Privacy policy/2018 update

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Other than the changes below, the privacy policy does not change (or the changes are very minor, for example capitalization or acronym expansion).

Key[edit]

  • Text has been added
  • Text has been removed
  • Text has been moved, but is otherwise unchanged

Section changes[edit]

Section changes
Old TOC New TOC
Contents
  1. Introduction
    1. Welcome!
      1. Definitions
      2. What This Privacy Policy Does & Doesn't Cover
  2. Use of info
    1. Types of Information We Receive From You, How We Get It, & How We Use It
      1. Your Public Contributions
      2. Account Information & Registration
      3. Information Related to Your Use of the Wikimedia Sites
        1. Information We Receive Automatically
        2. Information We Collect
        3. Emails
        4. Surveys & Feedback
        5. Location Information
          1. GPS & Other Location Technologies
          2. Metadata
          3. IP Addresses
  3. Sharing
    1. When May We Share Your Information?
      1. With Your Permission
      2. For Legal Reasons
      3. If the Organization is Transferred (Really Unlikely!)
      4. To Protect You, Ourselves & Others
      5. To Our Service Providers
      6. To Understand & Experiment
      7. Because You Made It Public
  4. Protection
    1. How Do We Protect Your Data?
    2. How Long Do We Keep Your Data?
  5. Important info
    1. Where is the Foundation & What Does That Mean for Me?
    2. Our Response to Do Not Track (DNT) signals
    3. Changes to This Privacy Policy
    4. Contact Us
    5. Thank You!
  1. Introduction
    1. Welcome!
      1. Definitions
      2. What This Privacy Policy Does & Doesn't Cover
  2. Collection & Use of Info
    1. Types of Information We Receive From You & How We Get It
      1. Your Public Contributions
      2. Account Information & Registration
      3. Location Information
        1. GPS & Other Location Technologies
        2. Metadata
        3. IP Addresses
    2. Information Related to Your Use of the Wikimedia Sites
      1. Information We Receive Automatically
      2. Information We Collect
    3. How We Use Information We Receive From You
    4. Other
      1. GPS & Other Location Technologies
      2. Metadata
      3. IP Addresses
  3. Sharing
    1. When May We Share Your Information?
      1. With Your Permission
      2. For Legal Reasons
      3. If the Organization is Transferred (Really Unlikely!)
      4. To Protect You, Ourselves & Others
      5. To Our Service Providers
      6. To Understand & Experiment
      7. Because You Made It Public
  4. Protection
    1. How Do We Protect Your Data?
    2. How Long Do We Keep Your Data?
  5. Important info
    1. Where is the Foundation & What Does That Mean for Me?
    2. Our Response to Do Not Track (DNT) signals
    3. Changes to This Privacy Policy
    4. Contact Us
    5. Thank You!

Introduction[edit]

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We believe that you shouldn't have to provide personal information to participate in the free knowledge movement. You do not have to provide things like your real name, address, or date of birth to sign up for a standard account or contribute content to the Wikimedia Sites.

We do not sell or rent your nonpublic information, nor do we give it to others to sell you anything. We use it to figure out how to make the Wikimedia Sites more engaging and accessible, to see which ideas work, and to make learning and contributing more fun. Put simply: we use this information to make the Wikimedia Sites better for you.

We believe that you shouldn't have to provide nonpublic personal information to participate in the free knowledge movement. You do not have to provide things like your real name, address, or date of birth to sign up for a standard account or contribute content to the Wikimedia Sites.

We do not sell or rent your Personal Information, nor do we give it to others to sell you anything. We use it to figure out how to make the Wikimedia Sites more engaging and accessible, to see which ideas work, and to make learning and contributing more fun. Put simply: we use this information to make the Wikimedia Sites better for you.

We recognize that only a minority of you are familiar with technical terms like “tracking pixels” and “cookies” used in the Privacy Policy. Whether you are brand new to privacy terminology or you are an expert who just wants a refresher, you might find our Glossary of Key Terms helpful.

