Privacy Policy

Summary

Simply visiting the Virginia Elections Hub (VEH) does not expose your identity publicly (but see private logging below).. This privacy policy was significantly helped by consulting the Wikimedia Foundation Privacy Policy

Sharing information with third parties

Except where otherwise specified, all text added to the VEH is available for reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial license.

When you submit to the VEH your email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses for any purpose, that data will only be used by VEH. VEH will not sell your information.

You also can, at any time, request that your information be removed from the VEH system. Such requests will be honored within one business day.

For Hub Members and Curators

When you edit any page on VEH, you are publishing a document. This is a public act, and you are identified publicly with that edit as its author.

Security of information

There is no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information may be available to anyone with access to the servers.

Deletion of content

Removing text from VEH does not permanently delete it. In normal articles, anyone can look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is “deleted”, any user with “administrator” access can see what was deleted. Information can be permanently deleted by those people with access to the servers, but there is no guarantee this will happen except in response to legal action.

Reasons for deletion include but are not limited to violation of copyright, content that does not belong in an Hub, content not verifiable in a reliable source, and unreferenced negative content in biographies of living persons.

Deletion of a VEH post removes the current version and all previous versions from view. Unlike page blanking, which can be performed (or reverted) by any user, deletion can be performed only by administrators. Administrators can also view deleted pages and reverse (“undelete”) any deletion. All such actions are logged.

Reasons for deletion

Reasons for deletion include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Advertising or other spam.
  • Content that isn’t suitable.
  • Copyright infringement
  • The article is a duplicate of another
  • Images that are unused or obsolete.
  • Images that violate fair-use policy.
  • Inappropriate user pages
  • Inflammatory redirects
  • Self-promotion
  • Naked campaign advertising
  • Patent nonsense or gibberish
  • Vandalism that is not correctable

Cookies

VEH will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. If you do not intend to ever log in, you may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. It will be deleted when you close your browser session.

More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your username (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don’t wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. (If so, clear the browser cache as well.)

Passwords

Many aspects of Ballotpedia depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user’s edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.

Private logging

Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to this one, and what web browsers people are using.

These logs are used to produce the site statistics pages; the raw log data is not made public, and is normally discarded after about two weeks.

Here’s a sample from Wikipedia–which uses the same logging system as VEH–of a log for one such page view:

64.164.82.142 - - [21/Oct/2003:02:03:19 +0000]
"GET /wiki/draft_privacy_policy HTTP/1.1" 200 18084
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_projects:Village_pump"
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/85.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85.5"

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 addresses of users, derived either from those logs or from records in the database are frequently used to correlate usernames and network addresses of edits in investigating abuse of the site, including the suspected use of malicious “sockpuppets” (duplicate accounts where one person logs into Ballotpedia under different names), vandalism, harassment of other users, or disruption of the site.

Policy on release of data derived from page logs

It is the policy of VEH that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
  2. With permission of the affected user
  3. To the chair of the owner of VEH, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of complaints
  4. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues
  5. Where the user has been vandalising articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
  6. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of VEH, its users or the public

VEH policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above.

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