- 1 Introduction
- 2 Use of info
- 2.1 Types of Information We Receive From You, How We Get It, & How We Use It
- 3 Sharing
- 4 Protection
- 5 Important info
This Policy explains how we collect, use, and share your personal information.
- We collect very little personal information about you.
- We do not rent or sell your information to third parties.
By using GATE, you consent to this Policy.
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 GATE more engaging and accessible, to see which ideas work, and to make learning and contributing more fun.
Because everyone (not just lawyers) should be able to easily understand how and why their information is collected and used, we use common language instead of more formal terms throughout this Policy. To help ensure your understanding of some particular key terms, here is a table of translations:
|When we say...||... we mean|
|"the Wikimedia Foundation" / "the Foundation" / "we" / "us" / "our"||The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the Wikimedia Sites.|
|"you" / "your" / "me"||You, regardless of whether you are an individual, group, or organization, and regardless of whether you are using the Wikimedia Sites or our services on behalf of yourself or someone else.|
|"contributions"||Content you add or changes you make to any Wikimedia Sites.|
|"personal information"||Information you provide us or information we collect from you that could be used to personally identify you. To be clear, while we do not necessarily collect all of the following types of information, we consider at least the following to be “personal information” if it is otherwise nonpublic and can be used to identify you:
(a) your real name, address, phone number, email address, password, identification number on government-issued ID, IP address, user-agent information, credit card number; (b) when associated with one of the items in subsection (a), any sensitive data such as date of birth, gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origins, marital or familial status, medical conditions or disabilities, political affiliation, and religion; and (c) any of the items in subsections (a) or (b) when associated with your user account.
|"third party" / "third parties"||Individuals, entities, websites, services, products, and applications that are not controlled, managed, or operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. This includes other Wikimedia users and independent organizations or groups who help promote the Wikimedia movement such as Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups as well as volunteers, employees, directors, officers, grant recipients, and contractors of those organizations or groups.|
- All of our major sites (found at list of major projects), such as Wikipedia, including user pages, discussion pages, and noticeboards.
- Our blogs and APIs (unless we have provided a separate policy for those services).
- Our mobile sites and applications, which can be found on our official list.
- Emails, SMS, and notifications from us or sent to us from you.
Where community policies govern information, such as the CheckUser policy, the relevant community may add to the rules and obligations set out in this Policy. However, they are not permitted to create new exceptions or otherwise reduce the protections offered by this Policy.
Use of info
Types of Information We Receive From You, How We Get It, & How We Use It
Your Public Contributions
Whatever you post on GATE can be seen by everyone. When you make a contribution to GATE, including on user or discussion pages, you are creating a permanent, public record of every piece of content added, removed, or altered by you. The page history will show when your contribution or deletion was made, as well as your username. We may use your public contributions, either aggregated with the public contributions of others or individually, to create new features or data-related products for you or to learn more about how GATE is used.
Unless this Policy says otherwise, you should assume that information that you actively contribute to GATE, including personal information, is publicly visible and can be found by search engines. Like most things on the Internet, anything you share may be copied and redistributed throughout the Internet by other people. Please do not contribute any information that you are uncomfortable making permanently public, like revealing your real name or location in your contributions.
Account Information & Registration
You do not need to create an account to use any Wikimedia Site.
If you do create an account, you do not need to give us your name or email address.
If you do not create an account, your contributions will be publicly attributed to your IP address.
Want to create an account? Great! Don't want to create an account? No problem!
You are not required to create an account to read or contribute to a Wikimedia Site, except under rare circumstances. However, if you contribute without signing in, your contribution will be publicly attributed to the IP address associated with your device.
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.
Information Related to Your Use of the Wikimedia Sites
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 want to make the Wikimedia Sites better for you by learning more about how you use them. Examples of this might include how often you visit the Wikimedia Sites, what you like, what you find helpful, how you get to the Wikimedia Sites, and whether you would use a helpful feature more if we explained it differently. We also want this Policy and our practices to reflect our community's values. For this reason, we keep information related to your use of the Wikimedia Sites confidential, except as provided in this Policy.
Information We Receive Automatically
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.
Put simply, we use this information to enhance your experience with Wikimedia Sites. For example, we use this information to administer the sites, provide greater security, and fight vandalism; optimize mobile applications, customize content and set language preferences, test features to see what works, and improve performance; understand how users interact with the Wikimedia Sites, track and study use of various features, gain understanding about the demographics of the different Wikimedia Sites, and analyze trends.
