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Overview, In Plain English

It's simple. Refdesk respects your privacy. This policy explains exactly what information may be shared, and why. In short:

Privacy Policy Agreement

Effective Date: This Privacy Policy was last modified on May 30, 2020., Inc., publisher of on-line website referred to by this policy as "Refdesk" or "We", i committed to maintaining the privacy of Personal Information that we collect, receive, use, retain, maintain, disclose, delete or dispose of, and transfer, including by international disclosure and transfer (collectively “process” or “processing”). This Privacy Policy covers how Refdesk will collect and process Personal Information (e.g., name, email address) and other non-personal information (e.g., usage and analytics) on our websites (collectively, the “Services”). It also describes your choices regarding use, access, deletion and correction of your Personal Information. Your use of the Services is at all times subject to our Terms and Conditions or other rules which may be posted on other pages our websites or on or mobile apps. All references to “you,” “your” or “user” apply to any person viewing, accessing or otherwise using the Services and associated features and services, including both those who use the Services without being registered with or subscribing to a Service and users who have registered with or subscribed to a Service.

By accessing the Services and/or by providing Personal Information, you accept and hereby affirmatively, expressly, explicitly, voluntarily and unambiguously consent to our processing of your Personal Information in accordance with the terms of this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with any of the terms of this Privacy Policy, you should not view, access or use the Services. This Privacy Policy does not apply to the practices of companies or other third parties we don’t own or control.

Information We Collect and Obtain

Information You Provide

Users can browse our websites without logging in or providing any Personal Information, although we passively collect certain other information as described below. The IP address of your device is collected when you access the Services for the purposes of system administration, security, and to report aggregate information to our advertisers, our affiliates or vendors. We do not link or combine IP addresses with any collected Personal Information, nor do we compile session activity reports by IP address. For example, We do not associate device IP addresses with user identities in any way, meaning that your IP address and your name or email address are never associated with each other in our systems and your name and contact information are never shared with third parties by us. We do not log cookie data at all, so there is no reasonable way to make such an association. In addition, we currently do not honor Do Not Track browser signals, as they are enabled by default in popular browsers rather than in accordance with affirmative user intent.

When you subscribe to any of our services, register for a daily mailing, contact us for any information or to ask a question, or respond to a survey, you may be asked to provide certain Personal Information referred to by this policy as Account Information, which may include your name, billing address, city, state, zip code, email address, and phone number. It is always your choice whether or not to provide us with such Personal Information. However, if you do not provide the necessary information you may not be able to access some or all of the features of the Services. We also may have no way to respond to your questions or inquiries.

How We Use the Information We Obtain

To summarize, the Personal Information we collect from you is meant to help us:

We DO NOT use this information to:

We use a third-party payment processor to facilitate payments for contributions and subscriptions. You will be asked to provide certain payment information, such as a credit or debit card number, along with other Personal Information to verify and authorize the payment. The collection and process of this information by the payment processor is subject to their terms and policies. We do not have access to, nor do we retain your financial information that you provide to the third-party processor.

Information We Generate

When you use the Services for the first time on a device, we consult geolocation data based on your internet protocol address (IP Address) to determine whether you are in the state of California or not. We may store a cookie in your browser indicating such (in_ca=y or in_ca=n). These cookie values are presented to Refdesk each time you use the Services, but are not presented to third parties. Your precise location information is not saved. In accordance with California law, California users are shown a "Do Not Sell My Info" link to a web page that describes your rights and options under the CCPA.

You may use the free version of the web site without registering an account. If you choose to register an account with Refdesk, we assign you an internal customer_id number, and user_id number that are associated with your Account Information to allow you to log in for personalized access to the Services. Upon log in, we generate a cryptographically signed session_id token that is stored in a browser cookie, and is automatically presented to the Services by your device upon subsequent visits. This session token validates that you are a signed in user, and may be associated with your contact information in our databases. Refdesk does not log or associate this information with your internet protocol address (IP Address). These internal identifiers may be stored in our databases, but are not shared with any third parties, except in response to a valid legal order. Passive Collection of Information; Tracking Technologies

We gather certain information automatically when you access our websites and the Services. This information may include, but not be limited to, Internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp, and/or clickstream data. We use this information for profiling purposes, such as tracking user’s web browsing activities through cookies or other tracking technologies, in order to analyze user browsing behavior to provide and to improve the Services and to serve online behavioral advertising.

We use cookies on our websites. Cookies are used to improve functionality and your use of our websites, as well as for analytic and advertising purposes. Disabling cookies may hinder your ability to access and use our websites or Services. For example, your newsfeed preference or font/text style/size settings can not be saved without them. You will be unable to log into Ad-free Refdesk without them.

In addition, we use cookies or similar technologies to analyze trends, administer the website, track users’ movements around the website, and to gather aggregated demographic information about our user base as a whole. We use persistent cookies to assist us with the collection and use of de-identified browsing data, including IP address and Cookie ID to enable online behavioral advertising. Users can control the use of cookies at the individual browser level. If you reject cookies, you may still navigate our websites, but your ability to use the Services may be limited.

