We strongly support the right of individuals to protect the privacy of their information online. H2O has the potential to collect highly personal information about its users, both through the collection of specific attributes (name, email, biography, etc) and through the collection of discussion posts. Our policy is to let users decide how widely their personal information should be disseminated within the site through clear and easily accessible privacy preferences. We will neither share information gathered through the site with any third part nor use that information outside of the context of this site.
Every user who registers with this site must supply the following information: user name, password, first name, last name, email address, time zone. Additionally, the user may be prompted to provide other bits of personal information at various points during use of the site, both by system wide requirements and by the leaders of projects to which the user belongs. In addition, the system stores any posts made by the user during the course of a rotisserie discussion.
The system sends every user an email after the initial registration which contains a confirmation that allows the user to complete the registration process. The user may request that a new confirmation key be sent via email at any time to reset a lost password. The system also sends emails to alert users to various events relevant to site participation (posts pending responses, responses to the user's own posts, statuses of project applications, etc.). The system may occasionally send emails alerting users to information about the site itself (feature updates, new project announcements, etc.). Each user has the ability on the profile management pages to elect to receive no automatic emails from the site. In the case that the user elects to receive no automatic emails from the site, the site will only send emails at the direct request of the user (as when sending a confirmation key to reset the user's password).
Use of Personal Information
Personal information is all information pertaining to the user that is directly editable through the profile management pages, including, for example, the user's name, email, and biography.
The user has the ability to control who can and cannot see all of her personal information other than her user name (not to be confused with the first and last name attributes). A user name will always be publicly visible on the site, and the user should choose a user name with this fact in mind. All other information will be viewable by either 1) just the leaders of the projects to which the user belongs, 2) just the participants of the projects to which the user belongs, or 3) everyone on the site. If the user wishes to prevent everyone else on the site from viewing her personal information, she must not join any projects.
The user's email is shown along with the other personal information, and permission to view the email is controlled in the same way that permission to view other personal information is controlled. This fact means that all of the leaders of projects in which the user participates will be able to see the user's email. If this situation is not acceptable to the user, he should set his email to a valid but non-existent address (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org). However, the user should be aware that doing so will prevent him from being able to reset his password if it is lost, and will prevent any communication from the site or from project leaders.
H2O reserves the right to examine any information submitted to the site if doing so will help in the technical maintenance or development of the site. This restriction means, for example, that we may examine personal information during the process of tracking down a bug in the system.
H2O also reserves the right to generate aggregate statistics about the users of the site without connecting any of this aggregate information to any specific users and without cross referencing any aggregate fields. We may, for example, generate a report about how many users have registered from which schools. We will not, however, generate a report that tells us which specific users are registered from which schools. And we will not generate a report that includes how many men and how many women have registered from which schools.
H2O may make such aggregate reports publicly available. For example, we may provide statistics on the H2O site about how many users have registered from each time zone or how many users have connected to the site in the past week.
Use of Submitted Content
Submitted content is information submitted to the site that is not directly editable by the user from the profile management pages but is submitted to the site by the user. Rotisserie posts are submitted content, for example, because they are submitted by users but are submitted and edited by the user through the rotisserie participation pages rather than through the profile management pages.
A user can determine who can view content submitted by him by carefully choosing to which projects the content is submitted. In general, the user cannot directly determine who can and cannot view his submitted content. Instead, this right to determine access to submitted content rests with the leaders of the project to which the content was submitted. Once content has been submitted to a project, the project leaders have sole control over who can view the content. Users should not submit sensitive content to projects led by people whom they do not trust. Users should be aware that H2O has no control over the use of submitted content by other users, other than informing all users that content submitted to the site is governed by copyright law.
H2O does not claim copyright over content submitted to the site. H2O assumes that a user grants it perpetual right to display any submitted content within the context the site and constrained by the permissions set by the leaders of the project to which the content belongs.
H2O reserves the right to edit content that causes technical problems with the operation of the site (content that breaks html, for example). H2O will not edit content on the basis of content except when forced to do so by legal considerations. H2O may provide leaders of some projects with the ability to remove content that they deem unsuitable for any reason, though it will clearly label any such projects that allow such control over content.
Applicability of Restrictions
All restrictions placed on the behavior of H2O apply only to H2O staff when acting outside of the normal context of the site. For example, this policy states that H2O will not share personal information gathered through the site with third parties. This restriction only applies to the case that a member of the H2O staff uses his special access to the information gathered on the site to share information to which he would not have access as an ordinary user of this site. This restriction does not prevent the same staff member from disclosing the names of the participants of a project for which he is a leader, since he has access to those names as an ordinary project leader rather than specifically as a staff member of H2O.
The H2O site requires that all registered users be at least thirteen years old. H2O does not collect information from any user who has not registered with the site.
Commitment to Data Security
H2O has put into place appropriate physical, political, and technical safeguards to ensure that personal information collected by the site is secure from access by anyone other than the administrators responsible for running and maintaining the servers upon which the H2O site runs.
Updates to this Policy
H2O reserves the right to update this policy to reflect changes in the functionality of the site. Users will be informed of this change both through an announcement on the site proper and through email, if they have chosen to receive site announcements via email.