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Because we believe that you shouldn’t have to provide personal information to participate in the free knowledge movement, you may:
- Read, edit, or use any Wikimedia Site without registering an account.
- Register for an account without providing an email address or real name.
Because we want to understand how Wikimedia Sites are used so we can make them better for you, we collect some information when you:
- Make public contributions.
- Register an account or update your user page.
- Use the Wikimedia Sites.
- Send us emails or participate in a survey or give feedback.
We are committed to:
- Using reasonable measures to keep your information secure.
- Never selling your information or sharing it with third parties for marketing purposes.
- Only sharing your information in limited circumstances, such as to improve the Wikimedia Sites, to comply with the law, or to protect you and others.
- Retaining your data for the shortest possible time that is consistent with maintaining, understanding, and improving the Wikimedia Sites, and our obligations under law.
- Any content you add or any change that you make to a Wikimedia Site will be publicly and permanently available.
- If you add content or make a change to a Wikimedia Site without logging in, that content or change will be publicly and permanently attributed to the IP address used at the time rather than a username.
- Our community of volunteer editors and contributors is a self-policing body. Certain administrators of the Wikimedia Sites, who are chosen by the community, use tools that grant them limited access to nonpublic information about recent contributions so they may protect the Wikimedia Sites and enforce policies.
- As part of our commitment to education and research around the world, we occasionally release public information and aggregated or non-personal information to the general public through data dumps and data sets.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Collection & Use of Info
- 2.1 Types of Information We Receive From You & How We Get It
- 2.2 Information Related to Your Use of the Wikimedia Sites
- 2.3 How We Use Information We Receive From You
- 2.4 Other
- 3 Sharing
- 4 Protection
- 5 Important info
This Policy explains how we collect, use, and share your personal information.
- We collect very little personal information about you.
- We do not rent or sell your information to third parties.
By using Wikimedia Sites, you consent to this Policy.
The Wikimedia movement is founded on a simple, but powerful principle: we can do more together than any of us can do alone. We cannot work collectively without gathering, sharing, and analyzing information about our users as we seek new ways to make the Wikimedia Sites more usable, safer, and more beneficial.
We believe that you shouldn't have to provide nonpublic personal information to participate in the free knowledge movement. You do not have to provide things like your real name, address, or date of birth to sign up for a standard account or contribute content to the Wikimedia Sites.
We do not sell or rent your Personal Information, nor do we give it to others to sell you anything. We use it to figure out how to make the Wikimedia Sites more engaging and accessible, to see which ideas work, and to make learning and contributing more fun. Put simply: we use this information to make the Wikimedia Sites better for you.
After all, it's people like you, the champions of free knowledge, who make it possible for the Wikimedia Sites to not only exist, but also grow and thrive.
DefinitionsBack to top
Because everyone (not just lawyers) should be able to easily understand how and why their information is collected and used, we use common language instead of more formal terms throughout this Policy. To help ensure your understanding of some particular key terms, here is a table of translations:
When we say...... we mean:
"the Wikimedia Foundation" / "the Foundation" / "we" / "us" / "our"
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the Wikimedia Sites.
"Wikimedia Sites" / "our services"
"you" / "your" / "me"
You, regardless of whether you are an individual, group, or organization, and regardless of whether you are using the Wikimedia Sites or our services on behalf of yourself or someone else.
Content you add or changes you make to any Wikimedia Sites.
Information you provide us or information we collect from you that could be used to personally identify you. To be clear, while we do not necessarily collect all of the following types of information, we consider at least the following to be “personal information” if it is otherwise nonpublic and can be used to identify you:
- (a) your real name, address, phone number, email address, password, identification number on government-issued ID, IP address, user-agent information, credit card number;
- (b) when associated with one of the items in subsection (a), any sensitive data such as date of birth, gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origins, marital or familial status, medical conditions or disabilities, political affiliation, and religion; and
- (c) any of the items in subsections (a) or (b) when associated with your user account.
- All of our major sites (found at list of major projects), such as Wikipedia, including user pages, discussion pages, and noticeboards.
- Our blogs and APIs (unless we have provided a separate policy for those services).