Information We Collect
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.
Depending on which technology we use, locally stored data can be anything from text, pictures, and whole articles (as we explain further below) to personal information (like your IP address) and information about your use of the Wikimedia Sites (like your username or the time of your visit).
We use this 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. We will never use third-party cookies, unless we get your permission to do so. If you ever come across a third-party data collection tool that has not been authorized by you (such as one that may have been mistakenly placed by another user or administrator), please report it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
- Understand how you use the Wikimedia Sites across different devices, so that we can make our varied Wikimedia Sites more efficient and effective for you.
- Make the Wikimedia Sites more convenient to use, such as by using cookies to maintain your session when you log in or to remember your username in the login field.
Want to know even more? You can read more about some of the specific cookies we use, when they expire, and what we use them for in our FAQ.
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.
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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
We may share your information when you give us specific permission to do so.
With Your Permission
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.
For Legal Reasons
We will disclose your information in response to an official legal process only if we believe it to be legally valid. We will notify you of such requests when possible.
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.
For more information, see our Subpoena FAQ.
To Protect You, Ourselves & Others
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;
- protect our organization, infrastructure, employees, contractors, or the public; or
- prevent imminent or serious bodily harm or death to a person.
Wikimedia Sites are collaborative, with users writing most of the policies and selecting from amongst themselves people to hold certain administrative rights. These rights may include access to limited amounts of otherwise nonpublic information about recent contributions and activity by other users. They use this access to help protect against vandalism and abuse, fight harassment of other users, and generally try to minimize disruptive behavior on the Wikimedia Sites. These various user-selected administrative groups have their own privacy and confidentiality guidelines, but all such groups are supposed to agree to follow our Access to Nonpublic Information Policy. These user-selected administrative groups are accountable to other users through checks and balances: users are selected through a community-driven process and overseen by their peers through a logged history of their actions. However, the legal names of these users are not known to the Wikimedia Foundation.
We hope that this never comes up, but we may disclose your personal information if we believe that it's reasonably necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily harm or death to a person, or to protect our organization, employees, contractors, users, or the public. We may also disclose your personal information if we reasonably believe it necessary to detect, prevent, or otherwise assess and address potential spam, malware, fraud, abuse, unlawful activity, and security or technical concerns. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ for more information.)
To Our Service Providers
We may disclose personal information to our third-party service providers or contractors to help run or improve the Wikimedia Sites and provide services in support of our mission.
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.)
To Understand & Experiment
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.
When we share information with third parties for these purposes, we put reasonable technical and contractual protections in place to protect your information consistent with this Policy.
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.
When we give access to personal information to third-party developers or researchers, we put requirements, such as reasonable technical and contractual protections, in place to help ensure that these service providers treat your information consistently with the principles of this Policy and in accordance with our instructions. If these developers or researchers later publish their work or findings, we ask that they not disclose your personal information. Please note that, despite the obligations we impose on developers and researchers, we cannot guarantee that they will abide by our agreement, nor do we guarantee that we will regularly screen or audit their projects. (You can learn more about re-identification in our FAQ.)
Because You Made It Public
Information that you post is public and can been seen and used by everyone.
Any information you post publicly on the Wikimedia Sites is just that – public. For example, if you put your mailing address on your talk page, that is public, and not protected by this Policy. And if you edit without registering or logging into your account, your IP address will be seen publicly. Please think carefully about your desired level of anonymity before you disclose personal information on your user page or elsewhere.
How Do We Protect Your Data?
We use a variety of physical and technical measures, policies, and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
We strive to protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. We use a variety of physical and technical measures, policies, and procedures (such as access control procedures, network firewalls, and physical security) designed to protect our systems and your personal information. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as completely secure data transmission or storage, so we can't guarantee that our security will not be breached (by technical measures or through violation of our policies and procedures).
How Long Do We Keep Your Data?
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.
Our Response to Do Not Track (DNT) signals
We do not allow tracking by third-party websites you have not visited.
We do not share your data with third parties for marketing purposes.
Because we protect all users in this manner, we do not change our behavior in response to a web browser's "do not track" signal.
For more information regarding Do Not Track signals and how we handle them, please visit our FAQ.