Earthlink.net - Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy from Earthlink.net. The live version of this document is available at http://www.earthlink.net/about/policies/privacy/. This document is a part of Docracy's Terms of Service Tracker project, which tracks changes to terms of service and privacy policy documents of many of the world's top websites.

EarthLink Policies and Agreements

1. What does the EarthLink Consumer Privacy Policy cover?

This Privacy Policy covers (i) the collection, use and retention of personally identifiable information ("PII") from our customers and visitors to www.earthlink.net under the Consumer tab ("EarthLink Consumer Website") and (ii) your options with regard to that collection and use.   The EarthLink Consumer Website and the services and products offered on or through the EarthLink Consumer Website are collectively referred to in this Privacy Policy as the "EarthLink Consumer Services".

EarthLink is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your PII and will not share, sell or license your PII except in very limited circumstances as described below.   All PII collected by EarthLink including, but not limited to, via the Internet, via any EarthLink Consumer mobile application, via mail or over the telephone is protected by the terms of this Privacy Policy.

2. What is PII?

PII is any information that can be used to personally identify you, including, but not limited to:

  • Information you provide when you register for certain services and products available on or through the EarthLink Consumer Website including your name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and credit card number.  
  • Transaction and activity information about your EarthLink Consumer Services; your customer account and billing records; yourinteractions with our customer service representatives over the telephone, email or through online chat; your contest entries; and how you use your EarthLink Consumer Services.

3. How we use your PII

EarthLink uses your PII to (i) provide your EarthLink Consumer Services to you, (ii) establish and manage your customer account and billing records, (iii) contact you about your customer account including your EarthLink Consumer Services and other products and services that we offer or that we offer in conjunction with an affiliate company, (iv) provide you with additional information that may be of interest to you such as news about EarthLink, (v) resolve billing problems, (vi) provide customized technical support, (vii) monitor your EarthLink Consumer Services, (viii) monitor and protect our network, (ix) protect against fraudulent, abusive, unauthorized or unlawful use of the EarthLink Consumer Services, (x) provide customized personal start pages, and (xi) administer surveys and contests.

If you apply online for a position at EarthLink, we will only use the information you provided for job recruitment and other customary human resources purposes.

PII may be supplemented with information received from publicly available sources, such as demographic information, to help us develop and improve the EarthLink Consumer Services and to choose and send marketing offers to you that may be of interest to you.

4. How EarthLink protects the Security of PII

EarthLink has implemented an information security program that contains administrative, technical and physical controls that are designed to safeguard your PII and other non-personally identifiable information. We use industry standards to secure PII when it is being collected and transmitted over the Internet as well as firewalls, security monitoring, encryption and intrusion detection software. Although we cannot guarantee that our information security program will prevent every unauthorized attempt to access, use or disclose your PII, we maintain security and incident response practices to handle incidents involving unauthorized access to PII.

Under our practices and policies, access to PII is authorized only for EarthLink employees and contractors who have a business need for such access, and records are stored in accordance with applicable laws and then securely destroyed.  EarthLink employees and contractors are trained on the importance of protecting privacy and on the proper access to, use of and disclosure of PII.

As an extra precaution, you should not share your password with anyone. EarthLink will only ask you for your password as part of a customer service or technical support call or online chat, and only in cases where you request customer support to access your account information or you request customer or technical support to correct a service problem.

5. Sharing of PII in Limited Circumstances

EarthLink will not share, sell, or license your PII to third parties for their marketing purposes without your consent.  EarthLink may disclose your PII in response to:

  • Subpoenas, court orders, search warrants or other valid legal process, or as otherwise authorized by law,
  • Circumstances where EarthLink has a good faith belief that a crime has been committed by an EarthLink customer or visitor,
  • An emergency that poses a safety threat to you or another person, or
  • Possible violations of the EarthLink Acceptable Use Policy or other EarthLink policies, available at http://www.earthlink.net/about/policies/

When EarthLink uses third parties to perform business functions on our behalf, we require them through contracts to treat your PII confidentially and to only use your PII for the express purpose of providing the specific business functions for EarthLink. Examples of such third parties include, but are not limited to: (i) merchant banks for credit card authorizations, (ii) collection agencies, (iii) customer service companies, and (iv) market research companies.

Some EarthLink Consumer Services are offered to EarthLink customers in conjunction with a third-party vendor. For example, we outsource the provision of stock quotes and operation of your stock portfolio (accessible through your personal start page) to a third-party vendor. To provide these services, the vendor may need to collect and store your PII but the vendor will be required by contract with EarthLink to maintain the confidentiality of your PII.

If ownership of EarthLink changes as a result of a merger, acquisition, or the sale of its assets, your PII may be transferred or assigned as part of the transferred assets. If such a transfer results in a material change in the use of your PII, we will notify you about the material change.

6. Use of Cookies and Other Data Collection Technologies

EarthLink uses cookies to collect certain non-personally identifiable information ("Non-PII") about you when you visit the EarthLink Consumer Website so that we can personalize your experience when you return to the EarthLink Consumer Website. Cookies are small text files that websites send to your computer or other Internet-connected device to uniquely identify your browser or to store information or settings in your browser. Cookies allow us to recognize you when you return to the EarthLink Consumer Website. If you have created your own personal start page, we will use cookies to save your settings and to provide customizable and personalized services and content.

The information collected by the cookies does not identify you personally, but may include your Internet Protocol or IP address, the website address of your point of entry to the EarthLink Consumer Website and information about your connection, computer, operating system and browser. Additionally, we may collect information about your browsing activity, such as the date and time you visit the EarthLink Consumer Website, the areas or pages of the EarthLink Consumer Website you visit, and the amount of time you spend on the EarthLink Consumer Website.

In many cases, you can manage cookie preferences and opt-out of having cookies used by adjusting the settings on your browser.  All browsers are different, so visit the "help" section of your browser to learn about cookie preferences and other privacy settings that may be available.  However, it is possible that certain features on the EarthLink Consumer Website may not work properly if your browser is set to refuse cookies.

In addition to cookies, EarthLink also uses web beacons, also known as "web bugs," "pixel tags," or "tracking tags" to help us understand how visitors are using the EarthLink Consumer Website and to help us track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns. Some web beacons or tags may come from third party vendors, such as Google. These kinds of tracking and analytics are done in the aggregate and are anonymous.

7. How to access and update your Registration and Billing Information

EarthLink provides you with access to your registration and billing information and the ability to update this information at myaccount.earthlink.net.

8. Your Opt-In and Opt-Out Choices

You may exercise your option not to receive any marketing communications from EarthLink by (i) clicking on unsubscribe at the bottom of our marketing emails that will link to https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/contactinfo.jsp, (ii) going directly to  https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/contactinfo.jsp, or (iii) calling EarthLink customer service.

If you chose to opt out of marketing communications, you will still receive EarthLink's eLink newsletter unless you unsubscribe to eLink by (i) clicking on unsubscribe at the bottom of eLink that will link to https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/elink.jsp?x=1973758878, (ii) going directly to https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/elink.jsp?x=1973758878, or (iii) calling EarthLink customer service.

Your opt-out choices will remain in effect until you change them. 

You cannot opt out of receiving administrative communications from EarthLink because they communicate information that affects your EarthLink account.    

9. What is Outside the Scope of this Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy does not apply to information about you collected by third party websites ("Third Party Websites") including any websites you may link to from the EarthLink Consumer Website.  These Third Party Websites are not operated by EarthLink and they have their own privacy policies and terms of service. We encourage you to read the Third Party Websites' privacy policies before using these Third Party Websites. EarthLink is not responsible for the content, services, products or applications provided by or through Third Party Websites.

This Privacy Policy does not apply to the PII of EarthLink Business' customers. The EarthLink Business privacy policy is located at http://www.earthlinkbusiness.com/about-us/legal/privacy-policy.xea.

Anonymous and/or aggregated data that does not identify any specific individuals are outside the scope of this Privacy Policy. Sometimes we share Non-PII with other companies that help us deliver and improve the EarthLink Consumer Services. Some EarthLink customers have co-branded personal start pages that are cosponsored by third parties. EarthLink may share Non-PII with such third parties in order to more effectively market co-branded products or services to EarthLink customers who use these co-branded personal start pages. EarthLink also shares Non-PII with third parties that assist EarthLink in analyzing the results of surveys or the traffic on the EarthLink Consumer Website.

If you post any comments to any of the public areas of the EarthLink Consumer Website such as blogs, forums or "Ask Email Guy," your comments can be read or used by other visitors to the EarthLink Consumer Website and any PII that you post in such public areas could be used by other visitors to contact you or for other purposes.  You should exercise caution when deciding to disclose any information in these public areas. EarthLink is not responsible for any PII you choose to submit through these or other features.

EarthLink may share Non-PII with select advertisers. In some instances, we use this information to deliver tailored advertisements. Based upon the information we have collected, we may then display advertisements to specific audiences. EarthLink does not share PII with these advertisers.  We use DoubleClick and other third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit the EarthLink Consumer Website. These advertising companies may use Non-PII about your visits to the EarthLink Consumer Website in order to provide advertisements on the EarthLink Consumer Website about goods and services that may be of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, you can go to www.networkadvertising.org.

10. Protection of Children

Protecting children's privacy is especially important to us. You must be 18 years of age or older to order and receive the EarthLink Consumer Services. EarthLink does not knowingly ask for or collect PII from any person under the age of 18.

EarthLink recommends that children ask a parent for permission before sending any PII anywhere using the Internet. For further information about tips, techniques and resources about Internet safety, please visit www.GetNetWise.org or www.StaySafeOnline.org.

11. California Privacy Rights

California Civil Code Section 1798.83, also known as S.B. 27, allows our California customers to request certain information regarding our disclosures in the prior calendar year, if any, of PII to third parties for their own direct marketing purposes.  If you are a California resident and want to make such a request, please contact us at [email protected] or EarthLink, Inc., Legal Department/Consumer Privacy, 1375 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309 and include your name and the address. Please note that under California law, businesses are only required to respond to a customer request for this information once during any calendar year.

12. International Visitors

Your PII will be processed by us in compliance with this Privacy Policy and United States data protection and privacy laws and regulations. If you create an account to use an EarthLink Consumer Service and/or are using the EarthLink Consumer Website as a visitor from outside the United States, you agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy and you  consent to the transfer and processing of all your PII in accordance with this Privacy Policy and United States data protection and privacy laws, which many not offer an equivalent level of protection to the laws in the European Union or certain other countries.

13. Changes to this Privacy Policy

From time to time, EarthLink may update this Privacy Policy to reflect new or different privacy practices. You will be able to see that changes have been made by checking the effective date and endnotes at the end of this Privacy Policy that explain what has been revised.

In addition, if any of the revisions to this Privacy Policy will materially affect the way we use or disclose previously-collected PII, we will notify you about the change by sending an email notice to the primary email address associated with your EarthLink account. 

14. How to Contact Us

Please contact us if you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or its implementation, at [email protected] or EarthLink, Inc., Legal Department/Consumer Privacy, 1375 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Effective Date:  December 28, 2012

This EarthLink Consumer Privacy Policy dated December 28, 2012 updates the previous version dated October 31, 2003 to address new technologies and applicable privacy laws but there are no material changes to EarthLink's privacy policies or procedures from the October 31, 2003 version.

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