Version 2d, Effective January 22, 2013
INFORMATION WE COLLECT FROM YOU
We collect different information from you depending upon how you use blekko as described below.
When you use blekko without supplying a login id (or after logging out of your blekko account), we may collect the following information fields from you: IP Address, your browser user agent string (a user agent string is the automatic information sent to us by your browser so we may properly format blekko.com for your device and browser type), date and time of your login, any third party websites that referred you to us and social media websites. When you search, we collect your search queries organized into sessions that last up to four hours. If you select any websites from your search results, we will collect click tracking data, which is used to compensate us when we drive traffic to other websites and to help us improve our search engine – we do not use this data for marketing purposes. We may also need to verify your birthdate to ensure that we are not collecting information in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; we will discard your birth date once we have verified your age. Finally, we may use third-part analytics packages to collect anonymized data about your usage of our website.
When you use blekko and you are logged in to your account, we collect all of the information listed above, as well as your e-mail address, blekko username, uploaded profile photo(s) and blekko password. Then, as a logged in user, you may create public and private slashtags – all public slashtags and any editing or following of these slashtags will be publicly viewable. If you designate a slashtag as public, it (and any edits to it) will be publicly associated with your blekko username. View for an example of how you may designate your slashtags as publicly viewable and, if a slashtag is designated as public, please see https://blekko.com/ws/+/view+/blekko/health?tagfeed=1 for an example of what information would be viewable to the general user community on blekko.com. On your blekko account, you may also interact using your social media account. On our site, you may import your Facebook profile picture, friends, likes and mobile location check-in information onto our website. In order for us to receive this information from Facebook, you must connect your Facebook account with blekko.com using Facebook’s “Facebook Connect” feature. By default, all Facebook information (other than your Facebook profile picture) is incorporated into your blekko account is designated as ‘private’; it is not viewable to others beyond our blekko support team (except, as described above, the blekko user community may search all status updates, designated as public, on Facebook). We also import your Facebook likes and public comments of your friends to make your searches more personalized to you. If you have not opted out of Facebook comment search, blekko will search Facebook for all public status updates or comments from your Facebook friends related to your search topic. We also offer an interface to assist you with Tweeting your favorite searches and slashtags via Twitter. You must supply to Twitter your Twitter account username and password in order to access this function. Your Tweets will be governed by your privacy settings on twitter.com and we encourage you to review your Twitter privacy settings.
HOW WE MINIMIZE DATA STORED ABOUT YOU
To enhance user privacy, within 48 hours of your visit to our website; we will erase from our visit logs your entire IP address and the browser user agent string. We also erase the association between your 4-hour search sessions and your blekko username. However, our vendors (for services such as advertising or analytics) may keep your IP Address, user agent string and isolated search strings from you for longer, but they are instructed to keep this data secure.
Your slashtags (public or private) are not automatically deleted within 48 hours. Instead, they are kept on our servers until you request deletion of the slashtag.
HOW WE USE YOUR INFORMATION
Search engines, by their very nature, must use information provided by you to deliver research results. Like other search engines, our website requires sharing a minimum amount of information to function as a search engine. But, we also permit you to crowdsource your searches (solicit input from others to enhance your web research in the form of public slashtags). The ‘social’ element to blekko requires us to use information in additional ways to provide the enhanced collaborative functionality. Below, we fully describe how we use information provided to us so that you can make the decision of whether or not to use our website and its enhanced functionalities.
Information Forwarded by Us to Improve Your Web Search Functionality: blekko may share information regarding your website search, which is not personally identifiable to you, in order to enhance your search results. For example, we may forward your search queries to one of our vendors to check for misspellings (i.e., “Grand Canyo” may generate a did-you-mean reply of “Grand Canyon”) or additional search terms that could provide more relevant search results. If you do not want your search queries shared in such a fashion, you can opt-out of this feature by selecting our ”No External DYM” privacy preference. We also might forward your search query to one of our vendors to acquire supplemental results. You can also opt-out of this feature by selecting our “No External DYM” privacy preference.
Information Forwarded by Us to Provide Keyword Search Advertising: blekko provides its search services and web-based tools on the web to you for free. We are able to sustain our free web-based content through advertising revenue. All of our advertising partners require that we send them your IP Address, user agent string as well as search keywords in order to deliver search keyword advertising to you. If you do not want us to forward your personal information for advertising purposes, you can opt-out of this sharing by selecting our “No Ads” preference, as described below. Further, blekko will forward your DoNotTrack browser settings, if you are using a browser that has DoNotTrack header functionality.
