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Privacy Policy

Updated: May 30, 2014

The websites of the Windows to the Universe ("W2U") and the National Earth Sciences Teachers Association ("NESTA") (collectively, the "W2U websites") are operated by NESTA. This Privacy Policy covers use of information collected by the W2U websites.

We are devoted to providing entertaining, and safe websites for everyone, and to safeguarding personal information collected on the W2U websites. We work to ensure that our privacy policy and our information practices adhere to applicable data privacy laws. We ensure that our privacy policy and our information practices adhere to the United States Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and other applicable data privacy laws. This Privacy Policy describes the information practices of the W2U websites.

1. The Information We Collect From All W2U Website Users

As described in this Privacy Policy, for certain benefits such as subscriptions to free newsletters, the W2U websites collect certain personally identifiable information ("PII") so that we may deliver the newsletters or other benefits. Also, for certain benefits and services, including memberships and purchases, we collect financial information as set out in Section 4 of this Privacy Policy. We do not use this financial information except to process payments. The financial information that you enter to purchase a membership or products is not stored by W2U or NESTA, but, instead, is retained by our payment processor for the purpose of processing credit card payments made to W2U or NESTA. Without such personal information, the W2U websites cannot provide you with W2U membership, or newsletter and may not be able to provide access to certain content and functionality on the W2U website, or to provide other information, products or services which may be requested.

For some of our online activities, such as surveys, we may ask users to provide information that is not personally identifiable, such as country of residence or age. Also, when visitors go to our sites, we may passively collect certain non-personally identifiable computer data, such as the type of computer operating system (e.g., Windows XP or Mac OS), the user's IP Address, the web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape), how often users visit various sections of our sites, and data regarding the Internet service provider. We collect this information to make our sites more interesting and effective for you and as well as for various purposes related to our operations. We may collect this non-personally identifiable information through the use of technologies such as unique identifiers or "cookies." Cookies are small text files that we place in visitors' computer browsers to store their preferences. You can choose to turn off all cookies, but if you do, you will not have access to many features that make your Web experience smoother, and some of our services may not function properly.

2. The Information We Collect from Children Under 13

Our procedures for collecting, using, and disclosing personal information from children under 13 vary depending on the service or benefit, and we never condition a child's participation in an activity on the child's disclosing more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in that activity.

For the "Ask a Scientist" section of the W2U websites, we request only the first name and state or country of the questioner. We post the question and the response with only the questioner's first name and state/country.

For certain classroom applications, teachers store students' names and email addresses on the W2U websites. For these applications, teachers have represented to the W2U websites that they or their institution have obtained the permission of the student's parents.

For activities which require a child to register with the W2U websites for free services, we require the child to provide a parent's valid email address in order to register. We use this information to send the parent a communication that can be used to activate the W2U account, to send the parent communications about the parent's and child's W2U accounts or about elements of our sites, and for other purposes set forth in this Privacy Policy.

For example, before a child under 13 can receive our free newsletter, we directly collect from the child during our initial registration process a parent's email address in order for us to contact the parent for permission to provide the newsletter to the child. We will then request from the parent the child's name and confirmation of the email address to which the free newsletter should be sent (if different from the parent's email address).

When a child requests a paid membership, we collect additional PII from the child's parent including the parent's full name, email address, and credit card billing information including mailing address.

3. How We Use, Disclose, and Store the Information We Collect

In addition to the purposes described in Sections 1 and 2, we may collect and use user email addresses, user names, and physical addresses for various purposes, including tracking website usage. We may also use email addresses and user names to permit parents to review PII that the children have submitted to the W2U websites and to provide notification regarding the site, such as membership renewal information. We also may use information in the aggregate to analyze site usage, as well as to offer products, programs, or services. We occasionally allow selected educationally relevant organizations to present opportunities to our members through direct mail or email.  Users have the opportunity to opt-out of these communications, which help support our programs, through the membership and subscription forms on the site, or by updating their user profile on the website. 

We may disclose information where we are required to do so by law, for example, in response to a court order or a subpoena, or where we disclose information to service providers or other group companies who provide support for the operations of our website and who do not use or disclose the information for any other purpose. To the extent permitted by applicable law, we also may disclose PII in response to a law enforcement agency's or other public agency's (including schools or children services) request or if we feel that such disclosure may prevent the instigation of a crime, facilitate an investigation related to public safety or protect the safety of a child using our website, protect the security or integrity of our website, or enable us to take precautions against liability.

If we transfer all or part of our assets or are otherwise involved in a merger of some type, we may transfer PII to a third party as part of that transaction, to the extent permitted by applicable law.

Finally, the W2U websites are hosted in the United States, and all PII will be stored in the United States.

4. Financial Information

If you decide to purchase membership or products from our online store, we require that at the time of purchase you provide your full name (or your parent's full name, if you are a minor), your email address, and your credit card billing information including your mailing address. Your credit card number is not retained by W2U, and, instead, is collected and stored by our payment processor for the purpose of processing payments made to W2U. That information is safeguarded with appropriate security, and it will not be used for other purposes. Furthermore, our payment processor has agreed to maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal and financial information it obtains from the W2U website, and only to use this information on our behalf. Our financial institution is bound by all applicable privacy laws relating to the provision of financial services.

5. Security

The security of your personal information is very important. We have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and help prevent unauthorized access, maintain data security, and use the information we collect online appropriately. When you submit sensitive information, such as your credit card number, we encrypt that information using secure socket layer technology.

6. Access to Information

Please contact the National Earth Sciences Teachers Association if you would like to access the PII that we have collected online from you or your child, correct factual errors in such information, request to have this information deleted, or request that we no longer collect or maintain such information.

Please include your email address and a telephone number where we can reach you. To protect you and your child's privacy and security, we will take reasonable steps to help verify your identity before granting you access to the personal information that we collect and maintain about you or your child.

7. Contact Us

If you have questions, please send an e-mail to webmaster@windows2universe.org or write us:
National Earth Sciences Teachers Association
PO Box 20854
Boulder, CO 80308-3854

8. Effective Date

The privacy policy set out above is effective as of October 19, 2010, and applies to all information previously obtained by the W2U websites. We reserve the right to change the privacy policy at our sole discretion, and we will inform you of any such change by posting a new privacy policy on the W2U websites along with the effective date. We will also obtain consent to uses of PII in ways that are materially different from the ones described in this Privacy Policy.

Last modified May 30, 2014 by Julia Genyuk.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA