Privacy Policy

September 18, 2009 

Privacy Policy

Effective Date: 10-28-09

NewsObserver.com ("NewsObserver.com", "we", "our") has a firm commitment to privacy. We take your privacy concerns seriously and want to make reasonable efforts to address them as we strive to offer our site visitors a high quality, interactive and personalized experience. This Privacy Policy explains our position on information gathering and how we intend to use and share any information we collect. This Privacy Policy applies only to information collected by NewsObserver.com and does not apply to information obtained or used by The News & Observer or its affiliates through other means.

You understand and agree that, by visiting NewsObserver.com and its affiliated sites, you are accepting, without modification, this Privacy Policy. If you disagree with any portion of this Privacy Policy, then your only option is to not use NewsObserver.com.

NewsObserver.com collects and stores personally identifiable information such as your name, address, and e-mail address. The information that we collect and store about you depends on the page you visit and the services in which you elect to participate. We use this information to operate our services, improve the quality of our services, offer you opportunities we think will interest you, and better tailor the advertising you see from us to suit you. This information is not shared with anyone outside of The News & Observer and NewsObserver.com except as provided for in this Privacy Policy or as explained at the time the information is collected. More specifics on the information we collect and how we use it are outlined within this Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Policy is subject to change from time to time by NewsObserver.com and your continued use of NewsObserver.com means you agree to, without modification, the revisions. If you are a registered member of NewsObserver.com, you will be notified of material revisions to this Privacy Policy via an e-mail message to the e-mail address that you provided at registration. If you are not a registered member of NewsObserver.com, you may view revisions to this Privacy Policy on this page. Material changes to this Privacy Policy will be indicated by a revised effective date at the top left hand corner of this page and by a notice posted on the homepage of NewsObserver.com. Whether or not you are a registered member of NewsObserver.com, it is your responsibility to check back and review this page regularly to ensure you are familiar with the most current terms. Should you object to any such modifications to this Privacy Policy or become dissatisfied with NewsObserver.com in any way, your only option is to immediately terminate your membership and discontinue use of NewsObserver.com. Otherwise, continuing to use the service after the effective date means that you agree to be bound by the changes, without modification.

Information we collect

Access to certain special content, services and features on NewsObserver.com requires users to be subscribers to The News & Observer and/or to become registered members at NewsObserver.com. Member registration may require you to provide certain personally identifiable information, such as your name, e-mail address, street address, telephone number, gender, and date of birth. If you choose to purchase a print subscription to The News & Observer or a classified ad when you register, we also require credit card and billing information. For more information about how we use your credit card and billing information, see the Section below titled "Electronic commerce". You will be asked to select a member name and password so that you have access to this information and can revise it in the future. To complete the registration process, we will send you a validation e-mail message. You must click the link in the e-mail to fully activate your membership account. At registration you will have the opportunity to Opt in of subscribing to e-mail newsletters and alerts sent to you on behalf of NewsObserver.com and its advertisers.

Some features and services of NewsObserver.com may require additional personally identifiable information or other demographic information. We may collect other personally identifiable information when you provide feedback, comments, engage in chat, message boards, interactive forums or participate in surveys, or if you contact us offline. For example, when you enter contests you will be asked to also provide your phone number so that we can reach you in the event you have won a prize. All users may decline to share such information with us, by choosing not to register on NewsObserver.com or not to use our services. Only registered members, however, may access certain content, services and features.

You may also be asked to create a separate registration account with some of the services provided by partners and other third-party providers on NewsObserver.com. Be aware that the information collected by a third-party provider will be subject to that provider's privacy policy and terms of service, rather than this Privacy Policy. We, therefore, recommend you review the privacy policy of each third-party service provider with whom you interact and each Web site you visit prior to submitting information in connection therewith.

If you wish to forward an article to a friend, we will ask that you provide your friend's name and e-mail address. While we may collect statistics on which articles are forwarded, we do not sell, rent, or market your friend's personal information, and retain the information only as long as necessary to provide this service.

