AGU Master Privacy Policy

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is committed to protecting your privacy and we honor your right to make choices about the information you share. This privacy policy (“Privacy Policy”) describes how AGU collects information, including certain personally identifiable information, and how AGU may use, process, and share such information.

AGU reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time but will notify you of significant policy changes. Members should review the Policy regularly to learn about other changes. Your use of the AGU website(s), including any AGU apps (the “Sites”), constitutes your acceptance of the Privacy Policy, including periodic changes.

AGU services and benefits are not designed to appeal to minors and we do not knowingly attempt to solicit or receive any information from children. To the extent that minors under the age of 13 do use an AGU web site and AGU is able to determine the age of web site users – by their submissions to, or communications with AGU web sites – AGU will not knowingly collect information from such minors without their parent’s or guardian’s verifiable consent.

Every AGU officer, volunteer, member of staff, and member who has access to data or personal information collected by AGU is charged with respecting the privacy of those who provided it and is expected to respect and follow the AGU Privacy Policy.

Collection and Use of Information

To serve our vision – to galvanize a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future – AGU collects information about those who engage with us and/or visit our Sites. This information and the data derived are used, in part, to improve the communication and sharing of science, to understand and improve programs and websites, and to serve the interests of members, authors, meeting attendees and others.

Personal information is collected such as your name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, other contact information, and credit card number. Other non-personal information, such as education, employment data, gender, demographic information, and other scientific interest related information is also collected.

Once collected, AGU may use this information in a variety of ways which may include:

  1. To communicate with you about your membership, if applicable, or to communicate information about For example, we may send all new users a registration e-mail, and we will also occasionally send important notices or information.
  2. To provide you with prompt and effective customer
  3. To fulfill and/or deliver products and services such as subscriptions, meeting registration, submission of articles, administer scientific awards and honors, and in various other
  4. To build higher-quality, more useful services, such as by analyzing usage trends, and by measuring demographics and interests regarding specific areas of the
  5. To conduct internal assessments of AGU programs and membership; additionally, these data, in a consolidated form, may be used in publicly distributed statistical descriptions and studies of the AGU
  6. To help us understand membership trends, and gender and age differences with respect to perspectives about and usage of programs and the creation of new program offerings.

AGU members may add, correct, or update their personal information through a form on the AGU website or by contacting Member Services by phone at: +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800-966-2481) or by e-mail at [email protected]

Sharing with Third Parties

AGU’s online Membership Directory contains basic contact information and membership data including Section and Focus Group affiliations. It is provided to facilitate personal communication between members only. The downloading of large numbers of records is forbidden. Access to the Membership Directory is restricted to members and requires a personal log-in. Members are responsible for the security of data that they access and for keeping their own access codes confidential. The activity in member accounts is also monitored by AGU to identify patterns inconsistent with permitted personal use. A member’s account may be temporarily inactivated if it appears that it is being misused.

AGU does not sell or rent postal or e-mail lists. AGU will occasionally mail or e-mail a notice or survey on behalf of another organization to selected groups of AGU members and others who are engaged with AGU, when such material is deemed to be beneficial to those to be contacted, or to help advance the scientific mission of AGU. Such mailings and e-mails are subject to the review of staff members and/or AGU officers, depending on the nature of the message.

AGU reserves the right to disclose information, including personal information obtained through the Sites, when disclosure is required by law or in a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to: (a) conform to legal requirements or comply with legal process served on AGU; (b) protect or defend the rights or property of AGU; or (c) protect the personal safety of AGU officers, personnel, members, volunteers, or members of the public in appropriate circumstances.

Opt In/Opt Out

AGU reserves the right to offer either an opt in or opt out option depending on the situation and the type of information being collected. Any individual may decline to provide information requested by AGU. In this case, AGU may be unable to provide services for which such information is needed for security and/or identification purposes. Members may restrict the publication of all or selected elements of their personal information in the Membership Directory, and subscribers to any AGU online service can stop the service by sending an e-mail message to [email protected], telephoning +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800- 966-2481), or by writing to AGU, 2000 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Access to and Ability to Correct Data

Upon request via postal mail, email, or telephone, AGU will provide Members or users with a summary of any personally identifiable information retained by AGU regarding the Member or user. Members or users may modify, correct, change, or update personally identifiable information that AGU has collected through the Site or may initiate the removal of their personal record from AGU’s database by contacting AGU through a form on the AGU website or by contacting Member Services by phone at: +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800- 966-2481) or by e-mail at [email protected]

Keeping Data About Individuals Secure

Sensitive demographic information is stored in a separate, secure database that is not accessible via the Membership Directory.

Credit card information provided to AGU via its websites is transmitted via a secure server with commercial encryption software. Those not able to use a secure server may opt to place the order another way, via phone, fax, or postal mail. To comply with credit card company requirements, AGU stores certain information for 3 years from the date of the transaction.

When requested by the card holder, AGU will retain credit card information for future specified uses.