- Official Wikimedia Foundation mobile applications.
- Emails, SMS, and notifications from us or sent to us from you.
- Wikimedia Sites and Tools with alternative policies
- Wikimedia Shop (covered by the shop's policy);
- Community members
- Administrative volunteers, such as CheckUsers or Stewards. These are volunteers who enforce Wikimedia Site policies and ensure the safety of the Wikimedia Sites. When these administrators access Personal Information that is nonpublic, they are required to comply with our Access to Nonpublic Information Policy, as well as other, tool-specific policies.
- Tool providers. Tool providers. We support platforms for third-party developers to experiment and develop new tools and sites, such as wmflabs.org. When you use one of the tools developed by these volunteers, you may transfer information to them. When these volunteers access nonpublic information or Personal Information, they are required to comply with the terms governing the particular platform the tool is available on.
- Other users. We provide several tools that allow users to communicate with each other. The communications may be covered by this Policy while they pass through our systems, but the users who receive these communications, and what they do with the communications once they receive them, are not covered by this Policy. Examples include:
- posting to Foundation-hosted email lists;
- requesting support from volunteers through our online ticketing system (email sent to info[at]wikimedia.org goes to this system);
- emailing other users through the Wikimedia Sites (for example, by using the "Email this user" feature); and
- chatting on IRC (such as on the #wikipedia channel).
- Third parties
- Websites run by other organizations, like websites linked to from the “References” sections of Wikipedia, or run by Wikimedia chapters or other movement organizations. These organizations may receive information from you if you visit their websites after using one of the Wikimedia Sites. They are governed by their own privacy policies.
- Mobile applications provided by other organizations or individuals. These organizations or individuals may receive information from you if you use those applications to access the Wikimedia Sites or Wikimedia Site content. They are governed by their own privacy policies.
Sometimes, volunteers may place a data-collecting tool, such as a script, gadget, tracking pixel, or share button, on a Wikimedia Site without our knowledge. This Policy does not cover how third parties handle the information they receive as a result of such a tool. If you come across such a third-party tool, and you believe it violates this Policy, you can remove the tool yourself, or report it to privacy[at]wikimedia.org so we can investigate.
Where community policies govern information, such as the CheckUser policy, the relevant community may add to the rules and obligations set out in this Policy. However, they are not permitted to create new exceptions or otherwise reduce the protections offered by this Policy.
Types of Information We Receive From You & How We Get It
Your Public Contributions
Whatever you post on Wikimedia Sites can be seen and used by everyone.
When you make a contribution to any Wikimedia Site, including on user or discussion pages, you are creating a permanent, public record of every piece of content added, removed, or altered by you. The page history will show when your contribution or deletion was made, as well as your username (if you are signed in) or your IP address (if you are not signed in). We may use your public contributions, either aggregated with the public contributions of others or individually, to create new features or data-related products for you or to learn more about how the Wikimedia Sites are used.Publicly Visible Information
Unless this Policy says otherwise, you should assume that information that you actively contribute to the Wikimedia Sites, including Personal Information, is publicly visible and can be found by search engines. Like most things on the Internet, anything you share may be copied and redistributed throughout the Internet by other people. Please do not contribute any information that you are uncomfortable making permanently public, like revealing your real name or location in your contributions.
You should be aware that specific data made public by you or aggregated data that is made public by us can be used by anyone for analysis and to infer further information, such as which country a user is from, political affiliation and gender.Back to top
Account Information & Registration
You do not need to create an account to use any Wikimedia Site.
If you do create an account, you do not need to give us your name or email address.
If you do not create an account, your contributions will be publicly attributed to your IP address.
Want to create an account? Great! Don't want to create an account? No problem!
You are not required to create an account to read or contribute to a Wikimedia Site, except under rare circumstances. However, if you contribute without signing in, your contribution will be publicly attributed to the IP address associated with your device.
If you want to create a standard account, in most cases we require only a username and a password.More on Usernames
Your username will be publicly visible, so please be careful about using your real name as your username. Your password is only used to verify that the account is yours. Your IP address is also automatically submitted to us, and we record it temporarily to help prevent abuse. No other personal information is required: no name, no email address, no date of birth, no credit card information.
