Draft Policies: Privacy, Terms of Use, Dispute Resolution

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[Drew rightly pointed out that some kind of intro or summary is needed here. Anyone?]

Tech Ops had a rousing conversation in person last week about policies. We’ve got an urgent need to create some, not just for public consumption but as a real guide for some of the issues we face. Below is our current draft for three policies:

  • Privacy
  • Terms of Use
  • Dispute Resolution

We invite all of OWS to review these policies and comment below.

Preamble to All Digital Property Policies
Policies for Digital Properties of Occupy Wall Street are managed by the Tech Operations Group. “Digital Properties” include nycga.net, databases, social media accounts and any other digital property designated as belonging to Occupy Wall Street. Digital properties not managed by the Tech Ops Working Group are not owned by Occupy Wall Street. Your registration with any digital property means that you agree abide by the relevant sections of these policies.

Occupy Wall Street digital properties are community resources administered by the NYCGA Technology Operations Group. Policies include: Privacy, Terms and Conditions of Use, and Dispute Resolution.

Digital properties and resources managed by official working groups, but not strictly speaking owned by the NYCGA, may choose to adopt these policies. This can include social media accounts, Google Groups, websites and any other kind of digital property. The method is simple: record that decision in your minutes, and inform us at tech at nycga.net. Include the names and contact info of at least two administrators from that group.

Privacy Policy [Policy adapted from WiseEarth.org]

1. Information We Collect

Registration to use our digital properties may include a username, email address, and other fields. You can also choose to add additional personal information in your user profile, including one or more profile photos.

We may collect information that you do not explicitly submit. For example, we may log your browser-type related information, IP address, requested URL, referring URL, and timestamp. If you create an account, subscribe to a mailing or make a donation (for example), information relating to your activity on the Website, such as the date and time at which you register and the text of the comments and contributions you make on NYCGA.net, and the time that you make them, is displayed in your profile and can be viewed by other users, whether or not they are logged into an account.

Information that is not publicly visible, such as internal messages delivered within NYCGA.net, may be viewed by administrators under certain conditions. Other information viewable by administrators may include  list and group memberships, event registrations, and donation records.

2. Use of Your Information

Personal information such as your username and an optional profile photo may be visible to users in conjunction with messages or other postings that you contribute to NYCGA.net or other digital properties. Users may also view your profile, and any personally identifiable information you have included in your profile, by clicking on your username when you post on NYCGA.net. Your email address will not be visible to users who view your profile. If you are concerned with the privacy of your personal information, we recommend that you do not register with NYCGA.net.

We may send emails to the email address you provide in your profile or send personal messages to your NYCGA.net account. You may unsubscribe from our email database without giving up access to the NYCGA.net site. As long as you have a valid NYGCA.net account, you may receive messages.

Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, including browser-type related information, IP address, requested URL, referring URL and timestamp data, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other websites link to our digital properties, and what web browsers visitors are using. We use this information to diagnose and resolve technical problems, administer our digital properties and otherwise provide the highest possible level of service to you. In addition, we use this information to perform statistical analyses of user behavior and characteristics. In very rare instances, we may use this information to correlate usernames and IP addresses of edits in investigating abuse.

Regardless of whether you are registered or logged into your account, anytime you visit our sites you can be identified by your IP address. This is a series of numbers which identifies your Internet address. Depending on your connection, this number may be traceable only to a large Internet service provider, or more specifically to your school, place of business or home.

3. Transfer of Information

Except where otherwise specified, all text and certain other content found on our digital properties is available for reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-commerical ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see the Terms and Conditions of Use policy for more information about such rights.

We will not make private information, such as your email address, available to third parties unless one of the situations described in this paragraph occurs. NYCGA.net may preserve or disclose the content you post on NYCGA.net, as well as other information about you and your use of NYCGA.net, such as your email address, IP address and timestamp data, if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to comply with a subpoena, a court order or another legal process. NYCGA.net may preserve or disclose such information in order to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities or suspected fraud; to protect the rights, property or personal safety of NYCGA.net, its users or the general public or to enforce or apply the terms and conditions of this Privacy Policy and/or Terms and Conditions of Use as the same may be amended from time to time.