Passive data collection and use

Like most Web sites, NewsObserver.com also collects and logs information automatically and through the use of electronic tools that may be transparent to you, such as your IP address, the name and location of your Internet Service Provider, the type and version of your browser, the length of time that you stay on NewsObserver.com, search queries, your click-stream data, the location that referred you to NewsObserver.com and the average number of pages viewed. If you visit another Web site prior to browsing NewsObserver.com, that Web site might place personally identifiable information within a URL, which may be logged by us. Your IP address is the identifier assigned to your particular computer when you access the Internet. Depending on how you connect to the Internet, your IP address may always be the same, or it may change each time you access the Internet. Note that logging your IP address does not in and of itself provide us with your name, e-mail address or home or work address. We use this log information for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes and may also use it to gather general demographic information about you such as your general location and your Internet Service Provider. To better provide our services to you and to develop member profiles that enable us to tailor NewsObserver.com's services and its advertisements to your interests, we may correlate this log information with other information about you, such as your registration information or newspaper subscription records. We may provide to third parties anonymous aggregated (non-personally identifiable) general information about our Web site and its users.

Use of cookies

Most standard Web browsers contain a feature called "cookies," which allow a Web site to place information about a user's visit to that Web site in a small data text file that is stored on the user's computer. Our use of cookie technology will likely be transparent to you and is used to recognize you and hold information from one visit to the next in an effort to increase your ease of use of NewsObserver.com and to allow us to better understand how people use NewsObserver.com through click-stream analysis. For example, cookies may be used to store information such as your member name and password, sparing you from having to re-enter that information each time you visit. Another example is that we may use cookie technology to control the number of times you see a particular advertisement while visiting NewsObserver.com. You can turn the cookies feature off by using your browser preference options, but doing so will severely limit your access to NewsObserver.com and may prevent you from registration.

Some of NewsObserver.com's third-party content providers also may place a cookie on your computer. If you choose to monitor or restrict cookies that are placed on this computer, you can determine the Web site that is attempting to place a cookie. Those cookies are controlled by the content provider, and you should refer to that provider's privacy policy for further information regarding its use of cookies and about your options not to accept them.

We use services provided by Yahoo! to display advertising on NewsObserver.com, and we may use cookies in conjunction with displaying those ads. Please refer to Yahoo!'s privacy policy at http://privacy.yahoo.com/ for further information concerning Yahoo!'s use of cookies.

We participate in Tacoda Audience Networks (TAN), through which Tacoda Systems, a division of AOL, places a cookie on the user's computer to gather non-personal information about the user, such as the user's browsing behavior and demographic information. This non-personal information is aggregated into audience segments, allowing Tacoda to display relevant advertising to users who visit the websites of other members of TAN. Users' personally identifiable information is not shared with Tacoda or with third-party members of TAN. For more information about how Tacoda uses the information collected by these cookies, please review Tacoda's privacy policy at http://www.platform-a.com/privacy-policy/tacoda. We are not responsible for any actions or policies of Tacoda or of any third-party members of TAN.

In addition, advertisers may elect to use other advertising companies to serve their ads on NewsObserver.com, and advertisers themselves may also place a cookie on a user's computer. We do not have access to the cookies or their contents that are placed by advertisers or by third-party advertising companies. We, therefore, recommend that you read the privacy policy of each and every Web site you visit or with which you interact.

Users may elect to be excluded from these and other targeted-advertising networks by following this link: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp.

Pages on NewsObserver.com may contain tiny electronic images known as web beacons. We use web beacons to assist us in delivering cookies on NewsObserver.com and to allow us to count users who have visited those pages. We may include web beacons in promotional e-mail messages in order to determine whether messages have been opened and acted upon. Many of our web beacons are provided by Omniture, which uses the domain 2o7.net. Please refer to Omniture's privacy policy at http://www.omniture.com/en/privacy for more information concerning the use of web beacons. Users may elect to opt out of Omniture cookie tracking by following this link http://www.omniture.com/en/privacy/2o7 and clicking on the "Click Here To Opt-Out of 2o7.net Cookie Tracking Now" link at the bottom of the page.

Behavioral Targeting

NewsObserver.com participates in the APT from Yahoo! platform and Yahoo! is an ad network partner to display ads on our sites. To improve your ad experience on NewsObserver.com and elsewhere on the Internet, we may send non-personal information to Yahoo! based on your browser's activities, such as type of pages viewed and categories of interests, so that the advertising you see is relevant to you. Yahoo! also may use information regarding its own users to select which ads to display. Learn more about Yahoo!'s ad practices, including how to opt out of using anonymous information to select which ads to show you. Yahoo! is a member of the Network Advertising Initiative.

