Ethics. Research. Community.

EthicShare Privacy Policy

The EthicShare web site is hosted and supported by the University of Minnesota. As such, EthicShare adheres to the University's online privacy policy, amended for EthicShare where appropriate. EthicShare serves as both an online research environment for the fields of practical ethics and an experimental platform for studying recommender systems, interface design, and online community design and theory. The EthicShare project team and Governance Board have created this privacy statement to demonstrate our firm commitment to privacy:

The policy of the University of Minnesota is to respect the privacy of all web site visitors to the extent permitted by law. This online privacy statement is intended to inform you of the ways in which this web site collects information, the uses to which that information will be put, and the ways in which we will protect any information you choose to provide us.

There are four types of information that this site may collect during your visit: network traffic logs, web visit logs, cookies, and information voluntarily provided by you.
1. Network Traffic Logs

In the course of ensuring network security and consistent service for all users, the University employs software programs to do such things as monitor network traffic, identify unauthorized access or access to nonpublic information, detect computer viruses and other software that might damage University computers or the network, and monitor and tune the performance of the University network. In the course of such monitoring, these programs may detect such information as e-mail headers, addresses from network packets, and other information. Information from these activities is used only for the purpose of maintaining the security and performance of the University's networks and computer systems. Personally identifiable information from these activities is not released to external parties without your consent unless required by law, including Minn. Stat. 13.15.

2. Web Visit Logs

University web sites routinely collect and store information from online visitors to help manage those sites, improve service, and develop new services. This information includes the pages and files visited on the site, what predictions or customized services the user is shown, the date and time of the visit, the internet address (URL or IP address) of the referring site, the domain name and IP address from which the access occurred, the version of browser used, the capabilities of the browser, and search terms used on our search engines.

Whenever possible, users are represented anonymously as numeric identifiers so that service administrators do not know the real identity of the users in the logged data. However, for the purpose of authenticating users at login, and resolving account issues such as forgotten passwords, a mapping from email addresses to anonymous identifiers is stored. Except for these limited purposes, this site makes no attempt to identify individual visitors from this information. In general, any personally identifiable information is not released to external parties without your consent unless required by law, including Minn. Stat. 13.15.

This web visit log data may be used by the EthicShare system to make recommendations to other users.

3. Cookies

Cookies are pieces of information stored by your web browser on behalf of a web site and returned to the web site on request. This site uses cookies for these purposes: to carry data about your current session at the site from one web page to the next, to identify you to the site between visits, and to store any site preferences that you may choose to set. If you prefer not to receive cookies, you may turn them off in your browser, or may set your browser to ask you before accepting a new cookie. Some features or pages may not function properly if the cookies are turned off. Unless otherwise notified on this site, we will not store data, other than for the stated purposes, in cookies. Cookies remain on your computer, and accordingly we neither store cookies on our computers nor forward them to any external parties. Unless otherwise notified on this site, we do not use cookies to track your movement among different web sites or to provide advertisements, and do not exchange cookies with other entities.

4. Information Voluntarily Provided by You

In using EthicShare, you have the option to register for a personal account that will allow you to use the site’s personalization features and other specialized services and tools. In choosing to register, you will be asked to supply the following information: a user name, your e-mail address and a password. Using your e-mail address allows you to easily remember your EthicShare username and recover your password. When registering, we ask for your permission to send you occasional email updates announcing new features, explaining changes to the system, or inviting you to participate in special opportunities. If at a later time you decide you do not wish to receive these emails, you may indicate this by following the directions in the opt-out section below. We will not send you mail without your permission.

As a registered user, you have the option of creating your own user profile, which will be made visible to other users of the EthicShare site only if you choose. If you consent to share user profile information, what you have listed in your Directory Profile will be publicly visible under your chosen username.

Participating in EthicShare’s conversation features (including message boards and member profiles) requires that you create a publicly visible username. You may modify your profile information and review your privacy settings at any time by clicking "My Account Preferences" when logged in to EthicShare.

In registering for an EthicShare account, you consent to participate in the research activities we conduct on collaborative work sites. At any time, whether when creating an account or editing an existing account, you can select not to be a research study participant. To "opt out" of participation with an existing account, users can make changes in “My Account Preferences” or email There are two types of research studies we will conduct:

   1. Natural studies, where users are divided into groups that receive different versions of an interface, but where the versions are all relatively simple extensions of the EthicShare interface or algorithms that we're comparing in an A/B test. These studies fall into the natural data collection processes of the site. No further consent form will be sent to account holders; all registered users who have not opted out will be included in these studies.
   2. "Virtual lab" studies, where users are run through a very different experience on a "one-off" basis. For these studies, a specific privacy statement will be made clearly available for each activity not covered under this statement, and participation in such activities will be made optional.

In general, each web page requesting information discloses the purpose of that information. If you do not wish to have the information used in that manner, you are not required to provide it.

Finally, in the course of using this web site, you may choose to provide us with information to help us serve your needs. For example, you may send us electronic mail (through a mailer or a web form) to request information, you may sign up for a mailing list, or you may send us your address so we may send you an application or other material. Any personally identifiable information you send us will be used only for the purpose indicated. Requests for information will be directed to the appropriate staff to respond to the request, and may be recorded to help us update our site to better respond to similar requests.

We will not sell, exchange or otherwise distribute your personally identifiable information without your consent, except to the extent required by law. We do not retain the information longer than necessary for normal operations.

Please contact Ethicshare with questions or concerns on the use of personally identifiable information.

Third Parties

EthicShare does not release e-mail addresses or names to any third parties. We may share your demographic data (without your name or e-mail address attached) in research results. Furthermore, we may refer to the tastes of individual users (without your name or e-mail address attached) in research results. Aside from the above, information is held as confidential as is practical within our secured database.

Security Measures

Members of the EthicShare project team are made aware of our privacy policy and practices by reviewing this statement upon joining the team. User data is password protected and access to the database is limited to members of the team.

We use appropriate safeguards to ensure the security, integrity, and privacy of personally identifiable information submitted to our site and periodically update measures with new technologies. When appropriate, the University uses encryption technologies, user authentication systems, and access control mechanisms. This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that the University of Minnesota is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.


If at any time you choose to no longer receive emails from the EthicShare team or would like to revise your participation in the EthicShare site research activities, you may indicate this by preferably clicking on and updating "My Account Preferences" when logged in to EthicShare, or by sending an email to

You have the ability to edit your account information and preferences at any time. Unfortunately, due to the way in which we archive data, it is generally not possible for us to completely remove the data you provided from our systems. However, if you have specific concerns, please feel free to contact us and we will see what we can do.

If you have questions about general University of Minnesota security measures see the University policy: “Including a Privacy Statement on U Web Pages”. If you have questions about this site, its collection of information, or its online privacy statement, contact the site administrator at: