Privacy Policy

Monday, April 2, 2012 - 11:22

 The Global Network Initiative ("GNI") has designed this Privacy Policy to explain how your information is collected and used when you visit our website, (the "Website").  By visiting or using the Website, you agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy.  If you do not agree with these terms, please do not visit or otherwise use the Website.

We have a few key guidelines for the use of user data collected on the Website:

  • All data transfers from a user to GNI’s Website will be performed over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to prevent interception.
  • GNI will never sell, rent, exchange, or otherwise disclose to third parties our mailing lists or information about our Website visitors without their consent, except as described in this Privacy Policy or when compelled by law.
  • GNI will never use cookie-based or logfile-based information to identify individual users. With the sole exception of detecting and investigating attacks, we use this data only in the aggregate.
  • GNI will never place third-party cookies without a direct action from a user (such as using a social networking tool).
  • The only cookies GNI will place without user action are first-party cookies that help us do site analytics.

How does GNI collect information when you visit our Website?

GNI uses one analytics package -  Piwik.

How does Piwik Work?

Piwik processes first-party cookie data on our servers. However, your IP address is truncated when this transfer happens, so that none of the data we store actually contains your full IP address. This data is then analyzed and shown to us in aggregated form. To use Piwik, we place first-party cookies (cookies that only we can read) on your browser. None of the visit or individual-level data that is collected through these cookies is combined by GNI with any other data. Period.

Why does GNI use cookies at all?

While server log files provide a fair amount of information on website visits, they can be very inaccurate. Some users on the same network, for instance, may all show up on a logfile analyzer as one user - that is, log file analysis is server-based, not browser-based. Cookies are generated per-browser and give us a much more accurate depiction of our website traffic.

What cookies are stored on your computer?

Piwik will place two distinct cookies on your computer.

The first Piwik cookie is written whenever you visit our Website and contains the timestamp of your browser’s initial visit to our Website, the timestamp of your most recent visit to our Website, the timestamp of your current visit, the number of times you have visited our Website, a unique visitor ID, the URL that referred you to our Website, and a hash of our domain ( This cookie lasts for 3-6 months. If you delete this cookie, a new cookie will be placed with new identifiers upon your next visit to the GNI Website.

Piwik will also place a "session cookie" to keep track of a user’s activity as she browses our Website. This helps us understand how our Website is being used. This cookie expires thirty minutes after you stop interacting with our Website. The next time you interact with our Website, a new session cookie will be created.

For more information on how Piwik logs visits, see

What information does GNI automatically collect when you visit our Website?

When you visit any web page hosted at our Website, we will record the following information about you through Piwik:

  • Internet Protocol (IP) address - The address of your computer on the Internet. Your IP address gets transmitted whenever you communicate online or surf the Web so that the content you are looking at and the people you are talking to can find your computer on the network.
  • Browser type, version, and operating system – Knowing the browsers (for example, Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 8) and operating systems (for example Windows XP or Mac OS X) used by our visitors helps us optimize the display and delivery of our Website for visitors accessing it from differing software platforms.
  • Screen size - Knowing the screen sizes used by our visitors helps us optimize the display and delivery of our Website for visitors.
  • Technologies supported by your browser for Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe Director, and Adobe PDF, and the audio formats supported by your browser for RealPlayer, QuickTime, and Windows Media Player – Knowing the formats supported by visitors’ browsers helps us optimize the content on our Website for visitors accessing it with different browser configurations.
  • URL of the page that directed you to our Website – If you arrive at our Website through a link on another website - a blog, newspaper article, or search engine, for example - our web server will record the address of the web page that referred you to our site. If you arrive at our Website by clicking on a search result returned by a search engine, our server will record the search terms that you used.
  • Whether you have bookmarked our Website on your web browser – This information is only reported for Internet Explorer users.
  • The web pages within our Website that you visit, the web page you visit first on our Website (the entry page), and the web page you visit last on our Website (the exit page).
  • Bandwidth used – The total number of bytes downloaded when you browse our Website.
  • Amount of time you spend during a visit to our Website.
  • Time and date of your Website visit.
  • Language of your browser.

What do we do with the information we automatically collect when you visit our Website?

The data we collect is processed by our analytics services for the purposes of analyzing general traffic patterns and performing routine system maintenance. This information shows us which features are being used or read most often, from which areas of the country and the world our site is attracting visitors, and how people are finding our Website. All of this information helps us determine how to make our Website more accessible and useful.

GNI can never (and will never try to) trace aggregate traffic reports back to an individual user. To see a graphical demonstration of the types of information GNI can see via our analytics programs, click here.   