Collection & Use of Info[edit]

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Use of info

Types of Information We Receive From You, How We Get It, & How We Use It

Collection & Use of Info

Types of Information We Receive From You & How We Get It

The Wikimedia Sites were primarily created to help you share your knowledge with the world, and we share your contributions because you have asked us to do so. Publicly Visible Information
You should be aware that specific data made public by you or aggregated data that is made public by us can be used by anyone for analysis and to infer information about users, such as which country a user is from, political affiliation, and gender. You should be aware that specific data made public by you or aggregated data that is made public by us can be used by anyone for analysis and to infer further information, such as which country a user is from, political affiliation and gender.
If you want to create a standard account, in most cases we require only a username and a password. Your username will be publicly visible, so please be careful about using your real name as your username. Your password is only used to verify that the account is yours. Your IP address is also automatically submitted to us, and we record it temporarily to help prevent abuse. No other personal information is required: no name, no email address, no date of birth, no credit card information.

Once created, user accounts cannot be removed entirely (although you can usually hide the information on your user page if you choose to). This is because your public contributions must be associated with their author (you!). So make sure you pick a name that you will be comfortable with for years to come.

To gain a better understanding of the demographics of our users, to localize our services, and to learn how we can improve our services, we may ask you for more demographic information, such as gender or age, about yourself. We will tell you if such information is intended to be public or private, so that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to provide us with that information. Providing such information is always completely optional. If you don't want to, you don't have to—it's as simple as that.

If you want to create a standard account, in most cases we require only a username and a password.

Your username will be publicly visible, so please be careful about using your real name as your username. Your password is only used to verify that the account is yours. Your IP address is also automatically submitted to us, and we record it temporarily to help prevent abuse. No other personal information is required: no name, no email address, no date of birth, no credit card information.

Once created, user accounts cannot be removed entirely (although you can usually hide the information on your user page if you choose to). This is because your public contributions must be associated with their author (you!). In some circumstances, the Wikimedia communities can assist users with removing additional information related to their account from the projects.

To gain a better understanding of the demographics of our users, to localize our services and to learn how we can improve our services, we may ask you for more demographic information, such as gender or age, about yourself. We will tell you if such information is intended to be public or private, so that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to provide us with that information. Providing such information is always completely optional. If you don't want to, you don't have to—it's as simple as that.

Sometimes, we automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you want to upload a photo on the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, we may receive metadata, such as the place and time you took the photo, automatically from your device. Please be aware that, unlike location information collected using GPS signals described above, the default setting on your mobile device typically includes the metadata in your photo or video upload to the Wikimedia Sites. If you do not want metadata sent to us and made public at the time of your upload, please change your settings on your device.
Finally, when you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device (or your proxy server) you are using to access the Internet, which could be used to infer your geographical location.
We may use common technologies to collect information about how you use Wikimedia Sites.

We use this information to enhance your user experience and to develop new features.

We use certain technologies to collect information about how you use Wikimedia Sites.
Like other websites, we receive some information about you automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites. This information helps us administer the Wikimedia Sites and enhance your user experience. Like other websites, we receive some information about you automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites.

We also use a variety of commonly-used technologies, like cookies, to collect information regarding how you use the Wikimedia Sites, make our services safer and easier to use, and to help create a better and more customizable experience for you.

Like other websites, we receive some information about you automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites. This information helps us administer the Wikimedia Sites and enhance your user experience.

Because of how browsers work and similar to other major websites, we receive some information automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites. This information includes the type of device you are using (possibly including unique device identification numbers, for some beta versions of our mobile applications), the type and version of your browser, your browser's language preference, the type and version of your device's operating system, in some cases the name of your internet service provider or mobile carrier, the website that referred you to the Wikimedia Sites, which pages you request and visit, and the date and time of each request you make to the Wikimedia Sites.