Procedures have been employed to safeguard the security and integrity of your information. Although AGU takes these measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosure of a user’s data or personal information, AGU cannot control Internet transmissions and cannot guarantee or warrant that data or personal information transmitted to AGU will be uncompromised in all circumstances.

Data Retention

AGU retains personal data for at least a minimum of 5 years from an individual’s last interaction with AGU.

If historical activity pertaining to AGU business needs are present, the information will be retained indefinitely. If there is no AGU business need to retain the personal data and there has been no activity on a record for at least five years, AGU may choose to anonymize all personal identifiable information on the record.

Individuals may also request an anonymization of their record by contacting Member Services by phone at: +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800-966-2481) or by e-mail at [email protected]. If there is no legitimate purpose for AGU to keep such data, AGU will anonymize the individual’s record.

Cookies and Other Technologies

A “cookie” is a file that a website stores in a user’s computer for future reference. Individuals may set their browsers to reject cookies; however, there are AGU services, like meeting abstract and journal article submissions that will not function unless the user accepts the AGU cookie. For example, when a user returns to that AGU service, the cookie will identify the user as a previous visitor. Information supplied through an AGU cookie is used only by AGU to help enhance services provided and is not shared with others.

Web “beacons” are transparent pixel images embedded at certain points on websites that are used to collect information about how users navigate and use the website for the purpose of understanding and improving the function of the site and the value of the content. AGU uses cookies or other trackers to improve some of its services, provide enhanced functionality on the site, and to aggregate traffic data (i.e., what pages are most popular).

“Cookies” and “beacons” may also be utilized by the third parties that we contract with to provide certain functions You may block or disable cookies or other trackers by changing the settings on your browser, but doing so may prevent you from accessing certain functionalities on the Sites.

Commitment to GDPR Compliance

AGU is committed complying with the terms and the spirit of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the comprehensive EU data privacy law, effective May 25, 2018. Further, AGU is committed to communicating with members, others in the broad Earth and space science community that associate with us, and our partners and vendors concerning the steps we are taking to ensure GDPR compliance.

The GDPR’s updated requirements have many implications and AGU is conscientiously working to ensure that our products, services, and contractual commitments are brought into compliance. Measures to achieve this include:

  • Reviewing vendors and contracts to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place, and updating contracts as needed
  • Auditing lists (such as email and newsletter lists) to determine how consent was granted and taking appropriate steps accordingly
  • Ensuring we can support international data transfers and communications
  • Employing privacy tools and utilities that include new settings and functionality for data portability and data management
  • Continuing to invest in our security infrastructure and practices

AGU will continue to monitor the guidance around GDPR compliance from privacy-related regulatory bodies and will adjust our practices accordingly to follow any changes or interpretations to the regulation and will continue to make updates to this privacy policy.

Third Party Websites and Services

AGU provides links to other websites, including social media websites, that are not controlled by or contracted to AGU. A link from the AGU website is not an endorsement of any company, organization, individual, or viewpoint. AGU is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of those sites. AGU also contracts with 3rd party service providers for web or program transactional services. In those cases, AGU will strive to ensure that 3rd party privacy practices are aligned with and abide by the AGU Privacy Principles and Policy. You should review third party privacy policies in connection with visiting other sites.

Intellectual Property Rights and Protection vs Personal Privacy

Protection of intellectual property is the responsibility of individual AGU members. AGU has policies and practices in place to help support this protection. Violation of intellectual property rights are legally covered through intellectual property laws, and not privacy laws. Likewise, AGU Ethics Policy rather than AGU Privacy Policy are applicable for Intellectual Property concerns. Members are asked to contact the legal officers at your home institution or organization, and to send a message to [email protected] if you believe you have experienced an intellectual property violation related to AGU programs.

Changes to Policy

AGU reserves the right, at any time, to add to, change, update, or modify this Policy, simply by posting such addition, change, update, or modification on this Site. Any such addition, change, update, or modification will be effective immediately upon posting on the Site. When significant changes are made to the Policy that will directly impact how personal data is collected or used, AGU will notify you by additional means, such as posting a notice on the Site or sending you an e-mail, or some other mechanism. Users should review the Policy regularly to learn about other changes.

Governing Law

By choosing to visit our Sites or provide information to us, you agree that any dispute over privacy or the terms contained in this Privacy Policy will be governed by the laws of the District of Columbia and the United States of America. AGU makes no representation that this Privacy Policy and such practices comply with the laws of any other state or country. Visitors who use the Site and reside outside the United States do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws, if and to the extent local laws are applicable. If you reside outside of the United States, by using the Site, you consent to the transfer and use of your information outside your country. These data transfers are necessary to provide you services as a Member or user of the Site.

Questions Regarding the Privacy Policy

If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy or Privacy Principles, or the use of this Site in general, please contact us by e-mail at: [email protected]

Last Modification: 24 May 2018; Data Retention, Commitment to GDPR Compliance, Governing Law sections

Prior Modifications: 6 December 2016