Consumers Union – Policy and Action from Consumer Reports
Effective Date: March 18, 2015
Consumers Union (“CU”, “we” or “us”) is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, the independent, nonprofit testing, research and information organization serving consumers. Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
3. INFORMATION WE COLLECT, HOW WE COLLECT IT, AND HOW WE USE IT
Much of the information on our site can be accessed without our collecting any personally identifiable information from you. You can surf our Sites and view much of our content anonymously. For instance, you can access information on policy issues affecting consumers without giving out any personally identifiable information.
The information we gather on our Sites falls into two categories: (1) personal information, such as personal information you supply when you engage in activities like “taking action” on a policy issue, donating, registering for webinars and conferences and to receive email updates, or sharing your personal experience of a particular consumer issue through our Share Your Story website feature, and (2) tracking information collected as you navigate through our Sites.
Personally identifiable information (PII)
To use certain features on our Sites, we ask you to provide certain personally identifiable information (also referred to as PII), such as your name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number. We use this information to complete the transaction you requested, to provide you information relevant to your interests or to help improve our site. For example, we request this information when you register to receive communications from us, transmit letters seeking to influence decision-makers or corporations on a policy issue, complete an online form, post messages on a discussion board or comment on a blog. We also enable you to donate to our organization through our ConsumersUnion.org website. If you do so, we collect your credit/debit card information (also referred to as payment card information) in addition to your name, address, telephone number and email address. Participants in certain Site activities may also provide us with the name of their employer or the organization with which they are affiliated.
Certain of our Sites also contains a Share Your Story feature whereby you can share your experiences as a consumer. Each Share Your Story feature asks you to provide specific information about your experience and to provide your contact information, including name, email address, street address and telephone number. The information we learn from you helps us better understand the problems facing consumers and informs our efforts to effect policy change. In each Share Your Story feature, we provide terms addressing how we will treat your information and ask you to indicate your preferences with respect to making that information about your experiences public or otherwise sharing it. Those terms govern CU’s treatment of your story and the personal information you provide with it.
Supplemental Information We May Receive From Other Sources
We may supplement information you give us with information from other sources, for example, we may obtain your legislative district information based on the mailing address you provide us in connection with our mission to change legislation and the marketplace in favor of the consumer interest.
Information Collected Through Technology
When you use our Sites, we or our service providers may collect tracking information such as your browser type, the type of operating system you use, the domain name of your Internet service provider, and pages visited on the site. None of this information, taken alone, identifies you personally; it is collected for aggregate reporting on site activity. For example, we may want to know how long the average user spends on our websites or which pages or features get the most attention. We use this information to make our websites more useful to you.
We use “cookies” to store and sometimes to track user information. Cookies, by themselves, do not tell us your email address or other personally identifiable information unless you choose to provide this information to us by, for example, taking action on one of our advocacy campaigns, agreeing to be part of our advocacy network or registering on our Sites. A cookie is a small amount of code that is sent to your browser from a Web server and stored on your computer’s hard drive. A cookie contains a unique number that allows our site to recognize your computer. For example, cookies allow us to keep track of your user name and password (if you are a registered user of ConsumersUnion.org) so you don’t have to re-enter that information each time you visit our websites. The “help” function on most browsers contains information on how to set your browser to notify you before accepting cookies or to disable cookies entirely. However, if you don’t accept cookies, you won’t be able to take advantage of various features on our Sites that are available to other visitors.
HTML verification: When sending email to recipients, we may place a one-pixel gif in that email to detect whether or not you viewed the email. This process does not leave any information on your computer, nor does it collect information from your computer. CU only uses this information to improve our email communications with you.
CU uses PII in a limited number of ways. We use the information to provide you with news and action alerts based on the interests you have expressed by taking action on an advocacy campaign through our Sites or through an online form that you have filled out. We also use information you have provided about specific consumer experiences to inform our efforts to effect policy change, subject to your selected preferences concerning our use of your information. We also use the information you provide to send you email about Consumers Union advocacy issues and programs or services that we believe may be of interest to you as described in our email policies section below.
