Privacy on iFriends

Does iFriends sell or trade my personal information to other companies or websites? (view answer)
No. iFriends is occasionally contacted by third parties who, for marketing purposes, want to purchase our mailing list and other sensitive customer information derived from our database of more than two million customer accounts. Although there is no law forbidding iFriends from selling such information, the trading of which is an extremely lucrative business (well over a million dollars per year in potential revenue to iFriends), iFriends is serious in its commitment to protecting your personal privacy. We have never sold such personal information about our customers to outside parties -- not even once -- and we don't intend to.
What kind of information does iFriends collect about me? (view answer)
As a general rule, iFriends collects only three kinds of information about you: (1) information that you voluntarily provide to us or authorize, such as your name, address, credit-card and other account information as submitted on the iFriends Membership Submission Form, (2) "Log information" about the areas of iFriends that you visit, that are accessible from the general internet environment, and (3) private correspondence, such as the contents of e-mail messages you exchange with iFriends.
Can the fact that I am a iFriends customer or visitor get into some database somewhere, such that other parties could find out? (view answer)
Sadly, this possibility exists, in both the online and offline worlds, for every company you do business with, even if the company itself follows iFriends' self-imposed practice of not selling or trading your personal information. For example, every credit-card transaction you engage in, from online web sites to the corner gas station, is stored in databases outside of your control, and outside of the control of merchants like iFriends.

In the online world, one type of important "transaction" that you engage in is when you click a link from one website to another. When you do so, both the original and destination websites have the opportunity to log the identification of both sitenames. For example, if you use a search engine such as Yahoo! to find books about Harry Potter, and click a link to an online book store such as, both Yahoo! and may record the fact that you left Yahoo to visit Amazon, and in particular, record the area of Yahoo! you were in when you clicked the link. (In this example, Amazon may record an address such as "" in its database, an address which reflects your preferences in books). In other words, whenever you click on a link from another site to go to iFriends, the originating site may record the fact that you visited iFriends.

Another important issue to understand is that when you visit iFriends, your internet connection travels through several "hops", and at each such "hop", any company, individual, or government agency with access to the hop has the opportunity to record the information that passes back and forth between you and iFriends. For example, if you surf iFriends while at work, your employer's computer network is typically the "first hop". Your employer may log the identity of every web site you visit, including iFriends. Similarly, if you surf iFriends or any other website while using America Online, AOL has an opportunity to log the identity of each website you visit, including iFriends.

At the end of the day, your only protection against "middlemen" logging your information is industry self-regulation and government regulation that either forbids or regulates the practice.
What about encryption? Can't you use a "secure server" and therefore prevent everyone in the middle from "listening in"? (view answer)
While encryption will indeed "scramble" the transmission between your internet browser and iFriends, the address of the web pages themselves, as they appear in a company's server logs, are not encrypted. Think of it this way: If you use an ordinary telephone line to call a friend, and both you and the friend speak in a special code language unintelligible to others, you have succeeded in "encrypting" your call. However, the information in the telephone company's logs, i.e., the fact that "555-162-1161" called "555-162-6232" at 2:05pm on Sunday, July 9, is *not* encrypted. Web server logs work the same way. Therefore, even if the communication is encrypted, the name "" could still appear in the server logs of a website that you leave to visit iFriends.

Whenever you transmit sensitive, personally-identifiable information to us, such as your credit-card information, the transmission is completely encrypted by our secure servers.
Does iFriends outsource to other companies any privacy-sensitive functions such as management of its customer email system, web hosting, bulletin-board, or its e-commerce platform? (view answer)
Because iFriends is committed to safeguarding the integrity of your personal information, we have elected to not use such services, despite the fact that they are reasonably-priced and vastly simplify the management challenge of running a large and complex website operation.
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