I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile. It wasn’t a large change, but in principle it was a huge step in the right direction. Today I removed Google Analytics from my blog, and many people might wonder Why. There’s a few main reasons which all ultimiately come down to the idea of I want to see privacy as a foundational aspect of the internet we use, and I wanted to lead by example.
For one, Google Analytics, is an invasive tracker that persists like a tentacle entwined throughout the entire web. It’s unneccessary in most cases for most sites, and in many others just helps Google to build large behavioral profiles on people. It’s not like the website owners get access to this data, so at least the data isn’t being shared with disregard. However, the information that is shared shows just how much Google knows about us and the types of profiles they build about us “Users” aka “the product”.
For example, in the past almost 2 years, I’ve had people visit my site from Google or directly most of the time.
Other times, it was accessed by way of third party site like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram because I had the link provided on my profiles there. The question is, why does Google need to know that people are going from my Twitter profile to my blog? The only real answer is so they can take that data, feed it back into a giant profile they have on your web usage, and use that to find a way to get you to click ads more often. It’s unnecessary.
Here’s another example of how they track unnecessary data and provide it to website owners.
According to the same stats, I had over 1000 people visit my site and of those people they were able to identify the Gender of 196 people. To me that’s an amusing yet uninteresting statistic. Quite frankly I don’t care the Gender of who reads my blog. I’m just happy that you took some time to poke around.
Here’s the real gold mine though.
Using the data that they gather with their tentacles across the web to analyze and share macro analytic profile of vistors to my website they’re able to provide website owners with the assumed profiles of users. Turns out my website is doing a good job at what it’s intended. 5.69% of visitors are here regarding employment. I don’t care if people who want to employ me visit my site though. I care if they offer me a job. Furthermore, I don’t believe that people should be constrained to this notion of data profiles where I am what I view. I am more than a data profile that sees me as a software engineer, interested in technology, and occassionally listens to Taylor Swift. I think, I feel, and I am human. I am more than my data profile and believe each and everyone of us is. These are not full stories of the people who exist on the Web. They’re hollow shells of “users” so we can turn them into “the product”.
So while all of these fancy analytics can provide data, the data in most cases is useless for me because I’m not trying to sell anything. This site is about putting some thoughts into the world and letting people read it at their leasure in the privacy they choose.
I vehemently oppose this idea that users want to be surveiled everywhere they go in the world and on the web, and so for that reason I’m no longer including this on my website. Furthermore, I continue to find ways in my life to boycott the tracking of our digital lives and soon to be physical lives (yeah I’m looking at you Sidewalk Labs) and want to see a world where people can use technology privately each and everyday. And that’s why I removed Google Analytics from my website.