We will notify you when information about you may be provided to third parties in ways other than explained above, and you will have the option to prevent such information sharing.

4. Links to Other Websites

Our digital properties may contain links to third party websites to which we have no affiliation. NYCGA.net does not share your personal information with those websites and is not responsible for their privacy practices. Should you decide to visit one of these third party websites, we suggest that you read its privacy policy.

5. Use of Cookies

Like most websites, NYCGA.net requires cookies to function properly. Cookies are small text files that reside on a user’s computer and identify you as a unique user. We use cookies to refine our site and simplify the user experience. For example, the use of cookies allows registered users to enter our site without explicitly typing in their username and password every time.

If you do not want information collected through the use of cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows you to deny or accept the cookie feature; however, you should note that cookies may be necessary to provide you with certain features (e.g., customized delivery of information) available on NYCGA.net.

6. Controlling Your Personal Information

You should be aware that when you voluntarily disclose personally identifiable information (e.g., your real name or email address) through messages, forums, postings, or in other areas of our digital properties, that information, along with any substantive information disclosed in your communication, can be collected and used by third parties and may result in your receipt of unsolicited messages from other posters or third parties. Such activities are beyond our control. We strongly encourage you not to post any personal information that you expect to keep private.

As a registered NYCGA.net user, you can modify some of the personal information you have included in your profile by logging in and accessing your account. You cannot, however, change your username once you have registered. Upon your request, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to delete your NYCGA.net account and the personal information in your profile; however, it may be impossible to remove your account without some residual information being retained. Registered users who wish to close their account should contact tech [at] nycga.net. [flagging an issue here. why not link instead to instructions for doing this on your own?] can someone insert this info here?

7. Security

We try very hard to protect our users’ information. User accounts are password-protected. We use industry standard security measures to protect against unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of data. These include internal reviews of our data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures, as well as physical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to systems where we store personal data.

We limit access to your personal information to administrators, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to operate, develop or improve our services. These individuals are bound by confidentiality obligations and may be subject to discipline, up to and including criminal prosecution, if they fail to meet these obligations.

If you have any questions about our security, please contact us at tech [at] nycga.net. Although we aim to take sufficient measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personally identifiable information that we collect will never be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Policy.

8. Editing of Content

Registered users are able to add, modify and delete certain text and other content found on NYCGA.net and other digital properties. Some areas of NYCGA.net contain editing history functionality which records and stores every change made to a webpage. All such changes are viewable by both registered and unregistered users, regardless of whether the changes there are additions, modifications or deletions of content and whether they are made by a registered user or a representative of TechOps. Thus, content that has been added to a webpage within NYCGA.net may permanently be accessible for viewing by our users who look at the editing history of that webpage, even if such content had been deleted after being posted on NYCGA.net. Only an administrator can permanently delete information and there is no guarantee that this will happen. Content that has been deleted can also be reinstated if a registered user or administrator chooses to revert to such content in the editing history. Please keep all of this in mind when posting and editing information.

9. Messaging

NYCGA.net offers personal messaging functionality, enabling its registered users to quickly communicate with each other while on NYCGA.net. At this time, registered users cannot opt-out of personal messages initiated by other NYCGA.net users. Accordingly, if you are concerned about receiving possible unsolicited personal messages from TechOps or other NYCGA.net users, we recommend that you do not register with NYCGA.net.

Personal messages sent among NYCGA.net users are private and can only be viewed by the recipient and the sender of the message. TechOps adminstrators can access private messages and may do so under the conditions outlined in Section 3 of this policy.

10. Mailing Lists

We manages email database software. We may use that software to send you messages. Your email address may end up on our email database for a variety of reasons, including offline signup, transfer of a working group list that you subscribed to, or registration to an event. Regardless, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that your email address is not exposed to other subscribers, and that you are not added to lists without your advance permission. The one exception is a low frequency, general list used by the New York City General Assembly. This list is ‘opt-out’ and you may unsubscribe at any time.