Information Used by Us for Crowdsourced / Social Searching Functionalities: if you designate your slashtags as public, blekko will make your slashtags available to its user community. Your username will be associated with each public slashtag that you create (and any edits that you may make to that slashtag). Please use caution when creating public slashtags regarding sensitive topics such as health matters or topics of a sexual nature. WE ASK THAT YOU DO NOT DESIGNATE AS PUBLIC ANY SLASHTAGS THAT COULD CAUSE YOU OR OTHERS HARM, EMBARRASSMENT OR FINANCIAL LOSSES IF SOMEONE ASSOCIATES THE SEARCH WITH YOU. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PUBLIC SLASHTAGS THAT YOU CREATE. Please refer to our example at https://blekko.com/ws/+/view+/blekko/health?tagfeed=1 of a public slashtag if you are uncertain as to what types of information could appear publicly.
Promotion of Public Content or Slashtag "Embedding": If you provide public slashtags to blekko, we may distribute that content to a wider audience by sharing it (or portions of it) with third parties so that they can publish it on their websites and other media platforms. Additionally, individual blekko users may choose to embed your slashtag on their website and follow all edits to this slashtag. For example, camping enthusiast websites may choose to embed a public slashtag such as /national-parks, which was created by one of our users. For an example of an embedded website link see http://blog.blekko.com/ (right column). blekko may ask that third parties credit you as the source of these contributions, and will provide your user name and profile photo, if any, to them for such purpose
To Improve Our Website: Any of the information we collect, as described above, may be used for the following purposes: to improve our services and products; to develop new services; to ensure and improve the technical functionality of our website and network; to protect your rights, blekko’s rights and the rights of other blekko users; and to assist blekko in providing you with services.
YOUR PRIVACY CHOICES
blekko's website offers you, whether you are logged in or not, options to set preferences that enhance privacy:
- No Facebook:. This feature disables all of blekko’s integration with Facebook.
- No Ads: This feature disables display of all ads on blekko.com. Also, blekko will not send any information identifiable to you (such as, IP Address, user agent string and search keywords) to a third party for advertising or marketing purposes.
- Always Use HTTPS on blekko.com:. This feature helps make communications on blekko.com more secure and private, for example making it more difficult for other users to view your blekko.com activity on an unsecured wireless network.
- HTTPS Preferred™ setting: This feature helps make links to search results on blekko.com more secure. If you have this option selected, and if blekko has determined that the link you are visiting has an https equivalent, blekko will link to the https version of the website. This makes it more difficult for other users to view your network activity on an unsecured wireles network.
- No External DYM: If you turn on this feature, blekko will not send any of your search strings to our spelling vendor to discern if words were misspelled or if there are other relevant search terms. Even if this privacy feature is not enabled, blekko only sends search string information. As a result, by default, the only way for a search string to be identifiable to you would be if you submitted personal information in your search query (for example, if you searched for your first name and last name).
- Less Logging: blekko already logs less information about you than other search engines. This option logs even less, for example, it means that we will not collect anonymized search session data, or anonymized click-tracking data about your clicks on search results. This option can be enabled explicitly in your preferences, or we automatically enable it if we see that you have opted in to the Do Not Track (DNT:1) option in your web browser.
- SuperPrivacy™ setting: This setting activates all of the above settings.
Please be advised that all blekko preferences mentioned above operate via browser-based cookies. If you delete blekko cookies regarding your privacy choices, your web browser will not be able to put your privacy preferences into effect.
OTHER ITEMS OF WHICH YOU SHOULD BE AWARE
Children: The blekko website is intended for general audiences and is not directed to children younger than thirteen years of age. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of thirteen.
Affiliated links: blekko adds "affiliate codes" to outgoing clicks to certain websites, such as web retailers, and blekko receives a payment for doing so. This is not done if the SuperPrivacy™ setting, Less Logging, or Do Not Track are set. (Please note that blekko is not recommending or endorsing products mentioned in these affiliated links.)
In certain circumstances, blekko may release the information it collects for the following purposes:
- to respond to your requests for information (by us, our vendors or corporate affiliates) ;
- to process, bill and ship any of your purchases;
- to respond to court orders, subpoenas, or other legal process, or to help blekko in establishing or exercising its legal rights or defend itself against legal claims;
- to investigate, prevent or take action with regard to illegal activity, suspected fraud, potential threat to the physical safety of any individual, violations of the blekko Terms of Service or as otherwise required by law;
- to investigate or take action with respect to any circumstance that could expose blekko to liability; and
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