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WP SlimStat
[resolved] Possible to suppress cookies? (18 posts)

  1. kieronam
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    WP SlimStat has been really good - I'm really pleased with it and am using it on 6 websites.

    However for various reasons I would like to suppress the use of cookies by WP SlimStat - i.e. it should not set any cookies at all. This is possible, I suppose, by very heavy-handed methods like installing WP-DoNotTrack but I would much rather have a simple option in WP SlimStat

    In the meantime, I have commented out the two of lines in wp-slimstat.php which call the setcookie function. Is this all that is required to suppress cookies?

    Thanks for your help!

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-slimstat/

  2. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hi kieronam,

    Be advised that by disabling cookies, Wp SlimStat will not be able to track returning visitors and to detect "human" visitors correctly. Plus other tracking features will be affected.

    Just so you know, version 2.8.1 includes a new "anonymize" option which allows you to mask the ip addresses logged by this plugin.

    If this is not a problem for you, then yes, those two lines is pretty much all you need to comment out. An option will be added soon, thanks for pointing this out.

    Ps: a vote for my plugin would be a nice way to say thank you!

  3. kieronam
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks for getting back to me. I realise some of the functionality won't work without cookies, however there are some cases where the owner of the website would prefer to eliminate cookies (rather than place a warning on the site to comply with EU cookie regulations coming into force).

    I think a no-cookies option would be a good selling point - alternatives such as JetPack and Google Analytics don't give the user any option over the third-party cookies they set.

    I will certainly vote for the plugin, thanks.

  4. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    European privacy laws, in my honest opinion, are a joke: after years it's still unclear how to apply them, according to many online forums. Some people say it's enough to just mask the visitor's IP address to comply with these regulations, others say cookies need to be disabled and users must be able to choose if the want to opt-out. Also, what if my server is in India? Do those rules still apply to me? What if my visitors do not reside in the EU? Are they affected?

    All of this is just silly. Because for one site that complies with these rules, there's 100.000 who don't care and log all your activity without even warning you. Plus, according to some experts, most cookies don't even carry 'personal information' covered by the privacy regulations, like in WP SlimStat's case. They are just an identification code, and there's no way you can get the visitor's real name or his marital status or his street address from a cookie.

    Nevertheless, I'll be adding this feature in the near future, if people think this is going to be a selling point for my plugin.

    Cheers,
    Camu

  5. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

  6. johannes.b
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I must admit that I do not really know a lot about the new EU-cookie-law, but in my country (Germany) this isn't a national law yet and so I cannot be sued for not informing visitors about cookies. And, as long as I do not have to show a message to my visitors aking to allow or deny cookies, I won't do it because it appears very deterrent.
    Also, I do not think that the rules of the EU-cookie-law have to be included in SlimStat because there are plugins like Cookillian that allow to block all cookies on your page until the visitor allows or denies them.
    For me personally, an option to anonymize IPs would be more important because the German law sees them as personal data that must not be saved without a clear opt-in (and because that would be to deterrent as well, I suggest to give a checkbox on the options page of SlimStat that allows the Admin to choose if the IPs are saved or not).
    I'm really looking forward to the implementation of this because I like SlimStat very much, but unless this feature is included, it would be "illegal" to use and I have to use other plugins (believe my, they're all terrible ;-))

  7. kieronam
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Johannes, of course I'm not an expert in German law, but the same transposition deadline applies there. According to Eur-Lex the corresponding law in Germany came into force on 10th May 2012, i.e. 16 days before the UK law came into force... http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:72009L0136:EN:NOT#FIELD_DE

    There are plugins which block all cookies on your page if the user has opted out, but they're extremely scripty, quite a heavy-handed method. Some of them also use third-party scripts like Google APIs, throwing out the window any privacy advantage gained from blocking cookies! Much simpler and cleaner to remove the cookies in the first place, that's why I thought it should be a simple option in WP SlimStat.

    Also, many website owners are choosing to eliminate all cookies set by their website rather than alerting the visitor (not unreasonably - as you said yourself, it is likely to be a deterrent). No point installing plugins to block cookies when you can just remove the cookies in the first place.

  8. johannes.b
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Yes, the EU wanted the law to come on the 25th of May, but it didn't. But of course, the law is going to come here sooner or later. But because of this, I do not really know much about the law and other plugins against it. Of course, the opt-in-form isn't really nice, but I wouldn't know how to run my site the way it is now without cookies.

  9. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks for chiming in, Joannes. One thing you guys should consider are WordPress' built-in cookies, which cannot currently be disabled without a third-party plugin. How are you going to deal with this issue? I am more than happy to implement this feature, but you really believe all 12,000 active WordPress Plugins developers will do the same? Knocking at each developer's door and begging to add this functionality is just pointless, because short-sighted is this stupid law. EU Should think about recovering from this financial crisis, not killing online businesses by introducing cumbersome laws that go against the freedom of speech! Everybody was talking about SOPA when the problem was in the USA, how come nobody is talking about this insane initiative?