Use of personally identifiable information

Personally identifiable information may be accessed by the user who entered it, by The News & Observer and NewsObserver.com personnel, and by certain third parties, such as those who provide technical support or content services to NewsObserver.com. For example, your billing and credit card information will be shared with third parties who perform tasks required to complete the purchase transaction. We ask these third parties to keep any personal information supplied by us confidential. We also endeavor to keep your personally identifiable information inaccessible to other users or advertisers of NewsObserver.com. Note that your first name may be displayed on NewsObserver.com when you visit NewsObserver.com as a logged in member. We will also display your e-mail address and contact information in your Member Center. While no Web site is completely secure, we make reasonable efforts to secure the Member Center, such that; it can only be accessed by logging in with your member name and password.

We may also disclose personally identifiable information when deemed necessary or appropriate:

  • to comply with a subpoena or other service of process, court order, or other legal proceeding, or if otherwise requested by a legitimate law enforcement body to cooperate in their investigations;
  • to otherwise comply with applicable law;
  • to prevent, investigate, or to take some other action against illegal activities, potential fraud, potential physical threats to any person, or as required by law;
  • to comply with part of the sale or transfer of business assets, if we sell all or a part of our business;
  • to protect the rights, property, or safety of NewsObserver.com, its affiliates or others.

Use of aggregated information

To describe our services to prospective partners, advertisers and others, we may use your personally identifiable information to create a compiled, aggregate and anonymous view of the NewsObserver.com audience and their usage patterns ("Aggregated Information"). We use Aggregated Information to operate our services and to better understand our audience as we develop new content and services. Aggregated Information may also be shared with third parties with whom we contract to provide content and services on NewsObserver.com as well as advertisers so that they can better understand our audience. For example, we might disclose that a certain percentage of our users are female or within a certain age range or live within a cluster of ZIP codes.

Children's privacy

NewsObserver.com is particularly concerned with providing a safe online environment for children. Children under the age 13 will not be allowed to register and become a member of NewsObserver.com in order to access general NewsObserver.com content, features and services. We do not knowingly collect or solicit personally identifiable information from or about children under 13 except as permitted by law. If we discover we have received any information from a child under 13 in violation of this Privacy Policy, we will delete that information immediately. If you believe we have any information from or about anyone under 13, please contact us at the address listed below.

NewsObserver.com, 215 South McDowell Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27602, or 919-829-4500, or help@newsobserver.com

Member mail and e-mail offers

NewsObserver.com does not rent, sell, barter or give away its user or member lists or its users' or members' names, e-mail addresses or mailing addresses for use by advertisers and other third parties for the purpose of solicitations, unless the user has previously given his or her consent at the time of general registration or registration for a specific contest or service. If a user granted permission to receive solicitations (referred to on NewsObserver.com as e-mail Offers) at the time of registration but subsequently wishes to opt out from receiving such solicitations, the user may visit the Member Center and change one or more of the category-specific permissions related to receiving e-mail from The News & Observer and NewsObserver.com advertisers.

All registered users will receive periodic Member Mail e-mail related to their membership account or various features and services on the The News & Observer Web sites to which their membership entitles them access. Because Member Mail is an integral part of our service to you, users cannot opt-out of receiving Member Mail. If you do not want to receive Member Mail, your only option is to terminate your membership by following the directions in the Member Center.

Separate from NewsObserver.com Member Mail, The News & Observer may send you information via e-mail about various products or services that we believe may be of interest to you, including e-mails that may contain content provided by third-party advertisers. If you do not want to receive this information, you can Opt in by changing your permission setting for The News & Observer Promotions e-mail in the Member Center. The Member Center also allows you to select which categories of e-mail Offers might interest you. You can also change your Opt in preferences in the Member Center.

When a user specifically authorizes e-mail solicitations we make available the user names and other Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with the applicable license.

