Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

When you register to use the free Merlin app, you provide us with your email address. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will not share your email address or phone number with any other organization. We may use your personally identifiable information to enhance your experience with the app, deliver the products and services that you request, and conduct internal business analysis and other evaluation to help us understand how people use our app and website. By providing your email address, you grant us permission to contact you with information about the Merlin app, birds and ID tips, and opportunities to support bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit organization with the mission to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology relies on support from members and donors. To grow its membership base, the Cornell Lab exchanges its member names and mailing (postal) addresses with other nonprofit organizations with missions related to conservation. We do not sell or make any profit from your name and postal address if provided. You may send a note to our membership group if you would like your record coded “Do Not Trade” and we will be happy to exclude your name and postal address in our exchanges with other conservation organizations.

Scope of the Privacy Policy

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology understands the importance of your privacy. Our privacy policy tells you what information we collect when you use the Merlin app and associated web pages, how we use, share and protect it, what choices you have about how the information is used, and how you can access and update that information. If you do not agree to this privacy policy, please do not register to use the Merlin app. This privacy policy applies to personally identifiable information collected by the app and website where this privacy policy is posted.

For purposes of this privacy policy, “personally identifiable information” means information that identifies a particular individual, such as name, postal address, email address, and phone number. When other information, such as email newsletter choices, magazine or product purchases, or consumer product preferences, is directly associated with personally identifiable information, this other information also becomes personally identifiable information.

Information Collection

Personally Identifiable Information We Collect

Use of the Merlin app requires registering with a valid email address. We will never sell or share your email address with any other organization. You may receive messages within the app or notifications. We also capture and use location data, and transfer it to our server to help with identifying birds. If you are interested in obtaining information, products or services from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or in participating in certain activities (such as making an online purchase, subscribing to one of our magazines, becoming a member of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, making an online donation to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or participating in sweepstakes, contests, surveys, or certain special initiatives), you may need to provide us with information about yourself. For example, if you order a product from us, we ask for your name, postal address, email address, telephone number and your credit card number. If you respond to any of our promotions, offers, contests or certain special initiatives, you have opted into consent communication regarding those promotion, offers, contests, etc. If you are ordering a product as a gift for another person, we will ask you for that person’s name, postal address and phone number in order to enable us to deliver the gift to the recipient. If you participate in an activity such as a survey or sweepstakes, we may also ask you to provide other types of information such as gender and personal interests, which we may associate with personally identifiable information. In addition, we may combine personally identifiable information that you have provided to us with other information that is publicly available or that we receive from other reputable sources. Information that you provide as you use the app or website, including but not limited to bird ID data entered into the app, will be stored and transmitted on our servers for the purpose of improving the Merlin app for mobile and web versions.

Other Information Collected Through Technology

In addition to information you choose to provide to us, we also collect non-personally identifiable information through technology to make our app and website more interesting and useful to you. For instance, when you come to our site, we collect your Internet Protocol (“IP”) address. An IP address is often associated with the portal through which you enter the Internet, like your ISP (Internet service provider). Standing alone, your IP address is not personally identifiable. At times, we also use IP addresses to collect information regarding the frequency with which our visitors visit various parts of our apps and sites and how they interact with features of the apps amd websites for evaluation purposes. We may combine this information with personally identifiable information that you have provided to us and/or with other information that is publicly available or that we receive from other reputable sources in order to make our apps, website, and communications more targeted to your interests.

We also use cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored on a user’s computer and allow apps and websites to remember information about users. We use cookies for a variety of purposes in order to enhance the quality of our web site. We use transient (also called “session ID”) cookies to provide continuity from page to page. A session ID cookie expires when you close your browser. We also use persistent cookies. Persistent cookies allow our online store, apps, and other parts of our website to recognize your browser when you return after your first visit to that part of our website. Cookies allow us to personalize your return visits to our site and to save you time during certain activities, such as checking out from our online store. You can choose to remove persistent cookies through your browser options. However, if you do so, your ability to use some areas of our site will be limited, such as our shopping cart feature or online games.

Finally, our apps and websites use a variety of technical methods for tracking purposes, including clear gifs (also known as web beacons). Clear gifs are small pieces of data that are embedded in images. We use these technical methods to tell us what parts of our apps or website you have visited or to measure the effectiveness of any searches you may do on our site. These technical methods may involve the transmission of information directly to us or to a service provider authorized by us to collect information on our behalf. We also use these technical methods in HTML emails that we send our visitors who have agreed to receive email from us, to determine whether our visitors have opened those emails and/or clicked on links in those emails. The information from use of these technical methods may be combined with information that is personally identifiable so that we can make our apps, website, and any emails you have agreed to receive, more relevant and interesting to you.

Email Communication

If you are interested in obtaining information, products or services from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or in participating in certain activities (such as making an online purchase, subscribing to one of our publications, becoming a member of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, making an online donation to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or participating in contests, surveys, or certain special initiatives), you may need to provide us with information about yourself. For example, if you respond to any of our promotions, offers, contests or certain special initiatives, you have opted into communication regarding those promotion, offers, contests, in addition to related topics of interest. You may also sign up for our eNewsletters to receive regular email communications from the Cornell Lab. All email communications sent to you can be opted out through the unsubscribe link in the emails you receive from us. We will comply with the opt-out request within 10 business days. You may still receive communications during that period, but we strive to make the opt-out happen instantaneously. We NEVER trade our email lists with any other organization. To delete the personal information that we’ve collected from you, please contact our customer service and membership team. We may have copies of your information for database backup purposes, but the information will never be used in any other way and the backup data are regularly purged.

Information Security

The security and confidentiality of your information is extremely important to us, and we take a number of steps to safeguard any personally identifiable information or credit card information that you provide to us. We use data encryption technology to help protect against loss, misuse or alteration of your credit card information. Secure Socket Layers (SSLs) encrypt the credit card information sent between your computer and our database. However, no method of transmitting or storing electronic data is ever completely secure, and therefore we cannot warrant or guarantee that such information will never be accessed, used or released in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy.

Personally Identifiable Information Contained in User Content

Some sections of our apps and websites may allow users to post or transmit messages, comments, screen names, computer files, and other materials. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology does not monitor such transmissions, and therefore cannot be responsible for any personally identifiable information or other information that may be contained in such transmissions.

Changes in this Policy

We may amend this privacy policy at any time. If we make any material changes in the way we collect, use, and/or share your personally identifiable information, we will notify you by sending you an email at the last email address that you provided us and/or by prominently posting notice of the changes on the websites covered by this privacy policy. In any event, changes to this privacy policy may affect our use of personally identifiable information that you provided us prior to our notification to you of the changes.

Contact Us

If you have questions or wish to send us comments about this privacy policy, please contact us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *