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    Privacy Policy - AskNature Website

    LAST UPDATED:  November 14, 2008

    By establishing the Ask Nature project, The Biomimicry Institute ("we" or "us") is advocating its belief that it is important to nurture and grow a global community of people who are learning from, emulating, and conserving life's genius to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. We also believe that privacy is important.

    This Privacy Policy (the "Policy") explains how we collect, use and disclose our users' information in connection with the AskNature website http://www.asknature.org (the "Site"). This Policy addresses only information we collect through the Site; it does not cover information that we may collect through other websites or by any other means. This Policy also does not govern the collection, use or disclosure of information by our affiliates, sponsors or other third parties.

    By using the Site, you agree to the terms and conditions of this Policy. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions of this Policy, please do not use the Site. From time to time, we may update or make changes to this Policy. If we do, we may notify you of such updates or changes by any reasonable means (for example, by posting a revised draft on the Site). To determine when this Policy was last revised, look at the "LAST UPDATED" legend at the top of this Policy. Your continued use of the Site after such changes will indicate your acceptance of such changes.

    What Types of Information Do We Collect?


    We gather three basic types of information from you:
    • "Personally Identifiable Information" (or "PII"). Personally Identifiable Information is information that identifies a person as an individual.
    • "Non-Personally Identifiable Information" (or "Non-PII"). Non-Personally Identifiable Information is aggregated information, demographic information and any other information that does not reveal a person's specific identity.
    • "IP Addresses." An IP Address is the Internet Protocol address of the computer that you are using.

    1. Personally Identifiable Information. You do not have to provide PII in order to use the Site. However, in order to access certain services, content, features or products offered on or through the Site, we may require that you furnish PII. For example, you may need to submit PII to create a user profile, view certain features of the Site, or post comments on the Site. We collect PII from you (such as, your name, email address, mailing address, and user profile photo) only when you voluntarily provide it to us.

    2. Non-Personally Identifiable Information. We and our third party service providers also may collect Non-PII (for example, a catalog of the Site pages you visit). Non-PII is generally collected from four different sources: (i) environmental variables, (ii) cookies, (iii) pixel tags and other similar technologies and (iv) information that you voluntarily provide to us.

      a.    Environmental Variables.  We and our service providers may collect certain environmental variables, such as your MAC address, computer type (Windows or Macintosh), screen resolution, OS version, Internet browser and Internet browser version. These environmental variables are collected by most websites, and can be used to optimize your experience on the Site.

      b.    Cookies.  We and our service providers may use "cookies" in connection with the Site. Cookies are data that a web server transfers to an individual's computer for recordkeeping and other purposes. We use cookies and other technologies to, among things, better serve you with more tailored information and facilitate your ongoing access to and use of the Site. If you do not want information collected through the use of cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows you to automatically decline cookies, or to be given the choice of declining or accepting the transfer of a particular cookie, or cookies from a particular website, to your computer.

      c.    Pixel Tags.  We and our service providers may also use so-called "pixel tags," "web beacons," "clear GIFs" or similar means in connection with Site pages and HTML-formatted e-mail messages to, among other things, track the actions of Site users and e-mail recipients, to determine the success of email campaigns and to compile aggregate statistics about Site usage and response rates.

      d.    Information That You Voluntarily Provide.  We also collect Non-PII (such as, your affiliation with the biomimicry community, your location, and which languages you speak) when you voluntarily provide such information to us. Such information constitutes Non-PII because, unless combined with PII, it does not personally identify you or any other user. Additionally, we may aggregate PII in a manner such that the end-product does not personally identify you or any other user of the Site, for example, by using PII to calculate the percentage of our users in a certain location within the biomimicry community. Such aggregate information is considered Non-PII for purposes of this Policy.

    3. IP Addresses.  Your IP Address is a number that is automatically assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the computer that you are using. This number is identified and logged automatically in our server log files whenever users visit the Site, along with the time(s) of such visit(s) and the page(s) that were visited. Collecting IP Addresses is standard practice on the Internet and is done automatically by many websites. 

    How Do We Use Information Collected From You? 

    1. Personally Identifiable Information.  We may use PII about you in the following ways:

      a.    Fulfillment of Requests.  We may use PII about you to fulfill the purpose for which such PII was provided (such as, to respond to your inquiries and feedback about The Biomimicry Institute, Ask Nature and other projects, or to process your request to "thank a genius").

      b.    Administrative Communications.
        From time to time, we may use your PII to contact you with important information regarding the Site, changes to our terms, conditions and policies and/or other administrative information.  Because this information may include important conditions governing your use of the Site, you may not opt-out of receiving such communications.

      c.    Other Communications.
        If you opt-in to receive occasional updates about The Biomimicry Institute, Ask Nature and other projects, from time to time, we may use your PII to inform you of products, services, events, and issues that we believe may be of interest to you.  If you would prefer that we do not send electronic messages to you, please see the "Opt-Out" section below.

      d.    Donations.
        When you make a donation to us, we may collect your credit card number or other payment account number, billing address and other information related to such purchase (collectively, "Payment Information") from you, and may use such Payment Information in order to fulfill your purchase.

      e.    Connecting the Biomimicry Community.  We may use your PII to provide content tools to foster connectivity within the biomimicry community. For example, we may use PII about you to post your user profile and comments for other Site users to view or to facilitate the sharing of feedback or the strategies posted on the Site.

      f.    Customized Site Content.
        During your use of the Site, we may provide you with certain content, products and services that we have customized for you based on the PII in your profile information.

      g.    Internal Business Purposes.
        We may also use your PII for our internal business purposes, such as data analysis, audits, identifying usage trends, developing new features for the Site, and so forth. 


    2.  Non-Personally Identifiable Information.  Because Non-PII does not personally identify you or any other individual, we may use such information for any purpose. In addition, we reserve the right to share such NonPII, which does not personally identify you or any other individual, with our affiliates and other third parties, for any purpose. In some instances, we may combine Non-PII with PII (such as combining your name with your geographic location). If we do combine any Non-PII with PII, the combined information will be treated by us as PII in accordance with this Policy as long as it is so combined. 

    3.  IP Addresses.  We use IP addresses for purposes such as calculating Site usage levels, helping diagnose server problems, administering the Site, ensuring the technical functionality of the Site, identifying users who are not in compliance with our Terms of Use, and providing technical support to Site users. We may also use and disclose IP addresses for the same purposes as we use and disclose PII and non-PII; however, please note that we treat IP Addresses, server log files and related information as Non-PII, except where we are required to do otherwise under applicable law.

    How Is Personally Identifiable Information Disclosed


    1. To the Biomimicry Community.  We may share your PII by posting your user profile, comments, and other content for other Site users to view.  If you choose to post information about yourself, including personally identifiable information, through the Site, such information will be accessible to other Site users.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE USE BY OTHERS OF ANY INFORMATION YOU DISCLOSE THROUGH THE SITE.  We do not currently sell, rent, exchange or otherwise share our member lists and any personally identifiable information about you with any third parties for their direct marketing purposes, but we reserve the right to change our policy going forward.

    2. Third Party Service Providers.  We may work with third parties who provide services including but not limited to data analysis, transaction fulfillment, infrastructure provision, IT services, e-mail delivery services and other similar services.  We may share PII about you with third parties for the purpose of enabling these third parties to provide services (for example, if you choose to make a donation through the Site, we may share your Payment Information or other PII with our third party service providers to fulfill your transaction).

    3. Assignment.  We reserve the right to transfer any and all information that we collect from Site users to our sponsors, affiliates, or a third party in the event of any reorganization, merger, sale, joint venture, assignment, transfer or other disposition of all or any portion of our business, assets or stock (including without limitation in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings).

    4. Law Enforcement; Emergencies; Compliance.  We may disclose PII about you to others as we believe to be appropriate (a) under applicable law; (b) to comply with legal process; (c) to respond to governmental requests; (d) to enforce our Terms of Use (located at http://www.asknature.org/article/view/terms_of_use; (e) to protect our operations or those of our sponsors or affiliates; (f) to protect our rights, privacy, safety or property and those of our sponsors, our affiliates, you or others; and (g) to permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain.

    Other Important Notices Regarding Our Privacy Practices.

    1. Third Party Sites.  The Site may contain links to third party websites.  These linked sites (including without limitation the websites of our sponsors and affiliates) are not under our control and we are not responsible for the privacy practices or the contents of any such linked site, or any link contained in any linked site.  We provide such links only as a convenience, and the inclusion of a link on the Site does not imply endorsement of the linked site by us or any of our sponsors or affiliates.  If you provide any PII through any such third party website, your transaction will occur on such third party's website (not the Site) and the PII you provide will be collected by, and controlled by the privacy policy of, that third party.  We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the privacy policies and practices of any such third parties.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POLICY DOES NOT ADDRESS THE PRIVACY OR INFORMATION PRACTICES OF ANY THIRD PARTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION OUR SPONSORS OR AFFILIATES.

    2. Security.  We use reasonable organizational, technical and administrative measures to protect PII under our control.  We seek to have measures and tools (such as firewalls) in place to help protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or data storage system can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, although we strive to protect PII about you, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us through or in connection with the Site or that is stored by us. You acknowledge and agree that any information you transmit through the Site or upload for storage in connection with the Site is so transmitted or stored at your own risk. Please do not send us credit card information or sensitive information through e-mail. If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure (for example, if you feel that the security of any account you might have with us has been compromised), please immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us in accordance with the "Contacting Us" section below.

    3. Opt-Out.  If you do not wish to receive e-mails from us on a going-forward basis about products, programs, services, and promotions that we feel may be of interest to you as a member of the biomimicry community, you may opt-out of receiving such e-mails by following the instructions included in such emails. You can also change your preferences about receiving such e-mails by visiting your user profile page and clicking on the "Edit" link, un-checking the "Contact Me" box, and then clicking on "Save." Please note that you may not, however, opt-out of receiving important administrative communications from us.


    4. Changing or Updating PII.  If you would like to update the PII that you have provided to us through the Site, please visit your user profile page and click the "Edit" link to change the information found there. We will endeavor to comply with your request as soon as reasonably practicable.  Please note that we may need to retain certain information for recordkeeping purposes, and there may also be residual information that will remain within our databases and other records, which will not be removed.

    5. Note Regarding the Use of the Site by Children.  The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and we request that such individuals do not provide PII through the Site.

    6. Jurisdictional Issues.  We do not represent or warrant that the Site, or any part thereof, is appropriate or available for use in any particular jurisdiction. Those who choose to access the Site do so on their own initiative and at their own risk, and are responsible for complying with all local laws, rules and regulations. We may limit the Site's availability, in whole or in part, to any person, geographic area or jurisdiction we choose, at any time and in our sole discretion. By using the Site and submitting any PII, you consent to the transfer of PII to the United States and other countries, which may provide a different level of data security than in your country of residence.

    7. Contacting Us.  If you have any questions regarding this Policy, please contact us by e-mail at privacy[at]AskNature.org, or please write to the following address: The Biomimicry Institute, 257 W. Front Street, Suite B, Missoula, MT, USA 59802. Please note that e-mail communications will not necessarily be secure; accordingly you should not include credit card information or other sensitive information in your e-mail correspondence with us.