Because of how browsers work, we receive some information automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites. This information includes the type of device you are using (possibly including unique device identification numbers, for some beta versions of our mobile applications), the type and version of your browser, your browser's language preference, the type and version of your device's operating system, in some cases the name of your internet service provider or mobile carrier, the website that referred you to the Wikimedia Sites, which pages you request and visit, and the date and time of each request you make to the Wikimedia Sites.
We use a variety of commonly-used technologies, like cookies, to understand how you use the Wikimedia Sites, make our services safer and easier to use, and to help create a better and more personalized experience for you. We use a variety of commonly-used technologies, like cookies, to understand how you use the Wikimedia Sites, make our services safer and easier to use, and to help create a better and more customizable experience for you.
Locally stored data, JavaScript, and tracking pixels help us do things like:

Provide you with a personalized experience, such as using cookies to know your language preference, to remember the user preferences you set so we can provide you with the customized look and feel that you want, and to tell you about interesting Wikimedia issues and events in your area.

Deliver more relevant content to you faster. For example, we may use local storage to store your most recently read articles directly on your device, so they can be retrieved quickly. Also, we may use cookies to learn about the topics searched so that we can optimize the search results we deliver to you.

Locally stored data, JavaScript, and tracking pixels help us do things like:

Provide you with a customizable experience, such as using cookies to know your language preference, to remember the user preferences you set so we can provide you with the customized look and feel that you want, and to tell you about interesting Wikimedia issues and events in your area.

Deliver more relevant content to you faster. For example, we use local storage to store your most recently read articles directly on your device, so they can be retrieved quickly. Also, we use cookies to learn about the topics searched so that we can optimize the search results we deliver to you.

We believe this data collection helps improve your user experience, but you may remove or disable some or all locally stored data through your browser settings, depending on your browser. You can learn more about some options you have in our FAQ. While locally stored data may not be necessary to use our sites, some features may not function properly if you disable locally stored data.

While the examples above concerning information about you collected through the use of data collection tools are kept confidential in accordance with this Policy, please note that some information about the actions taken by your username is made publicly available through public logs alongside actions taken by other users. For example, a public log may include the date your account was created on a Wikimedia Site along with the dates that other accounts were created on a Wikimedia Site. Information available through public logs will not include personal information about you.

We believe this data collection helps improve your user experience, but you may remove or disable some or all locally stored data through your browser settings, depending on your browser. You can learn more about some options you have in our FAQ. While locally stored data may not be necessary to use our sites, some features will not function properly if you disable locally stored data.

While the examples above concerning information about you collected through the use of data collection tools are kept confidential in accordance with this Policy, please note that some information about the actions taken by your username is made publicly available through public logs alongside actions taken by other users. For example, a public log may include the date your account was created on a Wikimedia Site along with the dates that other accounts were created on a Wikimedia Site.

Emails

If you choose to provide your email address, we will keep it confidential, except as provided in this Policy.

We may occasionally send you emails about important information.

You may choose to opt out of certain kinds of notifications.

You have the option of providing an email address at the time of registration or in later interactions with the Wikimedia Sites. If you do so, your email address is kept confidential, except as provided in this Policy. We do not sell, rent, or use your email address to advertise third-party products or services to you.

We use your email address to let you know about things that are happening with the Foundation, the Wikimedia Sites, or the Wikimedia movement, such as telling you important information about your account, letting you know if something is changing about the Wikimedia Sites or policies, and alerting you when there has been a change to an article that you have decided to follow. Please note that if you email us, we may keep your message, email address, and any other information you provide us, so that we can process and respond to your request.

You can choose to limit some of these kinds of notifications, like those alerting you if an article changes. Others, such as those containing critical information that all users need to know to participate successfully in the Wikimedia Sites, you may not be able to opt out of. You can manage what kinds of notifications you receive and how often you receive them by going to your Notifications Preferences. You can learn more about email and notifications and how to change your preferences in our FAQ.

