Privacy Policy

Effective Date: June 10, 2013

CaringBridge Inc. ("CaringBridge," "us" or "we") operates the CaringBridge.org website and mobile application as a free online service (this "Service") to help families and friends stay in touch during a significant health challenge.

Our Commitment to Transparency

CaringBridge is committed to providing the information you need to make informed choices about the ways you use our Service. This Privacy Policy describes the personal information we collect when you use our Service. It also describes how we use the personal information you share with us and some of the steps we take to protect your privacy.

CaringBridge has been awarded TRUSTe's Privacy Seal signifying that this privacy policy and practices have been reviewed by TRUSTe for compliance with TRUSTe's program requirements including transparency, accountability and choice regarding the collection and use of your personal information. TRUSTe's mission, as an independent third party, is to accelerate online trust among consumers and organizations globally through its leading privacy trustmark and innovative trust solutions. If you have questions or complaints regarding our privacy policy or practices, please contact us at privacy@caringbridge.org. If you are not satisfied with our response you can contact TRUSTe by clicking here.

Personal Information and Privacy Settings

When you use our Service, you may be creating and maintaining a Site on behalf of yourself or another person, or visiting and posting to a Site created by someone else. By their very nature, these Sites contain a great deal of personal information about the subject of the Site and other individuals. For this reason we allow the creator of a Site to control the level of privacy they apply to their Site. Our goal is to balance our users' need to find each other and communicate information and support against our users' desire for a measure of privacy.

Every member of a caring community, including the creators of Sites and all users are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the website address of a Site in accordance with the subject's wishes.

What Information is Collected by CaringBridge?

Information You Volunteer. CaringBridge collects the personal information you and others knowingly and voluntarily provide when you use our Service on our website or through our mobile application, for example, the personal information you provide when you create or post content on a Site, complete a survey, make a donation, use our "tell a friend" feature, or contact our customer care personnel. "Personal information" means information about an identified or identifiable individual. Examples of personal information include your name, your email address, address, credit card information and your photograph.

Credit Card Information. If you provide credit card information through the Service, the information you provide is never stored on our server. Instead, when you click on the "submit" button, it is forwarded immediately to a third-party service provider for processing. We use industry standard Secure Sockets Layering (SSL) software to encrypt all of your credit card information as it travels over the Internet and via wireless methods to our third-party service provider. We do not retain a copy of your credit card information. Our third-party services providers use your credit card information only to process your transaction (and for fraud prevention purposes) and are bound by contract to keep your credit card information confidential.

Information Collected From Your Mobile Device. When using our mobile application we will collect your device type and the operating system you are using to create aggregate statistics in order to improve our mobile application.

We do not ask you for access or track any location based information from your mobile device at any time while downloading or using our mobile application or services.

Information Sent to Us by Your Web Browser. We collect information that is sent to us automatically by your web browser and through our mobile application. This information typically includes your IP address, the identity of your Internet service provider, the name and version of your operating system, the name and version of your browser, the date and time of your visit, and the pages you visit. Please check your browser if you want to learn what information your browser sends or how to change your settings. Generally, we do not link the information provided by your browser to information that identifies you by name.

More About IP Addresses. An "IP address" is a unique number that is automatically assigned to your computer when you connect to the Internet. It is used to identify your computer's "location" in cyberspace, so that the information you request can be delivered to you. If you use a dialup connection or a connection that assigns dynamic IP addresses, your computer will be assigned a new IP address each time you connect to the Internet. If, however, your computer is permanently connected to the Internet using a static IP address, the IP address assigned to your computer will generally be the same each time you use your computer.

IP addresses do not include your name, email address or other information that identifies you personally, but in some cases, they can be used to identify you. For example, we may link your IP address to account information that identifies you personally. We may also provide your IP address to our third-party service provider who can use it to identify your state and zip code. This gives us valuable demographic information about the individuals who use the Service. The third-party service provider is bound by contract to use the IP addresses we provide only for this purpose. In addition, if, for example, we suspect fraud or a threat to the security of the Service, we may share our server logs - which contain IP addresses - with the appropriate investigative authorities, who could use that information to trace and identify individuals.