11. Use by Children

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) severely restricts what information can be collected from children under the age of 13. Accordingly, children under the age of 13 in the United States are prohibited from registering for a NYCGA.net account, posting or editing any content on NYCGA.net or providing any of their personal information but are otherwise permitted to access and view the information provided on NYCGA.net with the permission and supervision of a parent or guardian. We do not knowingly solicit information from any child under the age of 13. Should a child whom we know to be under 13 in the United States send personal information to us, we will use that information only to respond directly to that child (or a parent or guardian) to inform him or her that he or she cannot use our digital properties.

12.Enforcement

We regularly review its compliance with this Privacy Policy. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our treatment of personal information or this Privacy Policy if you want to exercise any of the rights that you are granted under this Privacy Policy, you can contact:

tech [at] nycga.net.

or

NYCGA Technology Operations Group 50 Broadway, 12th Floor New York, NY 10012

When we receive formal written complaints, it is our policy to contact the complaining user regarding his or her concerns. We will cooperate with the appropriate regulatory authorities, including local data protection authorities, to resolve any complaints regarding the transfer of personal data that cannot be amicably resolved.

13. Terms and Modifications to this Privacy Policy

By using our digital properties, you signify your agreement to the terms of this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with these terms, you should not use NYCGA.net. We may modify this Privacy Policy at any time. If a material change is made to this Privacy Policy and/or the way we use our users’ personally identifiable information, then we will post a prominent notice of the nature of such change at the top of this Privacy Policy and also on our home page. You are responsible for reviewing this Privacy Policy periodically to ensure that you are aware of any changes to it. Your continued use of our sites indicates your assent to any changes to this Privacy Policy.

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Terms and Conditions of Use
We encourage the public to participate and collaborate with each other using NYCGA.net and other digital properties established by Occupy Wall Street.

Be advised that all postings, including any links to 3rd-party sites, shall be subject to limited monitoring for violations of this and any other policy.

The following types of content are considered inappropriate for posting on NYCGA digital properties:

commercial; self-promotional; prurient; abusive; discriminatory speech, including but not limited to, hate speech based on race, gender, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

If content is determined to be inappropriate, such content either will not be posted or will be removed from the website. Such action will be taken in order to maintain the effective operation of our forums for civil, constructive and thoughtful discourse. If a Participant notices that his or her content is not posted within 48 hours of submission, and he or she wishes to dispute the determination, such Participant may request an explanation of rejection by emailing tech at nycga.net.

Participants should note the following prior to posting content:

(a) Regarding community-moderated content, a participant may flag content he or she believes to be in violation of this Terms of Use. He or she may not flag content due to disagreement with opinions stated.  If several flags are noted by administrators, such Reviewer may remove the content pending review for appropriateness.

(b) Any comments submitted for posting by a Participant may be rated and/or otherwise commented upon by other members of the public.

(c) By using this digital property, a Participant hereby acknowledges that he or she has read, understands and agrees to be bound by the terms as outlined herein, as well as with any applicable laws and regulations relating hereto.

Actions Taking Place Away From Our Digital Properties – But Stemming From Them
It may happen that abuse takes place not using digital properties fully under our control. Examples:

  • Abusive communications sent between individuals who met each other on our properties, and would not otherwise be in mutual contact.
  • Efforts to respond abusively in ‘real life’ based on behavior that originated on our digital properties. (Otherwise known as ‘stalking’ behavior.)
  • Requests from a working group to remove a disruptive individual or restrict disruptive behavior that otherwise does not violate this policy.

In such instances, our administrators have the option of addressing those actions as violations of this policy.