We will never ask for your password by email (but may send you a temporary password via email if you have requested a password reset). If you ever receive such an email, please let us know by sending it to privacy@wikimedia.org, so we can investigate the source of the email.

Direct communications between users (such as messages sent through the "Email this user" feature), to the extent such communications are nonpublic and stored in or in transit through Wikimedia Foundation systems, are kept confidential by us, except as provided in this Policy.

New section: How We Use Information We Receive From You[1]
Surveys & Feedback

We may ask you to provide us with information through a survey or provide feedback, but you will never be obligated to participate.

Participating in optional surveys or providing feedback helps us make the Wikimedia Sites better. Because every survey and request for feedback may be used for various purposes, we will tell you, at the time we give you the survey or request for feedback, how we plan on using your answers and any personal information you provide. If you don't feel comfortable with how we plan on using the survey or feedback results, you are not obligated to take the survey or give feedback.

Sending optional surveys and requesting feedback.

We will always tell you, at the time we give you an opportunity to share your thoughts, how we plan on using your answers and any personal information you provide.

Your responses to our surveys and feedback requests are always optional. We will email these types of requests to you only with your consent. You can manage what kinds of notifications you receive and how often you receive them by going to your Notifications Preferences. You can learn more about email and notifications and how to change your preferences in our FAQ.

If you consent, we can use commonly-used location technologies to show you more relevant content.

Some features we offer work better if we know what area you are in. But it's completely up to you whether or not you want us to use geolocation tools to make some features available to you. If you consent, we can use GPS (and other technologies commonly used to determine location) to show you more relevant content. We keep information obtained by these technologies confidential, except as provided in this Policy. You can learn more by checking out the list of examples of how we use these technologies in our FAQ.

As stated above, we can use commonly-used location technologies to show you more relevant content. For example, our mobile apps can identify articles from the Wikimedia sites about points of interest near your location. As a reminder, you can deactivate our access to these location technologies at any time, and still use the Wikimedia Sites.
We may automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you upload a photo using the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, please be aware that the default setting on your mobile device typically results in the metadata associated with your photo being included in the upload.

Sometimes, we may automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you want to upload a photo on the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, we may receive metadata, such as the place and time you took the photo, automatically from your device. Please be aware that, unlike location information collected using GPS signals described above, the default setting on your mobile device typically includes the metadata in your photo or video upload to the Wikimedia Sites. If you do not want metadata sent to us and made public at the time of your upload, please change your settings on your device.

As stated above, we may automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you upload a photo using the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, please be aware that the default setting on your mobile device typically results in the metadata associated with your photo being included in the upload. As a reminder, if you do not want metadata sent to us and made public at the time of your upload, please change your settings on your device.
When you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device you are using to access the Internet, which can be used to infer your geographical location.

Finally, when you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device (or your proxy server) you are using to access the Internet, which could be used to infer your geographical location. We keep IP addresses confidential, except as provided in this Policy. For example, if you make a contribution without signing into your account, your IP address used at the time will be publicly and permanently recorded. If you are visiting Wikimedia Sites with your mobile device, we may use your IP address to provide anonymized or aggregated information to service providers regarding the volume of usage in certain areas. We use IP addresses for research and analytics; to better personalize content, notices, and settings for you; to fight spam, identity theft, malware, and other kinds of abuse; and to provide better mobile and other applications.

When you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device (or your proxy server) you are using to access the Internet, which could be used to infer your geographical location. We keep IP addresses confidential, except as provided in this Policy. If you are visiting Wikimedia Sites with your mobile device, we may use your IP address to provide anonymized or aggregated information to service providers regarding the volume of usage in certain areas.

We use this location information to make your experience with the Wikimedia Sites safer and better, to gain a greater understanding of user preferences and their interaction with the Wikimedia Sites, and to generally improve our services. For example, we use this information to provide greater security, optimize mobile applications, and learn how to expand and better support Wikimedia communities. We also use Personal Information in the manner described in the sections of this Policy titled "For Legal Reasons" and "To Protect You, Ourselves & Others."