Once created, user accounts cannot be removed entirely (although you can usually hide the information on your user page if you choose to). This is because your public contributions must be associated with their author (you!). In some circumstances, the Wikimedia communities can assist users with removing additional information related to their account from the projects.
To gain a better understanding of the demographics of our users, to localize our services and to learn how we can improve our services, we may ask you for more demographic information, such as gender or age, about yourself. We will tell you if such information is intended to be public or private, so that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to provide us with that information. Providing such information is always completely optional. If you don't want to, you don't have to—it's as simple as that.Back to top
GPS & Other Location Technologies
Some features we offer work better if we know what area you are in.
If you consent, we can use GPS (and other technologies commonly used to determine location) to show you more relevant content. We keep information obtained by these technologies confidential, except as provided in this Policy. You can learn more by checking out the list of examples of how we use these technologies in our FAQ.Back to top
Sometimes, we automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you want to upload a photo on the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, we may receive metadata, such as the place and time you took the photo, automatically from your device. Please be aware that, unlike location information collected using GPS signals described above, the default setting on your mobile device typically includes the metadata in your photo or video upload to the Wikimedia Sites. If you do not want metadata sent to us and made public at the time of your upload, please change your settings on your device.Back to top
Finally, when you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device (or your proxy server) you are using to access the Internet, which could be used to infer your geographical location.Back to top
Information Related to Your Use of the Wikimedia Sites
We use certain technologies to collect information about how you use Wikimedia Sites.
Like other websites, we receive some information about you automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites.
We also use a variety of commonly-used technologies, like cookies, to collect information regarding how you use the Wikimedia Sites, make our services safer and easier to use, and to help create a better and more customizable experience for you.
We want to make the Wikimedia Sites better for you by learning more about how you use them. Examples of this might include how often you visit the Wikimedia Sites, what you like, what you find helpful, how you get to the Wikimedia Sites, and whether you would use a helpful feature more if we explained it differently. We also want this Policy and our practices to reflect our community's values. For this reason, we keep information related to your use of the Wikimedia Sites confidential, except as provided in this Policy.Back to top
Information We Receive Automatically
Because of how browsers work, we receive some information automatically when you visit the Wikimedia Sites. This information includes the type of device you are using (possibly including unique device identification numbers, for some beta versions of our mobile applications), the type and version of your browser, your browser's language preference, the type and version of your device's operating system, in some cases the name of your internet service provider or mobile carrier, the website that referred you to the Wikimedia Sites, which pages you request and visit, and the date and time of each request you make to the Wikimedia Sites.
Put simply, we use this information to enhance your experience with Wikimedia Sites. For example, we use this information to administer the sites, provide greater security, and fight vandalism; optimize mobile applications, customize content and set language preferences, test features to see what works, and improve performance; understand how users interact with the Wikimedia Sites, track and study use of various features, gain understanding about the demographics of the different Wikimedia Sites, and analyze trends.Back to top
Information We Collect
We use a variety of commonly-used technologies, like cookies, to understand how you use the Wikimedia Sites, make our services safer and easier to use, and to help create a better and more customizable experience for you.
Depending on which technology we use, locally stored data can be anything from text, pictures, and whole articles (as we explain further below) to Personal Information (like your IP address) and information about your use of the Wikimedia Sites (like your username or the time of your visit).
We use this information to make your experience with the Wikimedia Sites safer and better, to gain a greater understanding of user preferences and their interaction with the Wikimedia Sites, and to generally improve our services. We will never use third-party cookies, unless we get your permission to do so. If you ever come across a third-party data collection tool that has not been authorized by you (such as one that may have been mistakenly placed by another user or administrator), please report it to us at [email protected].More on Locally Stored Data
- Provide you with a customizable experience, such as using cookies to know your language preference, to remember the user preferences you set so we can provide you with the customized look and feel that you want, and to tell you about interesting Wikimedia issues and events in your area.
- Understand how you use the Wikimedia Sites across different devices, so that we can make our varied Wikimedia Sites more efficient and effective for you.
