Kathy L. McFarland
We value the visitors to our website, and make all of our Bible Teachings accessible to unregistered guests. We also have created places within our sites that registered students can receive additional resources; for instance, those enrolled in Moodle classes are able to take tests online and keep a record of their progress; this is only possible through registration.
We place the highest importance on respecting and protecting the privacy of our students and unregistered guests. We hope that you feel comfortable and confident in the security of our site.
We do our best to protect your personal information by limiting the access of your personally identifying information to trusted employees. These employees have been trained on industry-recognized safety and security issues to prevent loss, misuse, or unauthorized alteration of your data. Our employees are required to safeguard your information and are restricted to that information for business purposes only.
Because the nature of our ministry reflects Christ, there are numerous and serious threats to our lives and our livelihood that are used against us to stop our teachings. As a result, we have implemented a paid web statistics tracking application through statcounter.com that provides us with numerous statistics of each person that visits our site. These stats include a summary of hourly usage, popular pages, entry pages, exit pages, website where the viewer came from, keyword analysis, recent keyword activity, recent came from stats, search engine directs, exit links, exit link activity, download activity, visitor paths, visit length, returning visits, recent page load activity, recent visitor activity, a map of general vicinity of their servers, and the IP address of users. When viable, wicked, and aggressive threats are made against us that warrant Law Enforcement attention we gather the data and history of the threatening user, and turn it over to authorities for their investigation and prosecution as necessary. However, police involvement is seldom necessary; once the aggressor recognizes our ability to see the origin of their computer activity, the threats usually cease.
For the majority of our students and non-registered users, Statcounter statistics are used usually by our administration to evaluate current needs for ministry in the Internet world, the status of our newest teachings published, and a review of the most commonly searched topics so our teachers can plan their own lessons accordingly. We do not keep accumulative records of our visitors under normal circumstances and have limited Statcounter to keep only the amount of records that are normally accumulated on a daily basis. Almost daily the stats change (dependent upon amount of use), and the previous user information inaccessible by us from that point of removal.
We also have Google Analytics on each of our pages which operates exactly as Statcounter, but aggregates the information we receive into “bigger picture” scenarios. This information is useful to analyze our place on the Internet and compare it with historical information as well as other ministries that do business on the Internet. While we are unable to physically locate an individual user by this aggregate information, Google has the eyes to pinpoint and identify everything, through their searches, browser uses, and analytical statistics. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple (among many other corporations) have been subpoenaed in the past by government agencies to see the activity of specific users, and they are able to provide that information on a case-by-case basis as necessary according to the laws of the land their business has existed. Users of the Internet must recognize that someone is able to follow their every move. But, we can assure you that we are not able to do this with the use of Google Analytics, or any other statistics program.
We do not mine our users data to sell to other parties, or profit from sell of any material gathered by statistics on our site. Frankly, we do a really good job of protecting the privacy of users of our site from our end of the Internet. However, we cannot guarantee that other entities, especially the major corporations on the Internet, keep user information safe. You should refer to the corporation’s privacy pages to see how they use the information gathered on you before you are sent to our website.
We are also monitored by many official government agencies, and we assume all Internet ministry websites receive the same detailed looks. We cannot protect our users’ identities from government entities with sophisticated equipment that have abilities to see, that we can only begin to imagine. Because our ministry website is fully above board in our teachings, we do not fear official monitors; however, if you have need to maintain your identity from the association with things of Christianity, it would be prudent to avoid our site.
Our websites are children-friendly with the materials of Christian Bible Studies that we present. We do not actively gather children’s’ user information. When a child writes to us, our policy is to attempt to have the permission of a responsible adult before correspondence continues; this is done by encouraging the child to have the parent email us with permission to talk to the child. However, there are some life-threatening, serious abuse issues that sometimes (but very rarely) come to our attention through a child’s email. These cases are taken very seriously, and handled on an individual basis with the proper authorities and experts made aware of these troubles with their advice sought in how to proceed.
There are computer applications that can limit the information developed by statistic software; some work better than others but none fully hide users. Every Internet user must assume that all of their information is viewable at all times. Becker Bible Studies administration, teachers, and employees protect your privacy well; sadly, by the time it reaches us, there are many entities already looking at your activity; and that type of monitoring is completely out of the control of us. There is nothing, in our opinion, that can hide users information from gatherers of the data and we recommend that the users of our site do so with that foreknowledge.