IndieWebCamp Popup: Sensitive Data on Your Personal Website

June 26, 2021
Sat 11:00am - 1:00pm (America/Los_Angeles)
The meeting link will be shown 15 minutes before the event


Let's come together to discuss using our websites to host, post, share, and store sensitive data, including medical records, habit logs, personal media files, and private writing.

What are the use cases for posting sensitive data on your own website? What plumbing is needed to host and share sensitive data within (and outside) the IndieWeb? What even is "sensitive" data, anyway?

Topics and Pre-Event Reading

The wiki page for this event lists use cases and plumbing considerations related to sensitive data, private posts, access control, and more.

Please read and consider as much of that page as you can before the event, and don't hesitate to add any relevant ideas!

Session Facilitator: Maxwell Joslyn

What's an IndieWeb Popup?

Since the pause on in-person meetups, we've done online Indie Web Camps and Homebrew Website Clubs. We've also started having a new type of event called a popup: a single IWC session as a standalone event.

Until now, popups have been infrequent and irregular. However, for the next few months, we'll be trialing a monthly popup, usually on the last weekend of the month, with the topic to be announced the month before.


  • Chris Aldrich While reading this morning about an example of a commonplace book that was published privately and circulated by hand to friends who shared a similar context, it occurred to me that a similar pattern could be employed by people on their personal websites, which are otherwise most often distributed openly to the public. As an example, I’m publishing this note, along with the inspiring quote, to my own website to share with the IndieWeb community. To keep it somewhat private within the circle of friends and colleagues who share my IndieWeb context, I’ll post it with a required password, which is directly related to the context I share with them: “IndieWeb”. The correct CamelCase capitalization will add an additional level of a shibboleth to those who would join me here. Similarly one could use this idea to limit the share of information to those who have a specific shared context that would be easily guessed, or which could be pre-arranged, privately communicated, or even emailed. As further examples, one could share a post of family photos of a birthday celebration with the password “birthday”, or use the punchline of a shared in-joke as the password. Certainly this method isn’t immune to screen-capture or other methods of copied dissemination. It relies on the discretion of the individuals within the group and has a security-through-obscurity sort of privacy model. With any luck, hopefully the Webmention endpoint on the post will also work properly despite the password set up. In any case, I’ll give this a try and see what comes of it. Incidentally, if you haven’t already RSVP’d, you might be interested in attending IndieWebCamp Popup: Sensitive Data on Your Personal Website on June 26th. I’d invite you to join us. The following year [1907], a second volume of extracts from the manuscript commonplace book of one Colonel Charles Ellison Bates of the Bengal Staff Corps, was published posthumously by his sister under the title More leaves from the commonplace book of C.E.B. In its preface, Bates’ sister acknowledged that the volume was intended for “private circulation” and that the Colonel’s commonplace book “was made by him for the express purpose of being printed some day, as a companion volume to the one already issued and placed in the hands of his many kind and sympathizing friends.” Bates’s commonplace book, composed of prose and verse extracts from various sources, was published exclusively for the compiler’s own circle of friends and loved ones, both for their edification and entertainment, and ostensibly, as a memorial to his own reading, interests, and character. Similar personal and occasional commonplace books were printed throughout the twentieth century, often for private circulation, to celebrate friends, the Christmas or New Year holidays, or the career of a respected colleague. —Havens, Earle (2001). Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century (first ed.). Yale University. p. 61. Incidentally, I’ll note that the end of the quote sounds suspiciously like this pattern may have been a nascent historical origin or inspiration of the ideas of the zine as well as, within academic contexts, the origin of the often published festschrifts which are used to celebrate a researcher’s career.#commonplace-books #festschrifts #private-posts #shared-context #zines
  • Ton Zijlstra Cool! Use case I don’t know how2 phrase is ‘contextual access’ within a post. The _same_ post has less details for increasing social distance: a sentence like “Had a conversation with a colleague / initial / full name today at a restaurant / name of venue” depending on reader.
  • Chris Aldrich RSVP'd Yes to IndieWebCamp Popup: Sensitive Data on Your Personal Website Interested? Join us on 📅Sat., June 26 11:00am - 1:00pm Pacific… (…)
  • Martijn van der Ven Just realised the next IndieWeb Pop-Up event is going to be all about Sensitive Data on Your Personal Website. I have spoken about this at many occations and even informally during in-person IWCs. Questions always came up when people see me publishing a wide range of information on my site, from home address to phone numbers and gender/sexuality. Wondering what others think. How much do people take different risk factors into consideration? What more would people be willing to publish? I have been toying with the idea of my tax returns for a while now… Let’s chat!
  • Jeremy Felt Another IndieWeb PopUp event to look forward to! I’ve been playing with a mix of public and private content both on this site and over at the new digital garden. It will be fun to dive into that a bit more with others.