of the most brutal regimes in the world. Will the day come when you can’t get a mortgage or car loan because your “social credit” score is too low?

Concerns about spying are nothing new. You can see the cartoon posted with this article, via the US Library of Congress, addressed concerns about the  Espionage Act as much of the world began to march towards war in 1917.

These concerns, along with others, have led me to remove all the sharing icons from my website. I realized not long ago that, like many other indie bloggers, most of my traffic comes directly to my website. The website B2C researched sharing, and found this:

“As for our own findings in 2018, research showed us that 71% of shares were made through Copy & Paste, leaving the remaining 29% to Share Buttons.”

At present, Indie Art South doesn’t carry any affiliate advertising. This site doesn’t embed affiliate links in articles. We hope in time to earn enough revenue from our Arts Market to be able to continue to publish. In time, we may have to add a ‘tip’ option, but for now, we’re standing pat. I don’t share email addresses or personal info about readers with anyone.

I am a little overzealous when it comes to protecting privacy for everyone—the Fourth Amendment still technically stands although it isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. My concerns about privacy are one reason I never do those copy-and-paste messages on social media. Nor do I do quizzes. All those are designed to capture data.

Not long ago I began to work on this site and I realized every single ‘share’ count had disappeared from my social media. Hundreds of shares no longer showed to those visiting my site. That just made me more confident I was making a good decision.

Therefore, if you want to share articles from Indie Art South, please use the copy-and-paste technique long in use. The only icon below the article will be a print icon.

I’m doing this for what I think are good reasons. As a final caution, remember that everything you say, post, or participate in on social media establishes a trail.

I realize most website owners will continue to use sharing icons and plugins for the same. Then again, I rarely in my life opted to follow the crowd when it came to controversy, and that has served me well.

(Kay B. Day/August 27, 2019)

A Poetry Break full collection by Kay B. DayPlease visit our Arts Market and help Indie Art South continue to publish this website.

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