- Make the Wikimedia Sites more convenient to use, such as by using cookies to maintain your session when you log in or to remember your username in the login field.
Want to know even more? You can read more about some of the specific cookies we use, when they expire, and what we use them for in our FAQ.
We believe this data collection helps improve your user experience, but you may remove or disable some or all locally stored data through your browser settings, depending on your browser. You can learn more about some options you have in our FAQ. While locally stored data may not be necessary to use our sites, some features will not function properly if you disable locally stored data.
While the examples above concerning information about you collected through the use of data collection tools are kept confidential in accordance with this Policy, please note that some information about the actions taken by your username is made publicly available through public logs alongside actions taken by other users. For example, a public log may include the date your account was created on a Wikimedia Site along with the dates that other accounts were created on a Wikimedia Site.Back to top
How We Use Information We Receive From You
We and our service providers use your information for the legitimate purpose of pursuing our charitable mission, including:Operating the Wikimedia Sites, sharing your contributions and administering our Services.
- To help you share your knowledge with the world and add new features to our Services.
- To arrange access to your account and provide you with related service.
- To send administrative information to you, such as changes to our policies.
- To allow you to send messages to another person if you choose to do so. Direct communications between users (such as messages sent through the "Email this user" feature), to the extent such communications are nonpublic and stored in or in transit through Wikimedia Foundation systems, are kept confidential by us, except as provided in this Policy.
We engage in these activities to manage our relationship with you, because we have a legitimate interest and/or to comply with our legal obligations.Providing customized Services.
- To provide to you custom content, notices and settings and to enhance your experience with the Wikimedia Sites.
We will customize the Services, in some instances, at your direction; in all instances, in keeping with our legitimate charitable purpose of pursuing our mission.Sending emails with news updates, surveys and communications about items we believe may be of interest to you.
- To let you know about things that are happening with the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Sites or the Wikimedia movement.
- To alert you when there has been a change to an article that you have decided to follow.
We will send these types of emails to you only with your consent. We do not sell, rent, or use your email address to advertise third-party products or services to you. You can manage what kinds of notifications you receive and how often you receive them by going to your Notifications Preferences. You can learn more about email and notifications and how to change your preferences in our FAQ.Sending optional surveys and requesting feedback.
We will always tell you, at the time we give you an opportunity to share your thoughts, how we plan on using your answers and any personal information you provide.
Your responses to our surveys and feedback requests are always optional. We will email these types of requests to you only with your consent. You can manage what kinds of notifications you receive and how often you receive them by going to your Notifications Preferences. You can learn more about email and notifications and how to change your preferences in our FAQ.Improving the Wikimedia Sites and making your user experience safer and better.
- To use your public contributions, either aggregated with the public contributions of others or individually, to create new features or data-related products for you or to learn more about how the Wikimedia Sites are used.
- For research and analytics.
- To fight spam, identity theft, malware and other kinds of abuse.
- To optimize mobile and other applications.
- To test features to see what works, understand how users interact with the Wikimedia Sites, track and study use of various features, gain understanding about the demographics of the different Wikimedia Sites and analyze trends.
We engage in these activities to further our legitimate charitable purpose and/or to comply with our legal obligations.Back to top
GPS & Other Location Technologies
As stated above, we can use commonly-used location technologies to show you more relevant content. For example, our mobile apps can identify articles from the Wikimedia sites about points of interest near your location. As a reminder, you can deactivate our access to these location technologies at any time, and still use the Wikimedia Sites.Back to top
As stated above, we may automatically receive location data from your device. For example, if you upload a photo using the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, please be aware that the default setting on your mobile device typically results in the metadata associated with your photo being included in the upload. As a reminder, if you do not want metadata sent to us and made public at the time of your upload, please change your settings on your device.Back to top
When you visit any Wikimedia Site, we automatically receive the IP address of the device (or your proxy server) you are using to access the Internet, which could be used to infer your geographical location. We keep IP addresses confidential, except as provided in this Policy. If you are visiting Wikimedia Sites with your mobile device, we may use your IP address to provide anonymized or aggregated information to service providers regarding the volume of usage in certain areas.