Sharing[edit]

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We may share your information when you give us specific permission to do so.

We may share your information for a particular purpose, if you agree. You can find more information in the list of examples in our FAQ.

We may share your information when you give us specific permission to do so, for legal reasons, and in the other circumstances described below.

We share your information for a particular purpose, if you agree. You can find more information in the list of examples in our FAQ.

We may access, preserve, or disclose your personal information if we reasonably believe it necessary to satisfy a valid and legally enforceable warrant, subpoena, court order, law or regulation, or other judicial or administrative order. However, if we believe that a particular request for disclosure of a user's information is legally invalid or an abuse of the legal system and the affected user does not intend to oppose the disclosure themselves, we will try our best to fight it. We are committed to notifying you via email at least ten (10) calendar days, when possible, before we disclose your personal information in response to a legal demand. However, we may only provide notice if we are not legally restrained from contacting you, there is no credible threat to life or limb that is created or increased by disclosing the request, and you have provided us with an email address. We will access, use, preserve, and/or disclose your Personal Information if we reasonably believe it necessary to satisfy a valid and legally enforceable warrant, subpoena, court order, law or regulation, or other judicial or administrative order. However, if we believe that a particular request for disclosure of a user's information is legally invalid or an abuse of the legal system and the affected user does not intend to oppose the disclosure themselves, we will try our best to fight it. We are committed to notifying you via email at least ten (10) calendar days, when possible, before we disclose your Personal Information in response to a legal demand. However, we may only provide notice if we are not legally restrained from contacting you, there is no credible threat to life or limb that is created or increased by disclosing the request, and you have provided us with an email address.
We, or users with certain administrative rights, may disclose information that is reasonably necessary to:

enforce or investigate potential violations of Foundation or community-based policies;

We, or users with certain administrative rights, may disclose information that is reasonably necessary to:

enforce or investigate potential violations of the Wikimedia Foundation or community-based policies;

As hard as we may try, we can't do it all. So sometimes we use third-party service providers or contractors who help run or improve the Wikimedia Sites for you and other users. We may give access to your personal information to these providers or contractors as needed to perform their services for us or to use their tools and services. We put requirements, such as confidentiality agreements, in place to help ensure that these service providers treat your information consistently with, and no less protective of your privacy than, the principles of this Policy. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.) As hard as we may try, we can't do it all. So sometimes we use third-party service providers or contractors who help run or improve the Wikimedia Sites for you and other users. We give access to your Personal Information to these providers or contractors as needed to perform their services for us or to use their tools and services. We put requirements, such as confidentiality agreements, in place to help ensure that these service providers treat your information consistently with, and no less protective of your privacy than, the principles of this Policy. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.)

If you are visiting Wikimedia Sites with your mobile device, we use your IP address to provide anonymized or aggregated information to service providers regarding the volume of usage in certain areas.

We may give volunteer developers and researchers access to systems that contain your information to allow them to protect, develop, and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.

We may also share non-personal or aggregated information with third parties interested in studying the Wikimedia Sites.

We give volunteer developers and researchers access to systems that contain your information to allow them to protect, develop, and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.

We also share non-Personal Information or aggregated information with third parties interested in studying the Wikimedia Sites.

The open-source software that powers the Wikimedia Sites depends on the contributions of volunteer software developers, who spend time writing and testing code to help it improve and evolve with our users' needs. To facilitate their work, we may give some developers limited access to systems that contain your personal information, but only as reasonably necessary for them to develop and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.

Similarly, we may share non-personal or aggregated information with researchers, scholars, academics, and other interested third parties who wish to study the Wikimedia Sites. Sharing this information helps them understand usage, viewing, and demographics statistics and patterns. They then can share their findings with us and our users so that we can all better understand and improve the Wikimedia Sites.

The open-source software that powers the Wikimedia Sites depends on the contributions of volunteer software developers, who spend time writing and testing code to help it improve and evolve with our users' needs. To facilitate their work, we give some developers limited access to systems that contain your Personal Information, but only as reasonably necessary for them to develop and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.

Similarly, we share non-Personal Information or aggregated information with researchers, scholars, academics, and other interested third parties who wish to study the Wikimedia Sites. Sharing this information helps them understand usage, viewing, and demographics statistics and patterns. They then can share their findings with us and our users so that we can all better understand and improve the Wikimedia Sites.

Protection[edit]

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We will never ask for your password by email (but may send you a temporary password via email if you have requested a password reset). If you ever receive such an email an email that requests your password, please let us know by sending it to privacy@wikimedia.org, so we can investigate the source of the email.
We only keep your personal information as long as necessary to maintain, understand, and improve the Wikimedia Sites or to comply with U.S. law.

Once we receive personal information from you, we keep it for the shortest possible time that is consistent with the maintenance, understanding, and improvement of the Wikimedia Sites, and our obligations under applicable U.S. law. Non-personal information may be retained indefinitely. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.)

Please remember that certain information is retained and displayed indefinitely, such as your IP address (if you edit while not logged in) and any public contributions to the Wikimedia Sites.

Except as otherwise stated in this policy, we only keep your Personal Information as long as necessary to maintain, understand and improve the Wikimedia Sites or to comply with U.S. law.

Once we receive Personal Information from you, we keep it for the shortest possible time that is consistent with the maintenance, understanding, and improvement of the Wikimedia Sites, and our obligations under applicable U.S. law. Non-personal information may be retained indefinitely. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.)

Please remember that certain information, such as your IP address (if you edit while not logged in) and any public contributions to the Wikimedia Sites, is archived and displayed indefinitely by design; the transparency of the projects’ contribution and revision histories is critical to their efficacy and trustworthiness. To learn more about our data retention practices, see our data retention guidelines. For further information about how you may request access to or deletion of your Personal Information, or other rights you may have with respect to your Personal Information, see our FAQ.

You are consenting to the use of your information in the U.S. and to the transfer of that information to other countries in connection to providing our services to you and others.

Important Info[edit]

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The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California, with servers and data centers located in the U.S. If you decide to use Wikimedia Sites, whether from inside or outside of the U.S., you consent to the collection, transfer, storage, processing, disclosure, and other uses of your information in the U.S. as described in this Privacy Policy. You also consent to the transfer of your information by us from the U.S. to other countries, which may have different or less stringent data protection laws than your country, in connection with providing services to you. The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California, with servers and data centers located in the U.S. If you decide to use Wikimedia Sites, whether from inside or outside of the U.S., you understand that your Personal Information will be collected, transferred, stored, processed, disclosed and otherwise used in the U.S. as described in this Privacy Policy. You also understand that your information may be transferred by us from the U.S. to other countries, which may have different or less stringent data protection laws than your country, in connection with providing services to you.
We are strongly committed to not sharing nonpublic information with third parties. In particular, we do not allow tracking by third-party websites you have not visited (including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms), nor do we share your information with any third parties for marketing purposes. Under this Policy, we may share your information only under particular situations, which you can learn more about in the “When May We Share Your Information” section of this Privacy Policy. We are strongly committed to not sharing nonpublic information and Personal Information with third parties. In particular, we do not allow tracking by third-party websites you have not visited (including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms), nor do we share your Personal Information with any third parties for marketing purposes. Under this Policy, we may share your information only under particular situations, which you can learn more about in the “When May We Share Your Information” section of this Privacy Policy.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you also may have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority competent for your country or region.

Changes to subpages[edit]

What policy doesn't cover[edit]

Summary[edit]

  • No changes

Definitions[edit]

FAQ[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. This whole section is new, so the diff will not be replicated here. There is some overlap with the old policy.