Privacy Policy, Terms, and Conditions: WhaleReport

PRIVACY POLICY: WHALEREPORT

Introduction and Background

Your submission of personal information through the WhaleReport app is governed by Ocean Wise Conservation Association’s Privacy Policy.  Privacy is important to Ocean Wise Conservation Association (Ocean Wise) and we take care to process personal data in accordance with applicable data protection laws and our contractual obligations. Please take the time to read this Privacy Policy and the Terms and Conditions to understand how the WhaleReport app secures personal data, why and how Ocean Wise processes, shares and secures personal data, and to learn more about your rights and preferences.

In this Policy, “Ocean Wise,” “we,” “us” and “our” each means Ocean Wise Conservation Association.

Personal Information

When you first download WhaleReport, you will be asked to provide your personal details in the “My Details” section.  The only information you are required to provide is your First Name, Last Name, and email address.  All other information is provided on a voluntary basis.  We do not give, rent, or sell personal information.  We will only use your contact information to ask you any follow up questions regarding your sighting reports to aid in our research efforts, and will not contact you for any promotional reasons.  All other personal information shared voluntarily (e.g. Post Code, City, professional affiliation) is used by us to determine observer demographics and coverage, as well as the effectiveness of our outreach efforts.  Your self-determined experience (e.g. Researcher, novice recreational observer, experienced recreational observer, ecotourism operator, etc) will help us determine our confidence in your species identification.

Your personal information will also be stored in a secure, password-protected Microsoft Access database that is only accessible by a small number of authorized Ocean Wise researchers.  Each sighting report that you submit will be linked to your personal profile within the database.  This allows researchers to track how many sighting reports you have submitted over time and identify our “top observers” each year. You may access your own sighting reports at any time by setting up a Sightings Portal. For more information or to set up your Sightings Portal, please email [email protected]

Your sighting reports may be shared with the WhaleReport Alert System and/or external researchers for marine situational awareness and conservation-based research purposes (upon approval of a data request).  All reports are anonymized to ensure user privacy. Your personal data will never be shared with any third parties without your express, written consent, and will not be visible to other WhaleReport users, WhaleReport Alert System users, or on any other platforms.

If you have any questions or concerns about how your personal information is used, please email us at [email protected]

Location Data 

When you have WhaleReport open and are actively reporting a sighting, WhaleReport will poll your location.  This enables you to easily determine your location relative to the animal(s) you are reporting.  We are not interested in your personal location information, merely the location of the animals you are viewing.  If you are in the same location of the animals at the time of the report, your location data at the time of reporting the sighting is saved as the “Location of Animal(s)” and stored on a secure server as well as in a secure, password-protected Microsoft Access database that is only accessible by a small number of authorized Ocean Wise researchers. This information is used by Ocean Wise researchers to monitor the occurrence, distribution, and habitat use of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles.  This information may be shared with the WhaleReport Alert System and/or external researchers for marine situational awareness and conservation-based research purposes (upon approval of a data request).  All reports are anonymized to ensure user privacy. Your personal data will never be shared with any third parties without your express, written consent, and will not be visible to other WhaleReport users or on any other platforms.

If you do not wish to share your location data but still wish to submit sighting reports, you may enter the coordinates of your sighting manually.  Please view the tutorial in WhaleReport for more information.

What you need to know about Consent

By providing personal information to us, you allow “deemed” consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your information in accordance with this policy. When you provide contact information to us, we may contact you occasionally to ask you follow up questions about your sighting report(s).

Updating your Consent

We respect your right to control your personal information — please contact us immediately if you want us to stop using it in any particular way. We will fulfill your request in the timeliest way possible.  To unsubscribe from emails, please email [email protected] and type “unsubscribe” in the subject line.  Upon reasonable request and notice, you may view and have corrections made to the personal information we hold about you, subject to any legal or contractual restrictions. If you are aware of any inaccuracies in the personal information, we hold about you or to remove all of your information from our databases, please contact [email protected]

How we Keep your Information Secure

We endeavour to maintain appropriate physical, procedural and technical safeguards for your personal information. Some information we collect may be stored and processed on servers located outside your jurisdiction of residence, including outside your country. As a result, this information may be subject to disclosure to governments, courts or law enforcement agencies in those areas, according to their laws,
without notice to us or you.

Information we Share

We do not give, rent, or sell personal information.

We may use the personal information provided to send occasional updates about the WhaleReport or its associated systems via push notifications.  In some cases, we will use a third-party to send out information.  The third-party services that we use have resources dedicated to maintaining security and confidentiality, and we ensure that any third-party partner has written policies about never sharing your information with anyone other than Ocean Wise.  In order to communicate with you, we may work with external organizations to help us with our communications or to contact you on our behalf. We only work with organizations that have comprehensive security and confidentiality policies, including written policies to safeguard your information properly and only use it for the purpose specified by us; they are not permitted to use or share your information with anyone other than Ocean Wise.

Policy Updates and Changes

We may change this policy from time to time without notice. Changes will be reflected on this page.

Need more information?

For further information, please contact [email protected]

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By downloading WhaleReport, you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions.  Please read these conditions of use carefully before using WhaleReport.

Accuracy, completeness, and Timeliness of Information

Ocean Wise© Conservation Association will not be held responsible if any information in WhaleReport is not accurate, complete, or current.  Boaters should take personal responsibility to ensure that they are aware of the most recent Be Whale Wise Guidelines and Marine Mammal Regulations in their area, and should not use WhaleReport as the sole basis for making decisions while out on the water. The user is responsible for following Marine Mammal Regulations at all times on the water.  Any reliance on WhaleReport is at the risk of the user.  Approaching animals in any way that violates the Marine Mammal Regulations in order to make a sighting report is not permitted.

Intentions of Use

Information about the distribution and abundance of species is the key to both understanding the status of the species and whether the status of the population is improving, steady or declining.  However, the vast and remote nature of British Columbia’s coastline can make regular monitoring of cetacean populations via traditional scientific surveys particularly challenging.  For over 20 years, Ocean Wise has administered the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network (BCCSN) to build a diverse and dedicated network of over 7,000 coastal community members who regularly report their cetacean (whales, dolphin, and porpoise) and sea turtle sightings.  Our mission is to monitor the abundance and distribution of cetaceans in British Columbian, Washington, and Alaskan waters and reduce the risk of vessel strike and disturbance.

We maintain a well-curated database containing over 130,000 cetacean and sea turtle sighting reports, submitted by a robust network of citizen scientists.  This database is the primary source of information on the occurrence of cetaceans and sea turtles in BC, Washington, and Alaskan waters, and spatial and temporal trends in their abundance. Subsets of the data it contains are provided to over 30 conservation-based research projects annually.

We consider data requests for: i) academic research on ecology, basic biology, habitat use or related subjects; ii) conservation assessment and planning; iii) species recovery planning including critical habitat determination; and iv) environmental impact assessment, evaluation and mitigation.

If Ocean Wise has good reason to believe that the information provided is fraudulent or purposefully inaccurate, your account will be ‘blacklisted’ in our database and your sighting reports will not be used by the WhaleReport Alert System or for conservation-based research purposes.