Unless we detect an attack on our Website, we will not use any data we collect automatically when you visit the Website for any reason other than those described above. If we detect an attack on our Website, we will use this data to try to determine the source of the attack. Except as described in the Disclosure Policies section of this Privacy Policy, we do not sell, rent, exchange or otherwise disclose to third parties any information that we automatically collect about our Website visitors without their consent.


Our site search function is supported by Drupal (, an open source Content Management System. GNI records search terms used in searches of our Website. We will retain search terms for no more than 31 days. We do not correlate search term data with IP address or any other information about our visitors.

What information can you choose to share with GNI?

Except as noted here, GNI uses information that you share with us voluntarily only for internal purposes.  Specific types of information that you may choose to share with GNI include:

Feedback and Emailing Us

We use your feedback to improve our Website and our organization. If you choose to provide information about yourself using a feedback or email form on our Website, we will not use the information for any purpose other than to respond to your inquiry or to act on your suggestion or comment. We will not share your information with third parties except with your permission or upon your request, or as otherwise described in the Disclosure Policies section of this Privacy Policy.


Our Tweet button service is offered by Twitter. To use this feature, you must enter your Twitter login information. This information is collected directly by Twitter and will not in any way be transmitted to or logged by GNI. You can find Twitter’s privacy policy here ( Using our Tweet button will take you off of our Website and on to Twitter's website. This will not result in cookies being placed on your computer by our Website, but may result in cookies being placed by Twitter.

Email a Friend

You can email articles from our Website to friends. To use this feature, you must enter your and your friends’ email addresses. This information is processed directly by a form on the Website, and will not be stored by GNI. Emailing articles to your friends will not result in cookies being placed on your computer.

Our Disclosure Policies

GNI does not sell, rent, exchange or otherwise disclose to third parties any information that we collect about our site visitors without consent. We will, however, comply with lawful requests from law enforcement1 that follow appropriate legal standards and procedures. If the law or a lawful order requires us to disclose information about your activities on our Website, we will (unless prohibited by law from doing so) attempt to contact you prior to such disclosure, and attempt to disclose to you the fact that we have submitted information to legal authorities (including disclosing which information we have submitted). We will object to disclosure requests that we believe are improper.

Our Retention Policies

All data that is collected into log files by our web server is deleted every 31 days. We do not have backup storage of our log files. Deleting our log files permanently erases them.

Cookies placed on your computer from Piwik have different retention rates.

Cookie type        Retention period
User cookie          3-6 months
Session cookie     30 minutes from set/update

Aggregated data about visitors to our Website – which cannot be linked back to individual visitors – is maintained indefinitely.

Any information you provide us via email or feedback forms on our Website (as well as responses, if any, to your inquiry or comment) may be used and retained as necessary in order to respond to your inquiry or comment.

Contact information you provide when making a donation online will be used to process your donation and will be retained as necessary for internal and tax reporting purposes.


GNI has implemented reasonable security measures designed to protect the information we collect from accidental loss and from unauthorized access, use, alteration and disclosure. A Secured Socket Layer (SSL) connection is used throughout the Website and when you submit a donation through our donation processor.  This SSL connection encrypts your information as it travels across the network. Your information is stored by GNI on servers located in the United States and will be password protected. You should be aware, however, that no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. Although we do our best to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee its security.

What if you have concerns or want to know what information we have about you?

Feel free to contact us via our feedback page to ask us to disclose to you any information we have about you. You have the right to request that we correct, update, or delete information that we may have about you.  We may not accommodate a request to change information if we believe that the change would violate any law or legal obligation or cause the information to be incorrect.

If you have any concerns about this Privacy Policy, please contact GNI via our feedback page or call (202) 407 8830. We can also be reached at 1634 Eye Street NW, Suite 1100, Washington DC 20006.

Changes in this Privacy Policy

Our Privacy Policy may change in the future. The Effective Date of this policy, as stated below, indicates the last time this policy was revised.  If we make material changes to how we treat our users’ personal information, we will post the amended policy here and notify you through a notice on the Website’s homepage.   Your continued use of the Website after notification of material changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes your consent to the changes.

Effective Date of Privacy Policy:  4/3/2012


  • 1. except in the following circumstances: (i) to service providers and other third parties we use to support our business, (ii) to a successor in connection with a major organizational change (for example, a change in GNI’s ownership), whether as a going concern or as part of bankruptcy, liquidation or similar proceeding, in which case a notice of the change will be provided on the Website, (iii) to fulfill the purpose for which you provide the information to GNI (for example, if you provide email addresses to send an article to a friend, the contents of the message will be disclosed to the intended recipient), (iv) if we believe disclosure is necessary to enforce the rights, property or safety of GNI or others, including in order to investigate attacks on the Website, or (v) to comply with subpoenas, court orders, and laws