4. OUR EMAIL POLICIES
Account and services related email: If you have taken action on a policy issue, we may send you email relating to your account. For example, these include confirmations that the email you sent through our website has been delivered.
Email newsletters and action alerts: You may request updates or news about CU’s activities, which will be sent to the email account you identified. If you have taken an action on a policy issue and are receiving our email updates, we may send you email about other policy issues that may be of interest to you.
5. SHARING YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
Sharing With Affiliated Entities
Sharing with Unaffiliated Entities
When you participate in one of our consumer advocacy campaigns, for example, sending a message to policy decision-makers through one of our consumer advocacy campaign sites, we pass along certain of your personal information with your message, including your first and last name, street address and email address.
Under the terms governing your Share Your Story submission, we may also share certain personal information when disclosing your experience with a particular consumer issue to policymakers, fellow consumer groups and consumers and the media (subject to the preferences you have set when submitting your story).
If you have an existing relationship with CU solely via advocacy-related activities before January 3, 2013 and make a donation at any time directly to us under any of the Consumers Union, Consumer Reports, or Consumer Reports Foundation names, none of the information from that donation will be rented or exchanged with any other company or organization except the CU Action Fund.
If you develop a relationship with CU solely via advocacy-related activities on or after January 3, 2013 and later make a donation directly to our organization, CU may provide that information to its affiliates, including CU Action Fund and Consumer Media LLC. CR may also exchange, rent or otherwise provide information from such donors (including your full name, address and donation information, but excluding your email address, telephone number(s) and any financial account information) with other organizations.
You may be contacted by mail, phone or email to make an additional donation to Consumer Reports Foundation, to Consumers Union or to CU Action Fund or to subscribe to our publications, books and other services.
Sharing With Service Providers
In some instances, we use third-party companies to help us provide our products and services to you, like donation processing and email delivery services for our email communications and e-newsletters. In those instances we need to share your information with them. We require that those companies agree to use the information only to deliver the product or service or to process your donation.
We use third parties to provide us with software solutions like mapping, legislative districting and other website features. These software solutions may require information like your street address to be shared with the application.
Sharing for Legal Purposes or Sale of a Business
Mandatory Disclosure for Certain Promotional Offers, Sweepstakes or Contests
If you provide your name for a promotional offer to enter a sweepstakes or contest, and win a prize, we will post a winner’s list online, and will file your name, address and phone number with state agencies and/or otherwise disclose and/or file a winner’s list as required by law.
Third-Party Use of Aggregate, Anonymous Data
We authorize certain service providers to utilize for their business purposes and in accordance with their privacy policies aggregated, anonymous information derived from data collected when you use the products and services they support on our behalf. For example, these service providers may use this aggregated, anonymous information to report on website usage or industry trends to their customer base. None of this information identifies you personally, nor are our service providers allowed to link it any of the personally identifying information we collect from you.
6. THIRD PARTY SITES AND SERVICES
7. HOW YOU CAN CORRECT YOUR INFORMATION
Consumers Union believes in providing you with the ability to access and edit the personal information that you have provided to us in your profile. To update your information you have provided if you took action on one of our advocacy campaigns through our ConsumersUnion.org website, follow the links at the bottom of our newsletter, or access your profile and update your contact information and user preferences by following the instructions here.
To update your contact information used with the Health Care Value Hub Site, you can send an email request to hubinfo at cu.consumer.org.
8. CHOICE/OPT OUT
Service Related Announcements
We may send you emails relating to your account. We may also send you strictly service-related announcements on rare occasions when it is necessary to do so. You may not opt-out of these communications, which are not promotional in nature.
Opting Out of Other Communications
CU provides you with the opportunity to opt out of receiving other communications from us and our affiliates. Please note that you must separately opt out of communications by business unit (e.g., advocacy, fundraising, survey research, etc.).
For more information about opting out of non-service related communications, please see the following:
To unsubscribe from email newsletters and action alerts, follow the instructions included in every email we send you.
Electronic CU Action Fund Communications
If you no longer wish to receive electronic CU Action Fund communications, follow the ‘unsubscribe’ link located near the bottom of any electronic CU Action Fund communication.
