We've added two extra sections to this. The Important Stuff is stuff we legally need to tell you. What We Do With Everything is what we want to tell you, but don't have to. You can read the second one at your leisure whenever (it would be awesome if you did sometime).
It's best that you know all the information we collect, and what is done with it. Feel free to peruse this at your leasure.
There are a few ways we may get your email address: If you sign up with it, if a user gives us it during their use of the service, if your email address is publicly disclosed on a website relevant an election we're working in, or if you send us an email, usually to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When someone invites you: Because we want as many people on VoteMate as possible, we provide a service to some people so that they can invite people they know the email addresses of to VoteMate. When they enter an email address of someone they wish to invite, we save that email address so as to make sure that if it's ever entered again, by anyone, we don't send another invite (we don't want to spam people, especially not people who haven't signed up). We don't give this list to anyone nor do we send emails to an address after it's in the list.
If we find it on a public website: Team members and some of our computer programs will copy down publicly disclosed email addresses for public figures (such as candidates or party bigwigs) that we believe would be useful to the public. Since this information is public, we consider it to be fair use, both to store and to disclose. (If you want us to remove such information, just send us an email at email@example.com.)
If you email us: When you send an email to any of our team members, or us in general, we of course save your email and your email address and will respond to it when we get the chance. We don't spam the people who send us emails and we don't sell the emails or email addresses to anyone else. If your query requires giving an individual email to another person or organisation (say if you mix us up with another website and we want to be helpful by forwarding your email to them) we will of course send them the relevant part of your email, and, depending on the query, your email address as well.
If you have any concerns about this policy but don't want to email us about it (we know there's that problem there), we're afraid that you will have to get a friend to email us for you. There is no other way to contact us right now, other than messaging us on Twitter, which may not be the best for privacy.
When you sign up for the service or reset or change your password, you give us a password for us to recognise you by (we assume that anyone who can give us both the email address and the password associated with your account is, in fact, you). We never ask you to give us the password for another account and we expect that you will use a password that you have never used before (though it is entirely up to you).
All passwords used for VoteMate accounts are stored in a hashed form. Hashes are the result of a computer taking a piece of text (lets say "password") and running a series of mathematical functions on it, to produce another piece of text (so "password" might become "5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99"). The cool thing about hashes is that they always produce the same result if given the same original text (so "password" always hashes to "5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99," when using the MD5 hashing algorithm; there are lots of different algorithms producing lots of different hashes, and we don't use MD5).
The other cool thing about hashes is that they're pretty much impossible to reverse (so, taking "5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99," you cannot algorithmically determine that it is a hash of "password"). This means that even if someone hacks into the website, or one of our team goes snooping (both extremely unlikely events), they still can't view or use your passwords.
Our servers retain several types of files, logging the activity of users. These logs typically contain the URL of the the page accessed (such as "https://votemate.org/?p=signin"), the time of the request, the IP address that made the request, and some of the headers associated (such as the browser version and operating system). This information is kept private and is never shared with anyone. On occasion, we may look up the IP address making a request to determine whether or not it is spam.
Unlike most other websites, we do not use third party analytics or trackers. If you're worried about other websites doing that, check out Ghostery, a free browser addon that blocks trackers as you browse the web.
All public user-posted data on VoteMate is covered by our Distribution Policy. Long story short, you maintain exclusive rights to your info and you can delete it at anytime and we'll make sure it's off the site and app. However, the info will be public, so we can't stop people from copying it and redistributing it elsewhere (though we don't want them to; no one does).
We just don't do this. And we'll never do it because 1) it's evil, 2) we wouldn't want our own personal data to be sold, 3) it's your data anyway, we don't think we have the right to sell it and 4) we don't need the money.
If we ever do sell your data (which will never happen, as explained above), feel free to drag our name through the mud. We'll have deserved it.
Right now all of your data is stored in three different places: our servers, some of our computers in the form of backups and on your own devices. The first two, we have control over and protect them with our brains and near-on our lives.
The servers, at the moment, are operated by 4GoodHosting, a Canadian hosting company based in Vancouver. They're pretty awesome people, we've had nothing but good service with them and they're always happy to help us out. We trust them to treat your data with the same, or even more security and professionalism as we do. Their servers are physically located in Toronto and Vancouver.
All websites really want you to believe that a hack is impossible or extroardinarily unlikely. Unfortunately no system is completely secure. Everyone does their best and everyone does their part to make the Web more secure, but sometimes something really bad happens. If that ever happens to us, we promise to inform you as quickly as possible, most likely by email. Depending on how awful the situation is, we may decide to delete all your data or wipe our entire server. We'll do our best to alleviate any inconvenience.
If our severs are compromised, we consider it entirely within your rights to sue us (after all, that's what the civil suit system if for), but we would really appreciate it if you didn't. If we've just been hacked, we're definitely going through a really awful day.
On the bright side, we try our very best to keep the system secure and a hack is pretty unlikely.
Version One (launch, onwards)