We use this location information to make your experience with the Wikimedia Sites safer and better, to gain a greater understanding of user preferences and their interaction with the Wikimedia Sites, and to generally improve our services. For example, we use this information to provide greater security, optimize mobile applications, and learn how to expand and better support Wikimedia communities. We also use Personal Information in the manner described in the sections of this Policy titled "For Legal Reasons" and "To Protect You, Ourselves & Others."Back to top
When May We Share Your Information?
With Your Permission
We may share your information when you give us specific permission to do so, for legal reasons, and in the other circumstances described below.
We share your information for a particular purpose, if you agree. You can find more information in the list of examples in our FAQ.Back to top
For Legal Reasons
We will disclose your information in response to an official legal process only if we believe it to be legally valid. We will notify you of such requests when possible.
We will access, use, preserve, and/or disclose your Personal Information if we reasonably believe it necessary to satisfy a valid and legally enforceable warrant, subpoena, court order, law or regulation, or other judicial or administrative order. However, if we believe that a particular request for disclosure of a user's information is legally invalid or an abuse of the legal system and the affected user does not intend to oppose the disclosure themselves, we will try our best to fight it. We are committed to notifying you via email at least ten (10) calendar days, when possible, before we disclose your Personal Information in response to a legal demand. However, we may only provide notice if we are not legally restrained from contacting you, there is no credible threat to life or limb that is created or increased by disclosing the request, and you have provided us with an email address.
For more information, see our Subpoena FAQ.Back to top
If the Organization is Transferred (Really Unlikely!)
To Protect You, Ourselves & Others
We, or users with certain administrative rights, may disclose information that is reasonably necessary to:
- enforce or investigate potential violations of the Wikimedia Foundation or community-based policies;
- protect our organization, infrastructure, employees, contractors, or the public; or
- prevent imminent or serious bodily harm or death to a person.
Wikimedia Sites are collaborative, with users writing most of the policies and selecting from amongst themselves people to hold certain administrative rights. These rights may include access to limited amounts of otherwise nonpublic information about recent contributions and activity by other users. They use this access to help protect against vandalism and abuse, fight harassment of other users, and generally try to minimize disruptive behavior on the Wikimedia Sites. These various user-selected administrative groups have their own privacy and confidentiality guidelines, but all such groups are supposed to agree to follow our Access to Nonpublic Information Policy. These user-selected administrative groups are accountable to other users through checks and balances: users are selected through a community-driven process and overseen by their peers through a logged history of their actions. However, the legal names of these users are not known to the Wikimedia Foundation.
We hope that this never comes up, but we may disclose your Personal Information if we believe that it's reasonably necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily harm or death to a person, or to protect our organization, employees, contractors, users, or the public. We may also disclose your Personal Information if we reasonably believe it necessary to detect, prevent, or otherwise assess and address potential spam, malware, fraud, abuse, unlawful activity, and security or technical concerns. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ for more information.)Back to top
To Our Service Providers
We may disclose personal information to our third party service providers or contractors to help run or improve the Wikimedia Sites and provide services in support of our mission.
As hard as we may try, we can't do it all. So sometimes we use third-party service providers or contractors who help run or improve the Wikimedia Sites for you and other users. We give access to your Personal Information to these providers or contractors as needed to perform their services for us or to use their tools and services. We put requirements, such as confidentiality agreements, in place to help ensure that these service providers treat your information consistently with, and no less protective of your privacy than, the principles of this Policy. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.)
If you are visiting Wikimedia Sites with your mobile device, we use your IP address to provide anonymized or aggregated information to service providers regarding the volume of usage in certain areas.Back to top
To Understand & Experiment
- We give volunteer developers and researchers access to systems that contain your information to allow them to protect, develop, and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.
- We also share non-Personal Information or aggregated information with third parties interested in studying the Wikimedia Sites.
- When we share information with third parties for these purposes, we put reasonable technical and contractual protections in place to protect your information consistent with this Policy.
