- 1 General Scope
- 2 The public and collaborative nature of this Wiki
- 3 Activities on this Wiki
- 4 User accounts and authorship
- 5 Purpose of the collection of private information
- 6 Details of data retention
- 7 Access to and release of personally identifiable information
- 8 Disclaimer
This policy covers personally identifiable information collected or stored by us on our servers in relation to the Wiki and its community. Consistent with our Data Retention Policy, we collect and retain the least amount of personally identifiable information needed to fulfill our operational needs.
The public and collaborative nature of this Wiki
This Wiki is collaboratively developed by its users using the MediaWiki software. Anyone with Internet access (and not otherwise restricted from doing so) may edit the publicly editable pages of these sites after logging in as a registered user. By doing this, editors create a published document, and a public record of every word added, subtracted, or changed. This is a public act, and editors are identified publicly as the author of such changes. All contributions made to this Wiki, and all publicly available information about those contributions, are irrevocably licensed and may be freely copied, quoted, reused and adapted by third parties with few restrictions.
Activities on this Wiki
In general, this Policy only applies to private information stored or held by us which is not publicly available.
Interactions with this Wiki not covered by this Policy include, but are not limited to, aspects of browsing and editing pages, and use of the wiki "email user" function. These interactions may reveal a contributor's IP address, and possibly other personal information, indiscriminately to the general public, or to specific groups of volunteers acting on behalf of the Wiki.
Users may also interact with one another outside of this Wiki, via email, IRC or other chat, or independent websites, and should assess the risks involved, and their personal need for privacy, before using these methods of communication.
We require editors to register with the Wiki. Registered users are identified by their chosen username. Users select a password, which is confidential and used to verify the integrity of their account. Except insofar as it may be required by law, no person should disclose, or knowingly expose, either user passwords and/or cookies generated to identify a user. Once created, user accounts will generally not be removed. It may be possible for a username to be changed, at our discretion - we do not guarantee that a username will be changed on request.
Purpose of the collection of private information
We limit the collection of personally identifiable user data to purposes which serve the well-being of this Wiki, including but not limited to the following:
- To enhance the public accountability of the projects. We recognise that any system that is open enough to allow the greatest possible participation of the general public will also be vulnerable to certain kinds of abuse and counterproductive behavior. We have established a number of mechanisms to prevent or remedy abusive activities. For example, when investigating abuse on a project, including the suspected use of malicious “sockpuppets” (duplicate accounts), vandalism, harassment of other users, or disruptive behavior, the IP addresses of users (derived either from those logs or from records in the database) may be used to identify the source(s) of the abusive behavior. This information may be shared by users with administrative authority who are charged by the community with protecting the projects.
- To provide site statistics. We statistically sample raw log data from users' visits. These logs are used to produce the site statistics pages; the raw log data is not made public.
- To solve technical problems. Log data may be examined by developers in the course of solving technical problems and in tracking down badly-behaved web spiders that overwhelm the site.
Details of data retention
IP and other technical information
- When a visitor requests or reads a page, or sends email to our server, no more information is collected than is typically collected by web sites. We may keep raw logs of such transactions, but these will not be published or used to track legitimate users.
- When a page is edited by a logged-in editor, the server confidentially stores related IP information for a limited period of time. This information is automatically deleted after a set period.
- The sites set a temporary session cookie on a visitor's computer whenever a Wiki page is visited. Readers who do not intend to log in or edit may deny this cookie; it will be deleted at the end of the browser's session. More cookies may be set when one logs in to maintain logged-in status. If one saves a user name or password in one's browser, that information will be saved for up to 30 days, and this information will be resent to the server on every visit to the same Project. Contributors using a public machine who do not wish to show their username to future users of the machine should clear these cookies after use.
- Edits or other contributions to this Wiki on its articles, user pages and talk pages are generally retained forever. Removing text from a project does not permanently delete it. Normally, in projects, anyone can look at a previous version of an article and see what was there. Even if an article is "deleted", a user entrusted with higher level of access may still see what was removed from public view. Information can be permanently deleted by individuals with access to the servers, but aside from the rare circumstance when we are required to delete editing-history material in response to a court order or equivalent legal process, there is no guarantee any permanent deletion will happen.
- User contributions are also aggregated and publicly available. User contributions are aggregated according to their registration and login status. Data on user contributions, such as the times at which users edited and the number of edits they have made, are publicly available via user contributions lists, and in aggregated forms published by other users.
- No more information on users and other visitors reading pages is collected than is typically collected in server logs by web sites. Aside from the above raw log data collected for general purposes, page visits do not expose a visitor's identity publicly. Sampled raw log data may include the IP address of any user, but it is not reproduced publicly.
- Edits to this Wiki's pages are identified with the username of the editor, and editing history is aggregated by author in a contribution list. Such information will be available permanently on the projects.
- Logged in registered users:
- Logged in users do not expose their IP address to the public except in cases of abuse, including vandalism of a wiki page by the user or by another user with the same IP address. A user's IP address is stored on the wiki servers for a period of time, during which it can be seen by server administrators and by users who have been granted CheckUser access.
- IP address information, and its connection to any usernames that share it, may be released under certain circumstances (see below).
- Editors using a company mail server from home or telecommuting over a DSL or cable Internet connection, are likely to be easy to identify by their IP address; in which case it may be easy to cross-identify all contributions to various Projects made by that IP. Using a username is a better way of preserving privacy in this situation.
- On wiki discussion pages:
- Any editable page can theoretically be the location of a discussion. In general, discussions on this Wiki occur on user talk pages (associated with particular users), on article talk pages (associated with particular articles) or in pages specially designated to function as forums. Privacy expectations apply to discussion pages in the same way as they do elsewhere.
- Via email:
- Users are required to list an email address when registering - indeed, editing is not possible until this email address has been confirmed. Users can enable other logged-in users to send email to them through the wiki. When receiving an email from other users through this system, one's email address is not revealed to them. When choosing to send an email to other users, one's email is displayed as the sender.
- The email address put into one's user preferences may be used by us for communication. A user can remove the account's email address from his preferences at any time to prevent it from being used. Private correspondence between users may be saved at those users' discretion and is not subject to our policy.
- On IRC:
- IRC channels are not officially part of this Wiki and are not operated on our servers. The IP address of users who chat over such a service may be exposed to other participants. IRC users' privacy on each channel can only be protected according to the policies of the respective service and channel. Different channels have different policies on whether logs may be published.
Access to and release of personally identifiable information
This Wiki is primarily run by volunteer contributors. Some dedicated users are chosen by the community to be given privileged access. User access levels to Wikipedia are determined by the user's presence in various 'user groups'. User group rights and group members are reachable from the Special:ListGroupRights page.
Other users who may have access to private identifiable information include, but are not limited to, users who have access to the CheckUser and Oversight functions, and developers and others with high levels of server access.
Access to and publication of this information is governed by the Access to nonpublic data policy, as well as specific policies covering some of the functions in question. Sharing information with other privileged users is not considered "distribution."
Release: Policy on Release of Data
It is our policy that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, or through other non-publicly-available methods, may be released by Wiki volunteers or staff, in any of the following situations:
- In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement,
- With permission of the affected user,
- When necessary for investigation of abuse complaints,
- Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues,
- Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to a service provider, carrier, or other third-party entity to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers,
- Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of this Wiki, its users or the public.
Except as described above, our policy does not permit distribution of personally identifiable information under any circumstances.
Third-party access and notifying registered users when receiving legal process:
As a general principle, the access to, and retention of, personally identifiable data in all projects should be minimal and should be used only internally to serve the well-being of the projects. Occasionally, however, we may receive a subpoena or other compulsory request from a law-enforcement agency or a court or equivalent government body that requests the disclosure of information about a registered user, and may be compelled by law to comply with the request. In the event of such a legally compulsory request, we will attempt to notify the affected user within three business days after the arrival of such subpoena by sending a notice by email to the email address (if any) that the affected user has listed in his or her user preferences.
We cannot advise a user receiving such a notification regarding the law or an appropriate response to a subpoena. We do note, however, that such users may have the legal right to resist or limit that information in court by filing a motion to quash the subpoena. Users who wish to oppose a subpoena or other compulsory request should seek legal advice concerning applicable rights and procedures that may be available.
If we receive a court-filed motion to quash or otherwise limit the subpoena as a result of action by a user or their lawyer, we will not disclose the requested information until we receives an order from the court to do so.
Registered users are required to provide an email address.