Cookies and Similar Technologies. We use "cookies" and other web technologies to collect information and support certain features of the Service on our website. For example, we may use these technologies to:

  • collect information about the ways people use the Service - which pages they visit, which links they use, and how long they stay on each page;
  • support the features and functionality of the Service - for example, to save you the trouble of reentering information already in our database or to prompt the settings you established on previous visits; and
  • personalize your experience when you use the Service.

Generally, the information we collect using these web technologies does not identify you personally. If, however, you have created a user identity, for example by registering, we may link the information we collect using these web technologies to other information that identifies you personally.

If you do not wish to receive cookies, you may set your browser to reject cookies or to alert you when a cookie is placed on your computer. You may also delete our cookies as soon as you leave the Service. Although you are not required to accept our cookies when you visit the Service, if you set your browser to reject cookies, you will not be able to use all of the features and functionality of the Service.

The use of cookies by our partners, tracking utility company, service providers is not covered by our privacy statement. In some instances we have access or control over these cookies. Our partners, tracking utility company, service providers use session ID cookies to track site visitor data and facilitate our partnerships.

Our third party tracking-utility partner uses a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. Web Beacons/Web Bugs), that help us better manage content on our Sites by informing us what content is effective on our website. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, and are used to track the online movements of Web users. In contrast to cookies, which are stored on a user's computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on Web pages and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. We do not tie the information gathered by clear gifs to our customers' personally identifiable information.

How Do We Use the Personal Information We Collect Through the Site?

Generally. CaringBridge does not use any personal information posted in content on a Site, except to provide our Service to you, your friends and your family. We may use the personal information we collect through the Service:

  • to provide the information you request;
  • to contact you regarding your use of the Service;
  • to send you news and information we believe will be of interest to you (in accordance with any privacy preferences you have expressed to us);
  • to invite you to participate in surveys and provide feedback to us (in accordance with any privacy preferences you have expressed to us);
  • to solicit your financial support for the CaringBridge mission (in accordance with any privacy preferences you have expressed to us);
  • to better understand your needs and interests;
  • to improve the content, functionality and usability of the Service;
  • to provide you with a personalized experience when you use the Service;
  • to improve our outreach and fundraising efforts;
  • for security, credit or fraud prevention purposes;
  • for any other purpose identified in an applicable privacy notice; and
  • for any other purpose identified in a click-through agreement or other agreement between CaringBridge and you.

Survey Information. From time to time, we may post a survey on the Service, if we have your contact information and your consent, we may send you a questionnaire or survey. Your participation in any survey is always voluntary. We compile statistical information from the responses to our surveys. These statistics do not identify you personally. These statistics help us understand the needs and preferences of the groups we serve and improve the content and functionality of the Site.

Email Communications from the Site. We will occasionally send you information about products, services, newsletters and promotions on our Service. You can sign up for these emails from us on our registration page. Out of respect for your privacy, we present the option not to receive these types of communications. If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter and promotional communications, you may opt-out of receiving them by following the instructions included in each newsletter or communication or by emailing us at customercarecaringbridge.org. We offer an opportunity to opt-out of certain communications in your account, or you may contact us at customercarecaringbridge.org or CaringBridge 1715 Yankee Doodle Rd. Suite 301, Eagan, MN 55121 to opt-out.

Notifications from the Mobile Application. When using our mobile application we will provide you with the opportunity to opt into receiving notifications from us through your device. If you no longer wish to receive these communications you may opt out of receiving them at the device level.

How Does CaringBridge Share Personal Information With Others?

CaringBridge does not share, sell or disclose personal information collected through the Services, except as specifically disclosed in this Privacy Policy.

Site Creators. If you engage with a particular Site, we may share your name and email address with the creator of the site. For example, we provide your name and email address to the creator of a Site on which you post content or on which you choose to receive notifications. We will also provide your name and email address to the creator of any Site that requires visitors to log in. Likewise, unless you choose to remain anonymous, we share your name and email address with the creator of a Site to which you dedicate a donation.

Invite Others. If you choose to use our referral service to tell a friend about our Service or share a Site through our website or mobile application, we will ask you for your friend's name and email address. We will automatically send your friend a one-time email inviting him or her to visit the site. CaringBridge does not store this information, and collects this information for the sole purpose of sending this one-time email.

Third-Party Vendors. CaringBridge shares personal information collected through our Service with third-party service providers such as our customer support vendor which utilizes live chat software who act for or on behalf of CaringBridge. These third-party service providers may need information about you in order to perform their functions. These companies are required by contract to keep your personal information confidential and may use it only to provide services on our behalf.

