Michael C. Alpert, MD is the founder and owner of SelfConnection.org. Your privacy is critically important to us. At SelfConnection.org, we have a few fundamental principles:
- No patient-identifying information is permitted to be published on this site.
- We are thoughtful about the personal information we ask you to provide and the personal information that we collect about you through the operation of our services.
- We store personal information for only as long as we have a reason to keep it.
- We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to control what information on your website is shared publicly (or kept private), indexed by search engines, and permanently deleted.
- We help protect you from overreaching government demands for your personal information.
- We aim for full transparency on how we gather, use, and share your personal information.
What This Policy Covers
- Our websites;
- Our mobile applications (including the mobile app for Android and iOS); and
- Other products and services that are available on or through our websites.
Information We Collect
We only collect information about you if we have a reason to do so–for example, to provide our Services, to communicate with you, or to make our Services better. We collect information in three ways: if and when you provide information to us, automatically through operating our services, and from outside sources. Let’s go over the information that we collect.
Information You Provide to Us
It’s probably no surprise that we collect information that you provide to us. The amount and type of information depends on the context and how we use the information. Here are some examples:
- Basic Account Information: We ask for basic information from you in order to set up your account. For example, we require individuals who sign up for an account to provide a username and email address–and that’s it. You may provide us with more information–like your name–but we don’t require that information to create your account.
- Public Profile Information: If you have an account with us, we collect the information that you provide for your public profile. For example, if you have an account, your username is part of that public profile, along with any other information you put into your public profile. Your public profile is just that–public–so please keep that in mind when deciding what information you would like to include.
- Transaction and Billing Information: If you buy something from us you will provide additional personal and payment information that is required to process the transaction and your payment, such as your name, credit card information, and contact information.
- Content Information: Depending on the Services you use, you may also provide us with information about you in the draft and published content for your website. For example, if you write a blog post that includes biographic information about you, we will have that information, and so will anyone with access to the Internet, if you choose to publish the post publicly. This might be obvious to you…but it’s not to everyone!
- Communications with Us (Hi There!): You may also provide us information when you respond to surveys, communicate with our Happiness Engineers about a support question, or post a question about your site in our public forums.
Information We Collect Automatically
We also collect some information automatically:
- Log Information: Like most online service providers, we collect information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, IP address, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information. We collect log information when you use our Services.
- Usage Information: We collect information about your usage of our Services. For example, we collect information about the actions that site administrators and users perform on a site–in other words, who did what, when and to what thing on a site (e.g., [username] deleted “[title of post]” at [time/date]). We also collect information about what happens when you use our Services (e.g., page views, support document searches, button clicks) along with information about your device (e.g., mobile screen size, name of cellular network, and mobile device manufacturer). We use this information to, for example, provide our Services to you, as well as get insights on how people use our Services, so we can make our Services better.
- Location Information: We may determine the approximate location of your device from your IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, calculate how many people visit our Services from certain geographic regions. We may also collect information about your precise location via our mobile apps (when, for example, you post a photograph with location information) if you allow us to do so through your mobile device operating system’s permissions.
- Stored Information: We may access information stored on your mobile device via our mobile app. We access this stored information through your device operating system’s permissions. For example, if you give us permission to access the photographs on your mobile device’s camera roll, our Services may access the photos stored on your device when you upload a really amazing photograph of the sunrise to your website.
How We Use Information
We use information about you as mentioned above and as follows:
- To provide our Services–for example, to set up and maintain your account, host your website, backup and restore your website, or charge you for any of our paid Services;
- To further develop our Services–for example by adding new features that we think our users will enjoy or will help them to create and manage their websites more efficiently;
- To monitor and analyze trends and better understand how users interact with our Services, which helps us improve our Services and make them easier to use;
- To monitor and protect the security of our Services, detect and prevent fraudulent transactions and other illegal activities, fight spam, and protect the rights and property of SelfConnection.org and others;
- To communicate with you about offers and promotions offered by SelfConnection.org and others we think will be of interest to you, solicit your feedback, or keep you up to date on SelfConnection.org and our products; and
- To personalize your experience using our Services, provide content recommendations and serve relevant advertisements.
