Privacy policy

This website is operated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact, who share a commitment to free speech and privacy. We have established this Privacy Policy to explain what information we collect through this website and how it is used. For more information on EFF’s Privacy Policy, click here, and for Visualizing Impact’s Privacy Policy click here.

In this policy, "Onlinecensorship.org" refers to EFF and VI, or, in context, the team at EFF and VI working on this project. More on the Onlinecensorship.org team is available here.

The individuals working on this project are bound by law or contract to keep confidential information they receive as part of their work.

We do not sell website visitor information under any circumstances, and we do not share nonpublic, personally identifiable visitor information without prior consent except as compelled by law. (See discussion below.) We collect only two kinds of information on the Onlinecensorship.org website: (1) anonymized information for statistical purposes, and (2) information you choose to give us in web forms or by email.

Information Gathered by Onlinecensorship.org's Site

Information Submitted by Users:

The Onlinecensorship.org website invites users to submit reports when their content has been moderated on a social media platform. Onlinecensorship.org collects and retains information you voluntarily submit to us. It is up to you whether to submit information to us, and how much information to provide.

We suggest removing any information you do not want us to have prior to submission. If you use our online forms to submit information, you can choose to:

  • do so anonymously. You can use Tor if you wish to keep your connection information anonymous.

  • include your contact information (name, email address) but have it kept confidential by the onlinecensorship.org project.

If you do not include a name or email address in your submission (including in any information or screenshots you upload), we will not have access to that information.
If you submit your contact information but ask that it be kept confidential, it will be marked as "private" in our database. "Private" information will be made available only to the teams at EFF and VI working on the project, who will treat it as confidential information.

We may use contact information to compile more detailed information on particular cases of online censorship, and to contact you if we have a question. We will only make this information public with your prior consent.

It is up to you to decide what information to provide on these forms.

Logging: For web traffic to our website, we do internal-only analytical logging and keep separate access logs for up to seven days; these access logs do not contain IP addresses nor User Agent details. These logs (more information here) may be kept for up to seven days from when the data was collected.

Circumstances in which Onlinecensorship.org may need to log and retain technical information for longer than seven days include when we believe it is reasonably necessary for Onlinecensorship.org’s mission and functionality, including situations such as:

  • site testing,

  • diagnosis of technical problems,

  • defending against attacks to the site,

  • handling a spike in traffic or other abnormal, short-term circumstances, or

  • research projects (in anonymized form) that serve our overall mission to defend free speech online.

In those and similar situations we will delete the information as soon as it is apparent that the information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was retained. For more information on data logging and techniques the sites used to anonymize, obfuscate, aggregate, and delete information, see EFF’s Best Practices for Online Service Providers.

How Onlinecensorship.org Internal Analytics Works: Onlinecensorship.org uses analytics software to gather sufficient information for assessing our website performance and how visitors move within it without compromising the privacy of our visitors. The internal analytical logging, involves logging a single byte of the IP address for up to seven days, as well as the referrer page, time stamp, page requested, user agent, language header, website visited, and a hash of all of this information. After seven days, we keep only aggregate information from these logs. We also geolocate IP addresses before anonymizing them and store only the country.

Cookies: We do not use persistent ID cookies on this site. We use session cookies on certain portions of the website. Session cookies expire when you close your browser. You can use Tor if you wish to keep your connection information anonymous.

Onlinecensorship.org’s Use of Information

In general, Onlinecensorship.org uses the information provided by you to further its mission, including to protect privacy, defend freedom and innovation, and to protect your rights in the digital world.

The data you submit will be used in several ways:

  • To learn more about how social media companies enforce their terms of service.

  • To understand how content takedown and account deactivation practices affect the lives and work of individuals in different parts of the world.

  • To understand how content takedown and account deactivation is affecting political movements, activists, and journalists in different parts of the world.

  • To engage with companies on how they can improve their regulations and reporting mechanisms and processes.

  • To raise public awareness about the ways that social media companies regulate speech and how users are affected.

Even if you choose not to submit your identifying information, the data you provide will help us to gain a fuller picture of how companies are enforcing their terms of service to regulate content online. We plan to provide reports and visualizations once we have a sufficient pool of data. Some submissions may be integrated into case studies or analyses when we notice particular trends (but any identifiable data will only be used with your permission, of course).