Donors. If you donate to CaringBridge, we will not sell, trade or share a donor's personal information with other organizations, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations.

Business Transfers. Your personal information may be transferred to a successor organization if, for example, we transfer the ownership or operation of our Service to another organization or if we merge with another organization. If such a transfer occurs, the successor organization's use of your personal information will still be subject to this Privacy Policy and the privacy preferences you have expressed to us.

Compliance with Laws and Protection of Our Rights and the Rights of Others. We may disclose your personal information when we, in good faith, believe disclosure is appropriate to comply with the law, a court order or a subpoena. We may also disclose your personal information to prevent or investigate a possible crime, such as fraud or identity theft; to protect the security of our Service; to enforce or apply our online Terms of Use or other agreements; or to protect our own rights or property or the rights, property or safety of our Users or others.

Statistics. CaringBridge shares statistical information about the use of our Service with our donors, sponsors and partners. This information does not identify any individual personally.

Data Retention

We will retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you services. If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you services contact us at privacy@caringbridge.org. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

Updating/Accessing/Amending/Correcting Personally Identifiable Information

If your personally identifiable information changes, you may correct, update or amend it by making the change in your account, or by contacting us at customercarecaringbridge.org. If you no longer desire our service, you may deactivate your account by contacting us at customercarecaringbridge.org.

What Steps Does CaringBridge Take to Safeguard Personal Information?

We maintain reasonable administrative, physical and technological measures to protect the confidentiality and security of your personal information. For example, we use industry standard Secure Sockets Layering (SSL) encryption to protect your Author profile information, Site creation information, donation information, and credit card information as it travels over the Internet or via wireless transmission. We restrict access to our data center and our databases, and we use a secure server dedicated to online donations to protect your personal and financial information. We also have firewall protection in place.

Unfortunately, no website, server or database is 100% secure. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. For this reason, you should use care and discretion when you post content on a Site and never post information that can be used for identity theft purposes, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers.

Protecting Children Under the Age of Thirteen

Caring communities may include friends and family of all ages. Special care must be taken to protect children under the age of 13. For this reason, CaringBridge does not permit children under the age of 18 to create or maintain their Sites, or children under the age of 13 to register as users.

Privacy Notices

This Privacy Policy may be supplemented or amended from time to time by "privacy notices" posted on the Service. These privacy notices provide a level of detail that we cannot provide in this more general description of our privacy practices. For example, certain pages of the Service contain privacy notices providing details about the personal information we collect on those pages, why we need that information, and choices you may have about the ways we use that information.

Country-Specific Notices

Privacy requirements vary from country to country. To meet these requirements we may from time to time include "country-specific notices" as part of this Privacy Policy. If any of the terms of a country-specific notice are different than the general terms of this policy, the terms of the country-specific notice will supplement or amend this Privacy Policy, but only to the extent that the laws of that country apply to the collection of personal information through the Service.

This Privacy Policy May Change

This Privacy Policy describes CaringBridge's current policies and practices with regard to the personal information we collect through the Service. Periodically, we will update or revise this Privacy Policy. If we make any changes we will notify you by posting the revised version of this Privacy Policy behind the link marked "Privacy Policy" at the bottom of each page of the website. We will also update the "Effective Date" at the top of this page. If we make any material changes we will notify you by email (sent to the email address specified in your account) or by means of a prominent notice on this Site prior to the change becoming effective. You may access the current version of this Privacy Policy at any time by clicking the link marked "Privacy Policy" at the bottom of the home page of the website.

Links to Other Sites

This Service, including individual Sites, may provide links to other websites operated by third parties. Because we have no control over third-party websites, we are not responsible for the availability of those websites and do not endorse and are not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, services, products, or other materials on or available from such websites. CaringBridge shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, advertising, services, products, or other materials on or available from such websites. This Privacy Policy does not apply to your use of third-party websites; your use of such websites is subject to the terms and policies of the owner of such websites.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our privacy practices, please contact us by email at privacy@caringbridge.org or by mail at CaringBridge, 1715 Yankee Doodle Road, Suite 301, Eagan, MN, U.S.A. 55121, Attn: Privacy Coordinator.