 This Policy Not An Alternative to the General Assembly/Spokescouncil
The Tech Operations Group will not take action on issues that are appropriately under the purview of other groups and bodies. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deciding that a group deserves to exist/not exist
  • Determining that particular voices are inconsistent with Occupy Wall Street’s message and intentions
  • Requiring that opinions expressed conform to NYCGA resolutions

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Dispute Resolution Policy

As part of enforcing these policies and maintaining NYCGA digital properties, administrators empowered by the Tech Operations Group may take action in response to violation of our policies. These actions may include:

  • Direct contact to investigate an incident
  • Removal of content previously posted
  • Suspension of deletion of an account
  • Removal from a mailing or discussion list
  • Removal of permissions on a site, as they related to posting, commenting, receiving or sending messages, creating documents, and any other feature as applicable.
  • Forwarding of an issue to the General Assembly or Spokescouncil

The Tech Operations Group is committed to transparency. To that end, disciplinary actions impacting registered users or subscribers of NYCGA digital properties will be recorded here (insert link), unless doing so might reasonably contribute to additional harm against OWS or another individual using this site.

Decisions made by our administrators may be appealed. The process is simple: send an email to tech at nycga.net with the “APPEAL” appearing first in the subject line. When this happens, a standing Appeals Committee of the Technical Operations Group will review the issue and make a determination. Decisions of this committee can be appealed to the General Assembly or Spokescouncil by an approved Working Group. There is no other recourse.

 

6 Responses to “Draft Policies: Privacy, Terms of Use, Dispute Resolution”

  1. Patricia L

    I’d remove the entire preamble and replace with something simple like this:

    These policies intend to clarify the New York General Assembly’s relationship with users and others who interact with its “digital properties.” “Digital Properties” include nycga.net, databases, social media accounts and any other such entities designated as belonging to NYCGA. These digital properties are community resources administered by the NYCGA Technology Operations Group ["Tech Ops"]. By using or accessing any NYCGA digital properties, you agree to these policies.

    Privacy Policy
    1. Information We Collect
    We may collect information that you do not explicitly submit. For example, we may log your browser-type related information, IP address, requested URL, referring URL, and timestamp. If you create an account, certain information you’ve provided may be displayed in your profile and can be viewed by other users, whether or not they are logged into an account.
    (Note: donation-related information isn’t captured and will not be visible)

    Information that is not publicly visible, such as internal messages delivered within NYCGA.net, may be viewed by administrators under certain conditions. Other information viewable by administrators may include list and group memberships, event postings, messages and forum postings.

    2. Use of Your Information
    (Remove entire second paragraph beginning with, “We may send emails to the email…”)

    6. Controlling Your Personal Information
    (Note: Users can delete their own account. Update accordingly.)

    8. Editing Content
    (Note: Content isn’t held in moderation before being posted. Update accordingly.)

    11. Use by Children
    (Note: We don’t ask age of users. Update accordingly.)

    12. Enforcement
    (Note: Don’t know what first sentence means: “We regularly review its compliance with this Privacy Policy.”)

    (Note: Should the TechOps address be the P.O. Box?)

    Terms and Conditions of Use
    (Note: Content isn’t held in moderation before being posted. Copy updated.)
    If content is determined to be inappropriate, such content will be removed from the website. Such action will be taken in order to maintain the effective operation of our forums for civil, constructive and thoughtful discourse. If a Participant notices that his or her content is deleted and he or she wishes to dispute the determination, such Participant may request an explanation of deletion by emailing tech at nycga.net.

    (Note: We don’t have a reporting system for inappropriate content, only for spam. May need to discuss this.)
    (a) Regarding community-moderated…

    Dispute Resolution Policy
    (Note: Clarify what “Direct contact to investigate an incident,” means)

    http://www.facebook.com/principles.php

  2. Tom Gillis

    I think we need to clarify when / if / why we are going to comply with law enforcement requests for site data. The big selling point of having our own datacenter was that we wouldn’t respond to bogus legal fishing expeditions like “give us the records for any post having the word #occupy in it” (as the Boston police tried to do with Twitter).

    • Patricia L

      I agree. However, I think we need some legal guidance in that regard.

  3. Tom Gillis

    Also, I imagine there are alot of people who are using this site for whom any cooperation with police investigations would be a block.

    • Patricia L

      I would very much like to say we would never provide information to police. I’m just not sure what the legality of that is.

  4. Patricia L

    Charles, I’d like to separate these policies now in order to avoid confusion about which have been consensed by the group.