How We Share Information
We do not sell our users’ private personal information. We share information about you in the limited circumstances spelled out below and with appropriate safeguards on your privacy:
- Third Party Vendors: We may share information about you with third party vendors who need to know information about you in order to provide their services to us. This group includes vendors that help us provide our Services to you (like payment providers that process your credit and debit card information) and those that help us understand and enhance our Services (like analytics providers). We require vendors to agree to privacy commitments in order to share information with them.
- As Required by Law: We may disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request.
- To Protect Rights and Property: We may disclose information about you when we believe in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of SelfConnection.org, third parties, or the public at large. For example, if we have a good faith belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, we may disclose information related to the emergency without delay.
- With Your Consent: We may share and disclose information with your consent or at your direction. For example, we may share your information with third parties with which you authorize us to do so, such as the social media services that you connect to your site through our “sharing” features.
- Aggregated and De-Identified Information: We may share information that has been aggregated or reasonably de-identified, so that the information could not reasonably be used to identify you. For instance, we may publish aggregate statistics about the use of our Services.
- Published Support Requests: And if you send us a request (for example, via a support email or one of our feedback mechanisms), we reserve the right to publish that request in order to help us clarify or respond to your request or to help us support other users.
Information Shared Publicly
Information that you choose to make public is–you guessed it–disclosed publicly. That means, of course, that information like your public profile, posts, other content that you make public on your website, and your “likes” and comments on other websites that use our Services, are all available to others–and we hope you get a lot of views! We provide a “Firehose” stream of public data (like posts and comments) from sites that use our Services to provide that data to Firehose subscribers, who may view and analyze the content, but do not have rights to re-publish it, publicly. Public information may also be indexed by search engines or used by third parties. Please keep all of this in mind when deciding what you would like to share.
While no online service is 100% secure, we work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so. To enhance the security of your account, we encourage you to enable our advanced security settings, like Two Step Authentication.
You have several choices available when it comes to information about you:
- Limit the Information that You Provide: If you have an account with us, you can choose not to provide the optional account information, profile information, and transaction and billing information. Please keep in mind that if you do not provide this information, certain features of our Services–for example, paid, premium themes–may not be accessible.
- Limit Access to Information On Your Mobile Device: Your mobile device operating system should provide you with the ability to discontinue our ability to collect stored information or location information via our mobile apps. If you do so, you may not be able to use certain features (like adding a location to a photograph, for example).
- Opt-Out of Electronic Communications: You may opt out of receiving promotional messages from us. Just follow the instructions in those messages. If you opt out of promotional messages, we may still send you other messages, like those about your account and legal notices.
- Set Your Browser to Reject Cookies: At this time, SelfConnection.org does not respond to “do not track” signals across all of our Services. However, you can usually choose to set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies before using SelfConnection.org’s websites, with the drawback that certain features of SelfConnection.org’s websites may not function properly without the aid of cookies.
Other Things You Should Know (Keep Reading!)
SelfConnection.org is available worldwide. By accessing or using the Services or otherwise providing information to us, you consent to the processing, transfer, and storage of information in and to the U.S. and other countries, which may have rights and protections that are different from those in your home country.
Ads and Analytics Services Provided by Others
Third Party Software
If you’d like to use third party software like plugins with our Services, please keep in mind that when you interact with them you may provide information about yourself to those third parties. We don’t own or control these third parties and they have their own rules about collection, use and sharing of information. You should review their rules and policies when installing and using third party software.
One More Thing: This Policy Is Available Under a Creative Commons Sharealike License
What Information Do We Have?
SelfConnection.org has certain information from users and commenters. The following is a summary of the information that we may collect and store.
- Basic account information, such as:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Transaction and/or billing information (if upgrades have been purchased).
We will generally retain the above information until changed or removed by the user (if it’s possible to do so). We also collect log data, which may include a user’s IP address, browser type, operating system.