Pi Searcher Privacy

The Pi Searcher keeps two different logs:

The pi searcher does not record information linking queries to particular IP addresses, it has no notion of usernames, and does not use cookies to track users. We don't know who you are and we don't want to know, so don't do silly things like typing in your name into the search box, mmkay?

The Pi searcher has Google Adsense-based ads displayed on the site. Google may record your IP address, but the Pi searcher does not send your query string to Google unless you've done something funky and included the search string in the URL. By default, searches on the Pi searcher use the POST method, which does not include the search string in the URL. The Pi searcher also uses Google Analytics to track visit statistics. Both of these services use cookies to track users and visits. We may also include, from time to time, "web bugs" for research. These are used purely to determine where traffic is coming from, and contain no cookies or personally identifiable information, or any information that links to a search query.

As of an update in 2004 or 2005, the Pi Searcher also does not and will not record the query strings for any non-numeric queries. So, if you type in "Hi, my name is Doofus McHenry and my social security number is 555-55-5555", it won't be logged. You may still deserve to be beaten with a clue stick about computer security practices, but we're not going to do it for you.

It would be exceedingly difficult to link information typed into the Pi searcher with a particular person, and we will never do so, nor will we disclose the entire contents of the pi query log to others unless it is legally necessary or necessary for the operation or security of our servers. What we will disclose include:

Okay so: We're not going to mine the data for your social security number or phone number even if we could, which would be a bloody pain. HOWEVER, we strongly recommend against typing in sensitive data like your social security number to ANY site, including the Pi Searcher! You have no reason to trust us, and there could be other ways that bad guys could get at data you type in (e.g., our ISP could get hacked, there could be a sniffer on your network, we don't use SSL to encrypt communication between our web server and your web browser, etc.) Exercise common sense and practice safe computing. (And use Firefox and stop clicking on executable email attachments, for goodness's sake!)