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When You Visit Our Website
Information Our Site Gathers
When you visit our website, our site collects information to provide us with aggregate data. We use an analytics program called Piwik. Piwik analyzes the data our site collects and provides us with reports.
The information our site collects includes:
- Internet Protocol or IP address (the unique number assigned to the device you are using to connect to the Internet);
- Your browser, the version and what operating system you use (for example if you are using Internet Explorer 9 or Mozilla Firefox 8.0 on Windows 7);
- The bandwidth used when you visit our site.
- When you visit on our site and how long you spend on it, and what pages you view;
- How you arrived on our site (for instance, did you use a search engine or click through a link in an online publication?)
This data is stored in log files that are used by Piwik to generate website usage reports that do not contain personally identifiable information. PRC deletes the log files monthly, and we do not back them up.
What Information We Are Able to See
While our site collects the information listed above, we receive aggregate data from Piwik. The data reveals, for instance, how many unique visitors we have in a month, how many individual page views we receive, the top 25 countries from which our site is viewed, the top 10 operating systems and browsers that people use to visit our site, and how people reached our content (through links in other sites, search engines, etc.). The reports do not include IP addresses and we do not attempt to tie individual IP addresses to this information.
We do not use persistent cookies on our website. We do use session cookies. Session cookies allow us to provide you with a better experience on our site. They do not capture personally identifiable information, and they do not track your online movements. Session cookies expire when you close your browser.
When You Join Our Mailing List
We invite you to join our mailing list to receive alerts from us. To join our mailing list, you must give us an email address and choose whether you want to receive mail in HTML format or Plain Text format. You may choose to give us your first name and state. We store our mailing list in a database hosted by Topica, an online service provider we use to send our alerts via email.
If you choose to receive our alerts in HTML format, the email includes a web beacon telling Topica that you opened the email. The web beacon does not track anything else, such as the links you click on or whether you forward it to a friend.
If you choose, you can block web beacons. For more information, search for how to block web beacons or see PRC's Fact Sheet 18: Online Privacy: Using the Internet Safely.
You may also choose to receive our emails in Plain Text format. In this case, the email will not have a web beacon. The email won't look pretty, but you can receive our alerts without any tracking.
You can unsubscribe from the mailing list at any time. Look for the "Safe Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the emails sent through Topica or call us at 619-298-3396.
When You Make a Donation
When you donate by mail, we ask you to print and fill out a PDF mail-in donation form. The form asks for your name, mailing address, and optional phone number. We use your information to send you a receipt and thank you letter. We store any hard copies of information you send in a locked cabinet in our office.
When You Call or Email Us
We invite emails and phone calls from individuals who have privacy-related complaints or questions. We maintain records of the types of inquiries we get so that we can identify emerging privacy issues that need further research or possible legislation.
If you give us your name or other personally identifiable information we may retain it in our records. If you contact us online, we will respond to you via email. When you call us, you are not required to give us any personally identifiable information. We do not voluntarily share any personally identifiable information you provide to us unless you specifically ask or if required by law.
When You File a Complaint with Our Online Complaint Center
If you use our online complaint center, you must give us your email address and state so that we can respond to you. Provide other personally identifiable information only if you choose. You also have the option to register with our complaint center so that you can update your complaint and your contact information.
Data you provide us is stored and backed up securely, and is encrypted on our server. We do not voluntarily share any personally identifiable information unless you specifically ask or we are legally required to do so. We do, however, aggregate the data to analyze trends and publish reports.
If You Ask Us to Share Your Complaint
A Note about Third-Parties
See Section I above for the major ways we use and share information collected from website visitors, those who email or call us, donors, and users of our complaint tool. We assure you that we will never sell, trade, or otherwise share your information with an advertiser, marketer, credit bureau, or profiler. Our general policy is that we do not share your personally identifiable information with anyone without your consent.
However, there are some limits on what we can and do promise. Most of these disclosures are unlikely, but we feel it is necessary to let you know they are possible.
- We disclose personally identifiable information
when required by law. Just like everyone
else, we cannot guarantee that your personally identifiable information will
never be sought by subpoena, search warrant, court order, or other lawful form
of legal process.
If someone demands that we produce your identifiable information, we will try to notify you in advance. If we do not have current contact information for you, we may not be able to reach you. It is also possible that we may be prohibited from contacting you.
- We may disclose personally identifiable
information to law enforcement if we have reason to believe that our site has
been used in a way that violates the law (e.g. someone uses our website for
improper activities or tries to hack our website).
- We may disclose personally identifiable
information to the extent we reasonably believe it necessary:
- to protect the security or integrity of our operations;
- to take precautions against liability;
- in the event of a security breach, or to take action to prevent, minimize, or remedy any harm from the breach; or
- to the extent permitted by law, to provide information to a law enforcement agency or for an investigation on a matter related to public safety.
- We may disclose personal information to staff
and third-parties such as lawyers, consultants, volunteers, and contract
workers. When we disclose personal
information to third parties, we do our best to contractually restrict any
further use or disclosure of the information that would be inconsistent with
If we have personally identifiable information about you, we will make that information available to you upon request. We also welcome updates to your contact information so we can keep in touch with you. You can ask us to delete any personally identifiable information we have for you, and we will comply unless we are otherwise required to keep it. Please contact our Chief Privacy Officer at cpo (at) privacyrights.org or 619-298-3396 if you have such a request.
We maintain appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect all information that we have, including your personally identifiable information. No one can guarantee absolute security, but we exercise great caution in protecting our information.
Children and Foreign Users
We do not anticipate that children under the age of 13 will provide personally identifiable information through our website. If we learn that we have information about a child under the age of 13 we will delete it.
Individuals in other countries are welcome to use our website. Any individual outside the United States should understand that any personally identifiable information provided to us through our website is collected, stored, and otherwise processed in the U.S. Privacy protections for personal data in the U.S. are different from the privacy protections available by law in other countries and are often weaker. If this is unacceptable, you should not provide any personally identifiable information.
Changes to this Policy
The PRC may make changes to this policy on occasion. We will announce substantial changes on this page and on our homepage. If possible, we will post notice of substantial changes before they take effect.
Questions and Concerns
Version: 2.0. We revised our policy to add more detail, describe our complaint tool, spell out the disclosures that we make with more specificity, provide information about access and correction. We did not make any changes to our basic policy of respecting the privacy of our users, or to our policy of not giving user data to advertisers.
Revision: We revised our policy to note the switch from AWstats to the Piwik Analytics engine.
Browse Privacy Topics
Background Checks & Workplace
Banking & Finance
Credit & Credit Reports
Harassment & Stalking
Identity Theft & Data Breaches
Online Privacy & Technology
Privacy When You Shop
Public Records & Info Brokers
Social Security Numbers
Who We Are
We are a nationally recognized consumer education and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to protecting the privacy of American consumers.