Third-Party Service Providers to Onlinecensorship.org

The Onlinecensorship.org team uses third party software, currently the desktop version of the data visualization software Tableau, to process data from the site.  Tableau does not have access to your data.

Onlinecensorship.org uses cloud hosting services and CDN services to operate the website.  We have endeavored to set up the operation to minimize or eliminate passing your IP address to the cloud host.  

These service providers may place session cookies on your computer. Onlinecensorship.org’s service providers may also log standard technical information, such as the numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer you are using; the browser software you use and your operating system; the date and time you access our site; and the Internet address of the website from which you linked directly to our site.

As this project grows, we may need to use other service providers, such as a provider that will store and organize the personal information collected through this site on our behalf.

For all of Onlinecensorship.org's service providers, hosting providers and any other providers we may use in the future, the information collected from Onlinecensorship.org users will remain protected by the terms agreements with those providers and we will ensure that the information is kept confidential and disclosed only to employees who require such access in the course of their assigned duties. Onlinecensorship.org also requires all of our third-party service providers to notify Onlinecensorship.org if they receive legal process seeking information about visitors to Onlinecensorship.org’s website.

Onlinecensorship.org may change the specific third-party providers from time to time, and will transfer stored information to any new provider subject to similar restrictions and agreements. From time to time, Onlinecensorship.org may work with third-party consultants or other service providers who may have access to personally identifiable information. In such cases, we will restrict their use of personally identifiable information in accordance with their assigned tasks.

Third-Party Services and APIs

Onlinecensorship.org’s site also provides links to or interacts with a wide variety of third-party websites, including interactive links to sites like social media or video hosting websites, often via application programming interfaces (APIs). Onlinecensorship.org is not responsible for, and does not have any control over, the privacy practices or the content of such third parties.

We encourage users to read the privacy policies of any website visited via links from or interactions with the Onlinecensorship.org website. Where appropriate, we will provide specific notice of these third-party services at the point of interaction. It is our policy not to include third-party resources when users initially load our web pages, but we may dynamically include them later after giving the user a chance to choose to interact with them. If you believe a third-party resource is automatically loading, please let us know so we can address it.

Law Enforcement and Other Compelled Disclosures

While Onlinecensorship.org endeavors to provide the highest level of protection for your information, we may disclose personally identifiable information about you to third parties in limited circumstances, including: (1) with your consent; or (2) when we have a good faith belief it is required by applicable law, such as pursuant to a subpoena or other judicial or administrative order. Remember, information that you have made publicly available will be just that—publicly available.

If we are required by law to disclose the information that you have submitted, we will attempt to provide you with notice  (unless we are prohibited) that a request for your information has been made.  If applicable, we will give you notice in order to give you an opportunity to object to the disclosure and explain how to make an objection. We will attempt to provide this notice by email, if you have given us an email address, or by postal mail if you have entered a postal address. If you do not challenge the disclosure request, we may be legally required to turn over your information.

In addition, we will independently object to requests for access to information about users of our site that we believe to be improper.

Sharing of Datasets: From time to time, we may share datasets derived from our technology projects with research partners working on topics related to free expression or other public policy objectives. We may also publish datasets in an effort to further these objectives. The datasets we may share or publish will not intentionally contain personally identifiable visitor information and we will evaluate whether further sanitization or aggregation of data is necessary to reduce the likelihood that inferences about identifiable individuals' activities might be made from the published dataset. Because anonymization is an algorithmically complex problem, we cannot promise that it will be flawless or attack-proof. When we believe that a dataset may contain information that is especially sensitive or vulnerable to de-anonymization, we will not publish it, and if we share such data with research partners, we will place them under a contractual obligation to keep the dataset confidential and avoid de-anonymization.

Changes to Our Policies

Onlinecensorship.org's Privacy Policy may change from time to time. However, any revised privacy policy will be consistent with Onlinecensorship.org's mission. If we make any substantive changes to our policies, we will post notice of changes on this page.

Security

Onlinecensorship.org employs industry standard security measures to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. Onlinecensorship.org has turned on HTTPS by default.

Although we make good faith efforts to store information collected by Onlinecensorship.org in a secure operating environment, we cannot guarantee complete security. Information collected by Onlinecensorship.org will be maintained for a length of time appropriate to our needs.