Security

This notice is about how our site relates to security issues. All is secure, this is only to document the situation. You do not need to read this unless you are interested in it.

Safe sites and HTTPS

This site does not collect any information from users, it is display only, and so does not require the use of encryption for your security (HTTPS protocol). It is safe to use although it does not display the padlock icon.

There is some confusion, caused by Google, that sites that do not use HTTPS (we use HTTP) and therefore do not display a green padlock are unsafe.

This is only true if the site is collecting information from you via a web form that you fill in. Shopping sites that want you to enter a credit card for example. You should never enter any personal information into a site unless it uses HTTPS protocol (the URL will start with HTTPS). To help you know if it is safe your browser displays a small green padlock icon next to the web address if it is safe. If it isn’t the padlock could be open and red, or you might have a globe icon instead (it depends on your browser).

  Example of padlock in Opera.

 Our site in Opera.

If the web site (or page) does not collect any information, like our site, then the padlock is irrelevant.

Google have unilaterally decided to try and enforce the use of encryption on all sites. They are planning initially to downrate sites without encryption, which means they will show lower down in search results. Later on they may even omit them completely from search results. This will not stop a web site from working, but might make it hard to find. Unfortunately, to use encryption requires a cost to purchase a security certificate, which has to be renewed each year.

For the time being we will continue to use HTTP, but our site is safe to use. The padlock is meaningless, as you cannot submit any information to us via your browser, since we do not have any web forms.

Cookies

The new GDPR regulations require consent for cookies. Unfortunately the people drafting the legislation do not understand how the web works and it is badly worded. The regulations say that permission must be given before cookies are stored. What they really mean is that permission must be given for cookies that contain personal information or are used for tracking.
Some sites use cookies to track your browsing history and sell this information to marketing agencies. This is what the legislation is aimed at. Unfortunately many web sites understand the web even less well than the legislators and they pop up confirmation dialogs where you have to give your permission to set cookies (every time you visit the home page) even though they do not set any tracking or personal information cookies.

We have tested our site for compliance and therefore do not need to ask for your permission because we do not set any cookies ourselves, (some cookies are required to make the internet work, these are not covered by the legislation and do not contain sensitive information). Since we are compliant, we are not going to introduce an annoying, unnecessary pop-up every time you visit the site.

Newsletter for June.

The June  newsletter is now available on the website and the May newsletter moved to last-month (see the menu item Newsletter).

We have now started our new year, with a new chairman.  If you have not paid your subscription (like me), then get it in as soon as possible and email Shiela to let her know you will be renewing.  There is always the danger of slipping to the back of the queue if there is a wait list and you haven’t paid by June 1st.