When you make a donation to CU or to the CU Action Fund, you may be contacted by mail, phone or email to make an additional donation to our organization or to CU Action Fund or to subscribe to our publications, books and other services.
If you wish to opt out of receiving fundraising communications from us, whether by mail, phone or email, please call us at 1-800-234-1645 or write to us at:
Consumer Reports Development Office
101 Truman Ave.
Yonkers, NY 10703
Please indicate if you do not wish to receive fundraising solicitations by postal mail, telephone or email, or don’t want us to share such information with third parties. You may also change your fundraising preferences by clicking here.
We work to protect your personal information from loss, misuse or unauthorized alteration. We have put in place physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and help prevent unauthorized access, maintain data security, and correctly use the information we collect through all channels.
Security of the Personal Information You Provide
Credit card information. Your donation will be processed using data encryption technology to help protect against loss, misuse or alternation of your sensitive credit or debit card information. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software is utilized to create an encrypted connection for the transmission of any credit or debit card information you input online via ConsumersUnion.org.
Personal Information. We protect the confidentiality and security of your personal information by using industry-recognized security safeguards such as firewalls, coupled with security procedures to protect your information from loss, misuse or unauthorized alteration. Please keep in mind that any information you include in a message you post online to any discussion group, or other public posting area on our websites is available to anyone with Internet access. If you don’t want people to know your name or email address, for example, do not include them in any message you post publicly.
Please note, however, that email communications to our Sites or sent via a Site’s email functionality to third parties, such as email communications sent to political representatives, are not encrypted.
Information use by our employees and agents. Our employees are trained and required to safeguard your information. Using physical, electronic and procedural safeguards, our policies restrict access to personal information only to those employees who need to access it for business purposes.
Any unauthorized access to any Consumer Reports or Consumers Union websites or to the information collected and maintained by us should be immediately brought to our attention by contacting us via email at webmaster at consumersunion.org or by writing to us at Consumer Reports Customer Relations, Attn: Security, 101 Truman Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10703. We will investigate, and, if necessary, take action to mitigate the harm from any violation of the security of your personal information of which we become aware.
In the unlikely event that we believe the security of your sensitive personal information, such as payment card information, in our possession or control may have been compromised, we will endeavor to provide required notice as soon as possible under the circumstances and, if appropriate, will post notices on the applicable ConsumersUnion.org Sites.
Security of Access To Your Online Account Information
If you sign up to receive Consumers Union Advocacy email, we maintain the information you provide to us (name, email address, physical address and sometimes phone number) in a secure database. In order to change that information, click here, and you will be instructed how to access your username and then receive your password by email. Then you may log on to your profile, enter your username and password and make any changes to your account information. If you want to change your password or other Advocacy account information, you may do so at any time and there is a link at the bottom of every email to help you. If you wish to change your email preferences (for example, you wish to get action alerts but not a monthly newsletter), click here.
If you have forgotten your username, we will ask you for the email address you used when you signed up for email (or an updated email address that you have previously provided to us), and we will promptly email your user name to that email address. If you have forgotten your password, we will ask you for both your email address and your user name, and we will send a password reset message to that email address.
It is your responsibility to control the dissemination and use of your user name and password and to control access to and use of your Advocacy account. We urge you to keep your user name and password confidential and not disclose them to anyone. We also recommend that you never reuse the same password across different websites. We will not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with this provision.
IMPORTANT – Although we take these steps to protect your personal information, no method of transmitting or storing electronic data is ever completely secure, therefore we cannot promise or guarantee that such information will never be accessed, used or released in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy.
10. CHILDREN’S PRIVACY
Our Sites are general audience sites, and we do not knowingly request information from children. Should a child whom we know to be under 13 provide us with the child’s personally identifiable information, we will use that information only to respond directly to that child to inform him or her that we must have parental consent before receiving his or her personally identifiable information.
11. INTERNATIONAL PRIVACY
12. HOW TO CONTACT US
© 2015 Consumers Union of United States, Inc.