Vital Signs is a community learning environment designed for students, teachers, citizen scientists, and scientists. Vital Signs is a program of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Portland, ME.
1. To register with the community you must provide an e-mail address or your parent’s e-mail address if you are under 13 years old. We use these e-mail addresses for Vital Signs communication only.
To better serve our teacher participants we ask for, but do not require, their name, their school, and a phone number in addition to their e-mail address.
2. We have your back to start, but everyone is responsible for maintaining their own privacy as they participate in commenting, discussing, and contributing observations and projects.
3. Public User Profiles are limited to username and length of participation, unless an individual user chooses to add affiliations and or details of their participation.
4. To better serve our community and meet our education and research goals we will collect information on how registered and non-registered users make use of this website in ways that protect your privacy.
1. Personal Data, Registration, and Treatment of Personal Data
a. Disclosure of Personal Data:
Personally Identifiable Information (“Personal Data”) is any information that can be used to identify a specific individual. To register with the Vital Signs Community we do not require your name, street address, or telephone number.
We will not sell your e-mail address. We will only use your e-mail address, your parent or guardian’s e-mail address if you are under 13 years old, or your teacher’s e-mail address if you are participating as part of a class, for the following purposes:
- An e-mail of welcome and acknowledgement of successful registration;
- Resetting forgotten passwords;
- Communicating problems with published data;
- Responding to site policy violations, and;
- Notifying you when your observations have been reviewed by an Expert Reviewer, and anytime someone leaves a Comment on an Observation, Project, or Education Resource that you have submitted. (Instructions for opting out of these notifications through your user profile will appear at the bottom of each e-mail.)
We will not disclose the Personal Data that you provide during the registration process on the website.
d. Our Use of Your Data:
We will use your Personal Data only for the purposes for which it was provided.
e. Contributions to the Site:
Please remember that information that you post in Discussion Forums, Comments, Species Observations, Species & Habitat Observations, Projects, and Education Resources instantly becomes public information associated with your Username. It is not screened prior to publication. Use caution when posting Comments, participating in the Discussion Forum, contributing Species Observations or Species & Habitat Observations, Projects, or Education Resources. Individuals under the age of 18 should be especially careful not to provide any personally identifiable information in their comments, Projects, Species Observations, or Species & Habitat Observations. Please see our User Agreement for the standards of behavior that must be followed when using these portions of the Site.
f. Sharing of Personal Data:
Personal Data collected by this Site will not be shared with GMRI affiliates.
If GMRI hires a third-party to perform a certain business-related function, that third party will only be provided with the particular Personal Data it needs to perform its function, and will be required to protect the Personal Data.
g. Links to Other Sites:
h. Data Security Disclaimer:
GMRI takes reasonable security precautions to secure the Personal Data that you provide against the loss, misuse, alteration or unauthorized access of such information. Unfortunately, no transmission of data over the Internet is guaranteed to be completely secure. It may be possible for third parties not under the control of GMRI to intercept or access transmissions or private communications unlawfully. While GMRI strives to protect your Personal Data, it cannot ensure or warrant the security of any Personal Data you transmit to GMRI. Any such transmission is done at your own risk. If you believe that your interaction with GMRI is no longer secure, please notify GMRI of the problem by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
i. Children and Privacy:
2. Public User Profiles
Public User Profiles: All users will have a Public User Profile within the Vital Signs website. By default, this public profile only displays the length of time that the user has been a member of the Vital Signs community. Individual users and Teams can manually update their profiles to reflect how they are participating in and contributing to the community. In addition, teachers may manually update their Public User Profiles to display the grades they teach, how they learned to collect data, and how long they have been collecting data. No Personal Data is included in the Public User Profile.
3. Data Collected for Program Evaluation and Development
a. Anonymous Data:
Anonymous data are information collected automatically through the operation of the Site. GMRI may collect site usage data (such as which Site pages you visit and in what sequence) through the use of various technologies. For example, GMRI collects IP addresses from individuals who visit the Site. An IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you're surfing the Web. Web servers, the computers that "serve up" Web pages, automatically identify your computer by its IP address, and when you request a page from a website, its servers log your IP address. We do not, however, link IP addresses to any Personal Data, so although your session will be logged, you will remain anonymous to us and to the Site.
Cookies and similar tools may be used to relate your use of the Site and Anonymous Data to Personal Data obtained from you. If any Anonymous Data are linked with Personal Data, the linked Anonymous Data will then be treated as Personal Data.
GMRI may also use Personal Data in aggregate form for purposes of evaluation, research, or analysis. In order to better understand and serve the users of the Vital Signs website, GMRI may conduct research on Vital Signs users’ demographics, interests and behavior based on Personal Data gathered. Although this aggregated data may be based in part on Personal Data, it does not identify you personally. GMRI may share this type of Anonymous Data with a variety of third parties, including its affiliates, parents, and subsidiaries.
GMRI may use Anonymous Data collected from the Site for site administration, advertising and promotional purposes, and GMRI may share such information with various affiliated and unaffiliated entities for such purposes. For example, IP addresses are used for the purposes of system administration and to provide Anonymous Data to foundations and donors about the volume of use on the Site.
4. Other Terms, Conditions, and Details:
a. Your access to and use of this Site is subject to the Vital Signs User Agreement.
b. Applicable Law:
d. Contacting GMRI Regarding Your Privacy:
Vital Signs Program
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
350 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
Telephone: (207) 228-1631
Fax: (207) 772-6855