The open-source software that powers the Wikimedia Sites depends on the contributions of volunteer software developers, who spend time writing and testing code to help it improve and evolve with our users' needs. To facilitate their work, we give some developers limited access to systems that contain your Personal Information, but only as reasonably necessary for them to develop and contribute to the Wikimedia Sites.
Similarly, we share non-Personal Information or aggregated information with researchers, scholars, academics, and other interested third parties who wish to study the Wikimedia Sites. Sharing this information helps them understand usage, viewing, and demographics statistics and patterns. They then can share their findings with us and our users so that we can all better understand and improve the Wikimedia Sites.
When we give access to personal information to third-party developers or researchers, we put requirements, such as reasonable technical and contractual protections, in place to help ensure that these service providers treat your information consistently with the principles of this Policy and in accordance with our instructions. If these developers or researchers later publish their work or findings, we ask that they not disclose your personal information. Please note that, despite the obligations we impose on developers and researchers, we cannot guarantee that they will abide by our agreement, nor do we guarantee that we will regularly screen or audit their projects. (You can learn more about re-identification in our FAQ.)Back to top
Because You Made It Public
Information that you post is public and can been seen and used by everyone.
Any information you post publicly on the Wikimedia Sites is just that – public. For example, if you put your mailing address on your talk page, that is public, and not protected by this Policy. And if you edit without registering or logging into your account, your IP address will be seen publicly. Please think carefully about your desired level of anonymity before you disclose Personal Information on your user page or elsewhere.Back to top
How Do We Protect Your Data?
We use a variety of physical and technical measures, policies, and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
We strive to protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. We use a variety of physical and technical measures, policies, and procedures (such as access control procedures, network firewalls, and physical security) designed to protect our systems and your Personal Information. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as completely secure data transmission or storage, so we can't guarantee that our security will not be breached (by technical measures or through violation of our policies and procedures).
We will never ask for your password by email (but may send you a temporary password via email if you have requested a password reset). If you ever receive an email that requests your password, please let us know by sending it to [email protected], so we can investigate the source of the email.Back to top
How Long Do We Keep Your Data?
Except as otherwise stated in this policy, we only keep your Personal Information as long as necessary to maintain, understand and improve the Wikimedia Sites or to comply with U.S. law.
Once we receive Personal Information from you, we keep it for the shortest possible time that is consistent with the maintenance, understanding, and improvement of the Wikimedia Sites, and our obligations under applicable U.S. law. Non-personal information may be retained indefinitely. (Check out the list of examples in our FAQ.)
Please remember that certain information, such as your IP address (if you edit while not logged in) and any public contributions to the Wikimedia Sites, is archived and displayed indefinitely by design; the transparency of the projects’ contribution and revision histories is critical to their efficacy and trustworthiness. To learn more about our data retention practices, see our data retention guidelines. For further information about how you may request access to or deletion of your Personal Information, or other rights you may have with respect to your Personal Information, see our FAQ.Back to top
Where is the Foundation & What Does That Mean for Me?
Our Response to Do Not Track (DNT) signals
We do not allow tracking by third-party websites you have not visited.
We do not share your data with third parties for marketing purposes.
Because we protect all users in this manner, we do not change our behavior in response to a web browser's "do not track" signal.
For more information regarding Do Not Track signals and how we handle them, please visit our FAQ.Back to top
Substantial changes to this Policy will not be made until after a public comment period of at least 30 days.
- In the event of substantial changes, we will provide the proposed changes to our users in at least three (3) languages (selected at our discretion) for open comment period lasting at least thirty (30) calendar days. Prior to the start of any comment period, we will provide notice of such changes and the opportunity to comment via the Wikimedia Sites, and via a notification on WikimediaAnnounce-L or a similar mailing list.
- For minor changes, such as grammatical fixes, administrative or legal changes, or corrections of inaccurate statements, we will post the changes and, when possible, provide at least three (3) calendar days' prior notice via WikimediaAnnounce-L or similar mailing list.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you also may have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority competent for your country or region.
This version was approved by Katherine Maher on May 17, 2018, pursuant to the Delegation of policy-making authority by the Board, and went into effect on May 24, 2018. Previous versions can be found below: