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Privacy and Security
Q: How do you use my personal information?

A: There are several types of information about you that are available to a web server when you visit a site hosted by that server.

Information What we do with it
Your browser type We collect this to see what types of browsers we should be designing for, but we don't associate it with you individually.
Your network address We collect this to see where our customers and potential customers are located, but we don't associate it with you individually.
Personal information available from your browser This usually isn't available, but we don't look at it even if it is.
Your email address We have your email address when you provide it during order checkout. We use it to send a receipt via email and possibly follow up on your order. We'll also keep it on file and may use it to provide you with information about new products or promotions unless you ask us not to. We won't share it with anyone else.
Your name, address, telephone number We use these to follow up on your order, and we keep them in our files along with your order. We also add you to our mailing list for future product announcements.
Which pages you visit We track the "hit rate" for each page on our site (everybody does) but we don't associate the data with you individually. We use the data in summary form only, giving us the popularity of each page.
What you search for This too is commonly collected information. We use the data to determine what visitors are looking for, what isn't being found, and what the difficulties are in using the search page. We do not associate this data with you individually.
Cookies! We do use cookies, but it's certainly not to gain any information about you, other than to associate you with your shopping cart.
Q: Can you tell me more about cookies?

A: Cookies are small files that web sites can leave on your computer. You can set most browsers to unquestioningly accept, accept with confirmation, or reject requests to store cookies. For more about cookies, see the helpful information provided by Microsoft (including how to set your browser) or the more technical information from Netscape.

Warning If you have items in your shopping cart but you have cookies turned off in your browser, then going to a web page outside this catalog (such as the Microsoft and Netscape links just above) means that when you come back to our catalog, we may not know that you've been here before and that you have items in your basket.

One note: Some places on the web you can read:


If you visit a site that features a "shopping cart" of items you wish to purchase, a cookie can keep track of what you put in the cart. If you need to leave and come back later, your shopping cart should be as you left it. This keeps you from having to start over on the page.

Well, that may be true for some shopping cart systems, but not ours. We keep the list of items in your cart on our server and use the cookie only to associate you with that cart.
Q: If I give you my credit card over the internet, how safe am I?

A: When we are dealing with your credit card information, we use a secure site that uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol created by Netscape Communications Corporation for authentication and encryption over TCP/IP networks, including the Web). This assures that your credit card number is encrypted to protect it from prying eyes as it flies across the internet.

Q: How secure is the encryption used by SSL?

A: SSL uses public-key encryption to exchange a session key between the client and server; this session key is used to encrypt the http transaction (both request and response). Each transaction uses a different session key so that if someone manages to decrypt a transaction, that does not mean that they've found the server's secret key; if they want to decrypt another transaction, they'll need to spend as much time and effort on the second transaction as they did on the first.

Servers and browsers do encryption using either a 40-bit secret key or a 128-bit secret key. Many people feel that using a 40-bit key is insecure because it's vulnerable to a "brute force" attack (trying each of the 2^40 possible keys until you find the one that decrypts the message). Using a 128-bit key eliminates this problem because there are 2^128 instead of 2^40 possible keys.

Q: How can I tell if this is all working?

A: Examine the browser status indication, and if you see an indication that this transaction is secure, (the indicator varies between browsers), you can be assured that your vital information is securely encrypted as it flies over the Internet.

Q: But I looked at your certificate and it's not you!

A: As is sometimes the practice, we use the certificate of our hosting site, American Data Technology, Inc. in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, US. If you would like to learn more about American Data Technology, you can visit their web site.

Q: How can I learn more about security?

A: Reference the WWW Security FAQ.