As a software developer and particularly a web developer it is my responsibility to set a good example and try to be a force for good.
As of today, none of my sites use Google Analytics anymore. The tipping point, aside from improving general web privacy, was that the NSA is supposedly hijacking the Google tracking data for their own purposes.
While I don’t really need any analytics, I do get curious as to what kind of traffic my websites are getting. So I instead stood up my own instance of Piwik. This is a self-hosted analytics solution. Now my websites simply report to another one of my systems when they’re accessed (instead of Google). And I know that my Piwik installation respects the “Do Not Track” setting you can use in your browser (I’ve tested it myself). Also, my Piwik analytics won’t track you all over the Internet.
I realize this may seem a little silly coming from a blog hosted on Google’s servers via Blogger, but I’m also working on that. I’m looking into using Habari and migrating this blog to be self-hosted as well. Given that Blogger seems to be a dead product in Google’s eyes (little to no updates or changes in many, many months), it’s probably better to get off it anyway as it may get shut down at some point. However, I’ll probably wait a few months until the more stabilized Habari 1.0 release is finished. Such a move will probably coincide with standing up a family cloud using ArkOS and OwnCloud.
It’s not that I’m particularly paranoid, but the various pieces of software are reaching a point where for someone like me, it’s not particularly difficult or burdensome to self-host things. So I might as well do it and encourage an Internet model closer to its original design: interacting, decentralized systems. A model which is harder for any one organization (government or otherwise) to infiltrate, break, or commandeer.