    Sorry for venting, but my point is that even if I add this option, WordPress will still generate its own cookies...

    Camu

  10. johannes.b
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hey camu,
    I absolutely agree with you, I thought exactly the same when reading this. I have not tried out a plugin like Cookilian yet and of course it will slow down your site, but as I already said, it's either impossible or at least I (and most other freetime- or semiprofessional webdesigners, I guess) wouldn't know how to run a plugin like WordPress without any cookies.
    I looked around on Google a little bit and it seems like there is a draft for a law in Germany, but it's not active yet (otherwise, I would have found thousands of german blog entries against the law ;)).
    I think that the protest against this stupid EU-rule isn't very popular because most "normal" web users do not even know what a cookie is or they do not care about it. Otherwise, webdesigners in the US and otherwhere outside the EU should be interested in this topic too because the law isn't only for people who run a site there, but it also affects you when your servers are e.g. in Canada. Any european citizen could sue you for not informing him about something that he does not care about anyway? Seriously?
    But I'm going away from our main topic :-D
    I think that the only solution for this are third-party-plugins. Maybe you can use the popup of those to explain why your site is slower now. And I'm sure that it's less deterrent when you use a nice layout and a cool text that appeals nice to the visitor.

    I think that the option for anonymizing IPs is something different, most of the other Analytics-Plugins allow this option and this problem cannot be solved with a third-party-plugin.

    Johannes

  11. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    I totally agree with you, Johannes, and that's why I already implemented that option in 2.8.1 :)

  12. kieronam
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    WordPress' own cookies can be disabled by commenting out three lines in wp-comments-post.php (except for the cookies set for registered users, which you wouldn't want to remove). And if your website has disabled comments anyway (which a few of mine have), then there isn't even any need to do that.

    I agree with you camu, it's quite difficult, and you have to be picky about which plugins you use. But it's not impossible - I'm now running several totally cookie-free WordPress sites. Switching from WordPress Stats to WP SlimStat is one of the changes I made to achieve that. And this is going to become more and more common now, as more people start complying with this law.

    The way the law has been implemented has been a bit of a mess, as lawmakers had no idea of the scale of the cultural change they were asking for. As a general rule, everyone hates change, and webmasters are no exception, so there is a lot of complaining going on. But I do think that website owners should be honest about cookies and tracking, and until now, many of them have taken it for granted that you don't have to be honest about them. So once we've got over the initial shock of the change this legislation will have a generally positive effect. Once we're through this, the next stage is to get websites to be honest about third-party scripts...

  13. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    True, but let's be honest, you cannot ask the average Joe Blogger to comment out some lines of code in WordPress... EVERY TIME THEY UPGRADE the CMS :) That's just insane...

  14. redaktionbp
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi there,

    with big interest I read this conversation.

    I'm also from Germany and, at least concerning the cookies, I have something in our impressum what perhaps helps to feel more save.
    http://business-personalities.com/impressum-datenschutz/

    At the end there's the link to the generator for correct law text. It's from a well known lawer!

    Maybe a little step closer with this...

    Camu, I didn't see the "anonymizer" in the SlimStat. Finally, I'm really sad about this, I removed SLIM Stat as I'm afraid to get a 'call to order'.

    If there's any solution I would love to install it again!!!

    By the way, do you have some text like "This offer is using Slim Stat...."
    Like Google Analytics (you can see the text also in a.m. link).

    ... this is really a nightmare with german + european law!! Really sorry for you, Camu!!

    Bye,
    Petra

  15. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    HI Petra,

    The option to anonymize IP addresses has been added to WP SlimStat a while ago. Also, starting with version 3.0 (out soon) add ons can be written and released to further manipulate tha data collected by SlimStat before it is stored in the database. I am working at the documentation right now and I'm hoping to have everything in place by the end of this week.

    So, long story short, this plugin is the only one able to offers multiple ways to comply with national laws regarding privacy and the like :)

    A vote for my plugin would be a nice way to say thank you
    Camu

  16. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    In other words, with version 3.0 you can implement an addon that displays a dialog to the visitor asking if they want to opt out. If they answer yes, the addon will set a cookie 'do not track me' for this user. If this cookie is present, the addon tells SlimStat to not assign a visit session to the user, via the corresponding hook :) Simple, huh?

    Or your addon can just disable those sessions tout-court!

    Camu

  17. redaktionbp
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hey Camu,

    WOW that's great! I'm really happy to re-install SlimStat.

    Great support!

    Have a good time,
    Petra

  18. camu
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    You're very welcome!

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