- 1 General Scope
- 2 The public and collaborative nature of the ECApedia
- 3 Activities on the ECApedia
- 4 User accounts and authorship
- 5 Purpose of the collection of private information
- 6 Access to personally identifiable information
- 7 Disclaimer
This policy covers personally identifiable information collected or stored by ECA on its servers. ECA collects and retains the least amount of personally identifiable information needed to fulfill ECApedia's operational needs.
The public and collaborative nature of the ECApedia
The ECApedia 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 with or without 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 the ECApedia, and all publicly available information about those contributions, are irrevocably licensed to ECA and may only be copied, quoted, reused and adapted by third parties if the source is adequately acknowledged: ECApedia (year) European Consortium for Accreditatation, The Hague.
Activities on the ECApedia
In general, this Policy only applies to private information stored or held by ECA.
Interactions with the ECApedia not covered by this Policy include, but are not limited to, aspects of browsing and editing pages, use of the wiki "email user" function, subscribing articles to your watchlist. 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 independently of ECA.
ECA does require editors to register. They 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 not be removed.
Purpose of the collection of private information
ECA limits the collection of personally identifiable user data to purposes which serve the well-being of its project, including but not limited to the following:
- To enhance the public accountability of the ECApedia. ECA recognises that a system that is open enough to allow the greatest possible participation of an expert public can be vulnerable to certain kinds of abuse and counterproductive behaviour. ECA has established a number of mechanisms to prevent or remedy abusive activities.
- To provide site statistics. ECA statistically samples 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.
IP and other technical information
When a visitor requests or reads a page, or sends email to ECA's server, no more information is collected than is typically collected by web sites. ECA 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. For editors who do not log in, the IP address used is publicly and permanently credited as the author of the edit. It may be possible for a third party to identify the author from this IP address in conjunction with other information available. Logging in with a registered username allows for better preservation of privacy.
The ECApedia sets a temporary session cookie on a visitor's computer whenever the ECApedia 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. 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 the ECApedia on its articles, user pages and talk pages are intended to be retained (more or less) forever. Removing text from the ECApedia does not permanently delete it. Normally, 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 ECA's servers, but aside from the rare circumstance when ECA is 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.
Reading the ECApedia
- 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.
Editing the ECApedia
- Edits to Project pages are identified with the username or network IP address of the editor, and editing history is aggregated by author in a contribution list. Such information will be available permanently on the ECApedia.
- 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).
- On discussion pages:
- Any editable page can theoretically be the location of a discussion. In general, discussions on the ECApedia 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 who provide a valid email address can enable other logged-in users to send email to them through the ECApedia. 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 ECA for communication. Users whose accounts do not have a valid email address will not be able to reset their password if it is lost. In such a situation, however, users may be able to contact one of the ECA server administrators to enter a new e-mail address. 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 public.
Access to personally identifiable information
Some dedicated users are chosen by the ECApedia community to be given privileged access. User group rights and group members are reachable in every project 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 OTRS, or to the CheckUser and Oversight functions, users elected by project communities to serve as stewards or Arbitrators, Wikimedia Foundation employees, trustees, appointees, and contractors and agents employed by ECA, 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."
As a general principle, the access to, and retention of, personally identifiable data should be minimal and should be used only internally to serve the well-being of the ECApedia.