New Post: Terms of Use

Think back to your last cellphone setup. One of the first things you do is accept a bunch of End User License Agreements. It begs the question, why do you need terms of use for a device you purchased?


Without Matomo Campaign Tracking:


I think this is too strong wording. There is nothing tracked about the user in that URL.

Maybe not (there’s low but not zero information content in the unnecessary part of the URL) but it’s the principle of the thing in a forum where freedom from surveillance is a significant theme! Why would you leave the crap in a URL???


Matomo is free software respecting the user. Out of principle I try to support such telemetry solutions, in order to push people to use them more instead of, e.g., Google Analytics.

Also, I don’t see how telling to Purism that you came to their website from this forum harms freedom or supports surveillance. It’s also transparent to the user: you see exactly what you tell them.

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Send your complaints to Matomo themselves then.

If you would rather prefer to do something about it yourself, read this guide I wrote a while back.

Use post #3 to start.


Because using surveillance to increase capital by monitoring the effectiveness of marketing is only bad when called surveillance capitalism not when called campaign tracking using free software.


That’s not entirely accurate. Due to the length of surveillance URLs, the user may only see a truncated version of the URL. For platforms that use touch rather than a mouse, the user may not see the URL at all.

Even ignoring all that, transparency only goes so far if the user does not have sufficient information. So if the URL contains   &campaign_id=123456   is that tracking an individual user or is that tracking a specific campaign? (Yes, this doesn’t apply to the above URL. It’s just an example.)

But still: why would the OP (who seems to be a serial offender) include the surveillance part of the URL?

I’m really hoping that you left the /s off your post. :wink:

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Isn’t the OP affiliated with Purism and maybe instructed to use such URLs? (Or maybe doing it out habit from a previous position?)

I despise tracking URLs, but I think it would be a significant improvement if orginizations (government, corporate, whatever) that currently use google analytics and/or whatever adobe supplies would use matomo instead. (However Purism is coming across as a bit two-faced.)


I don’t even know where the tracking is coming from. I get my news from Purism via RSS. The links in that feed don’t have tracking. If someone doesn’t beat me to it, I will then create a post in this forum to link to the blog post and hence the link in the forum will be without tracking.

I Pi-Hole Google Analytics so that shouldn’t be a problem.

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Here in your comment, ‘tracked’ is the fundamental problem.
I should even add: tracked behind your back, since nobody really checks thoroughly every URL.
In essence, this is more of an ethical issue than what information the URL contains or who gets it - whether it is matomo or mega-monopolies BigTech.


The problem is that both of us feel the need to do so in the first place because @david.hamner started including Matomo Campaign Tracking in new threads since June 23rd, 2022. If they are obligated to do so for reasons such as a job requirement, our best option is to post on the forum faster than they can, but we are always at a disadvantage because of variable availability and an on-demand response requirement.

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I think it has been previously suggested that blog post links ought to post automatically into the forum. That could be a two-edged sword though if said forum posts automatically included the surveillance part of the URL.

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You have the source code for Matomo, so everyone can find the answer. This is why I don’t think that the discussed tracking is a problem. It’s like with the source code for PureOS: almost nobody reads it, but it doesn’t mean that it becomes effectively proprietary.

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No way to know, Purism is not transparent in this way.

Would be nice if Purism would chime in in the thread they created to add some clarity, especially on this topic…

I wonder how long that will persist, the links from Purism in the forum didn’t used to either…

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Well, before the post was published:

There’s a similar story with including tracking refs in our blog post links placed within the forum. Users frequently provide a follow-up post with excess trimmed off.

We absolutely must avoid tracking links everywhere!

And after this thread was created:

@JCS Forum users are again reposting the links without including the Matomo campaign tracking, so I’m confused about our approach.
IMO, whatever approach we take regarding announcement URLs should be documented as official policy in [internal link]

I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus, but there are clearly some internal miscommunications and I am understandably not afforded answers any time I snap my fingers.


Ok, I guess I could more precisely say:

Historically and generally Purism is not transparent in this way…

I’m all for seeing a change in that behavior.


I agree with francois-techene. It’s a privacy focused company and therefore it’s also a thing about trust. How I could trust other services of Purism, if they use even URL-tracker? I could ask even further: how I could trust the code of PureOS?

In fact, I don’t think that they implemented something evil inside the code (and never found anything that “could be”), but that’s a logical thought when a “privacy focused company” is not 100% privacy focused.

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I would be happy if they just fixed the problem i.e. made it go away even if they don’t explain why this has recently been happening.

There are limitations to the use of source code for the purposes of transparency when it applies to a server. Sure, the server operator can tell you what source code they are using and, sure, you can go and read that source code in order to understand how the software is working but you cannot verify that the claimed source code is actually being used on the server.

In essence, claimed open source can be used to generate and publish a surveillance URL and claimed open source can be used to receive and interpret a surveillance URL but you have no way to verify with certainty whether the surveillance URL is a covert channel i.e. whether it is carrying information / what information it is carrying. (You can however make inferences about an upper bound on how much information it is carrying.)

If you can collect large numbers of surveillance URLs from a given context, you can start to make guesses but at the end of the day …

This is a problem that we don’t need to have.

“It’s the vibe of the thing.” :wink:

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How about creating a blog article explaining why Matomo Campaign Tracking is relevant to Purism’s Articles of Incorporation? I think this Specific Social Purpose is of particular interest:

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