Our HTML-encoded e-mail messages may include graphic files, which we use to gather information about e-mails sent our members. When such a message is opened in an HTML-capable e-mail program, the recipient's computer accesses our server to retrieve the graphic file, and allows us to record and store the date and time, the recipient's e-mail address, and other standard logging information. These HTML-encoded e-mail messages may also read cookies.

Affiliated sites, linked sites and advertisements

NewsObserver.com expects its partners, providers of content and services and advertisers to respect the privacy of its users. Be aware, however, that third parties, including our partners, providers of content and services, advertisers and others accessible through our site may have their own privacy and data collection policies and practices. For example, during your visit to NewsObserver.com you may link to, or view as part of a frame on a NewsObserver.com page, certain content that is actually created or hosted by a third party. Also through NewsObserver.com you may be introduced to, or be able to access information, services, Web sites, features, contest or sweepstakes offered by other parties. The News & Observer and NewsObserver.com are not responsible for the actions or policies of such third parties. You should use common sense when you navigate the Web and be aware of when you travel outside of NewsObserver.com. In addition, you should carefully review the applicable privacy policies of each Web site you visit and each Web service you use.

Electronic commerce

For certain electronic commerce services on NewsObserver.com, such as placing classified ads electronically or subscribing to The News & Observer, we require additional information. To complete these transactions, we may collect information from you such as your name, credit card number and other financial or personally identifiable information. We endeavor to protect the security of your payment information during transmission by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, which encrypts information you submit. The News & Observer uses the credit card and shipping information for the purpose of completing the transaction and does not provide this information to third parties except for the providers of the transaction processing and the issuers of credit cards in order to process the transaction, or as otherwise set forth in this policy.

Changing your personal information and deleting your account

In general, if you are a registered member, you may return to your account information page in the Member Center to update the information you previously provided to us. To prevent minors from improperly entering contests for which they are not eligible, we may require additional proof from people asking to change information regarding their date of birth. NewsObserver.com may retain personal information for an indefinite amount of time.

You can delete your NewsObserver.com membership account in Member Center by clicking on the link labeled "delete my account." By doing so, all but a transactional record of your membership account will be removed from our databases, though some records may remain on back-up media. Note that by deleting your account, you will cancel your membership and may no longer be able to access those parts of NewsObserver.com for which membership is required.

Remember the risks when you use the Internet

You should know that when you voluntarily disclose personal information on the NewsObserver.com Web site (for example, in the discussion forums), that information can be collected and used by others and may result in unsolicited messages from other people. While we do our best to protect your personal information, we cannot be responsible for information that you choose to publicly disclose. Further, you are solely responsible for maintaining the secrecy of any passwords or other account information. Although we make good faith efforts to store the information we collect in a secure operating environment that is not available to the public and to work with responsible third parties, we cannot guarantee complete security for your information.

In addition, our advertisers, content providers, partners and other Internet sites or services that may be accessible through NewsObserver.com have separate data and privacy practices that are independent of us, and we disclaim any responsibility or liability for their policies or actions. Please contact those sites directly if you have questions about their privacy policies.

International users

If you are an international user, by using NewsObserver.com or by registering for any of its services, you agree that NewsObserver.com may collect, use and transfer your personal information as described in this privacy policy, including transfers outside the country where you live. If you reside in a country in the European Union or other jurisdiction that provides access rights under law, you may access your personal information or have it corrected or updated by going to your account information page in the Member Center and personally updating the information in accordance with applicable law or by contacting us at the address or e-mail set forth below. In some jurisdictions, you may be charged a reasonable fee for access to information.

Platform for privacy preferences

NewsObserver.com supports P3P, the Platform for Privacy Preferences, which allows us to convey our privacy policies, to the extent possible, in standardized, machine-readable code. While NewsObserver.com supports P3P, the resulting code has inherent limitations such that it does not fully and may not accurately express all of our data practices. Some P3P-enabled browsers may interpret the same P3P code in different ways, while others may interpret P3P code in a manner inconsistent with the original intention. Accordingly, your browser's interpretation of the P3P code should only be considered as a short-hand expression of our privacy practices. This Privacy Policy remains our primary policy, and takes precedence over the P3P code or other privacy principals for all purposes.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or comments about our policies, we may be reached at NewsObserver.com, 215 South McDowell Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27602, at 919-829-4500 or at help@newsobserver.com.

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