This de-identified data includes, but is not limited to, information such as a web visitor’s web pages which have been viewed by a web visitor, date and time, domain type, and responses by a web visitor to an advertisement delivered by us or a third-party advertising technology vendor. As the Internet evolves, we may use different types of technologies to collect these types of de-identified, non-personally identifiable information. The collection of this de-identified data allows us and our partners to better target advertising to user interests. The data also allows us to provide improvements to our services, for example, improving the effectiveness of the advertisements delivered to users and limiting the number of times a person sees a given advertisement. A further description of how we use online behavioral advertising is provided below.

We regularly conduct analytics activities on our websites and Services to determine their effectiveness and how they can be improved. For example, we use Google Analytics and other services to improve our operations. For more information about Google analytic cookies, please see Google’s help pages. Google has developed the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on for the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js). If you want to opt out of Google Analytics, you can opt out.

Online Behavioral Advertising

We use third party advertising companies and advertising networks to serve online behavioral advertising to you on our behalf when you access and use the Services. Our agreements with these third-party advertising networks specify that they may use certain non-personal information about your access and use of the Services (but not Personal Information such as your name, address, email address or telephone number) to provide advertisements 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, please see the NAI and DAA options in the opt-out section.

As noted above, we employ cookies and other technologies, as well as work with third parties to provide online behavior advertising on our websites and Services, which strive to provide you with more targeted advertising choices. This service does not access or use your Personal Information, but rather data about your online viewing history is collected and analyzed anonymously. Residents of the EEA are asked to consent to our use of online behavior advertising: Review consent preferences. At any time, you can opt out at of this service using the EDAA link in the opt-out section. Be advised, however, that not consenting to or opting out of online behavior advertising does not mean that you will not see advertising when you are online. It means only that the advertising you do see will be less relevant to your interests and choices.

Opt-Out Options

You may opt out from tracking using these methods:

Access to Your Personal Information; Information Choices

Residents of the EEA have the right to:

To withdraw consent or exercise these rights, please:

Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect processing of your Personal Information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.

If we ask you to provide Personal Information to us to comply with a legal requirement or enter into a contract, we will inform you of this and let you know whether providing us with your Personal Information is required and if not, the consequences of not sharing your personal data with us.

Similarly, if we collect and use your Personal Information in reliance on our or a third party's legitimate interests and those interests are not already described above, we will let you know what those legitimate interests are.

We endeavor to apply suitable safeguards to protect the privacy and security of your Personal Information and to use it only consistent with your relationship with us and the practices described in this Privacy Policy. We also take steps to minimize the risk to your rights and freedoms by not collecting or storing sensitive or special categories of Personal Information about you.

If you are a Canadian resident, you may withdraw consent, request information about our collection, use and disclosure of your Personal Information, and request information on our policies and practices relating to disclosure of information to our service providers.

You can also exercise these rights at any time by contacting us at or as indicated in the Contacting refdesk section of this agreement. We will respond to your request in a reasonable timeframe and in accordance with the law that applies to you. In most cases, revoking consent is prospective only. If you withdraw your consent you may no longer be able to access or use any of the Services.

Third-Party Affiliates

We participate in affiliate marketing and may allow affiliate links to be encoded on some of our pages. This means that we may earn a commission if/when you click on or make purchases via affiliate links.

Accessing Your Information; Information Choices

In addition to any other rights to your data that you may have under laws that apply to you, you may access your Personal Information that we hold, and correct, amend, update or delete information that is inaccurate by contacting us at We will respond to requests in accordance with the laws that apply to you and within a reasonable timeframe. You can help us maintain the accuracy of your information by notifying us of any changes to your information.


We offer on-line surveys from time to time. Participating in these on-line activities is entirely voluntary and without obligation, simply decline to participate by not clicking on the link that says “survey,” etc. However, if you do participate in these on-line activities, you may be asked to provide certain Personal Information for the purposes of, for example, allowing Refdesk to respond to your remarks, if requested.

Data Retention

We will retain your Personal Information for as long as your account or subscription is active, as needed to provide you services that you request, and as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.


We use commercially reasonable physical, managerial, and technical safeguards to preserve the integrity and security of your personal information and to protect it against loss or unauthorized use or disclosure. For example, our third-party payment processor uses industry-standard SSL protocol (Secure Sockets Layer) to ensure that all credit card transactions are secure.

As the Internet is not 100% secure, we cannot, however, ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission of information, we make commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the security of our systems. However, please note that this is not a guarantee that such information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed by breach of any of our physical, technical, or managerial safeguards.

Sale of Assets

In the event that another company acquires all or substantially all of the assets related to the business, we reserve the right to include, disclose and transfer any or all stored Personal Information and non-personal information among the assets transferred to the acquiring company. If Refdesk or our other assets are involved in a merger, acquisition, or sale of all or a portion of its assets, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our Website of any change in ownership or uses of your Personal Information, as well as any choices you may have regarding your Personal Information.

Users Outside the United States

If we collect the Personal Information of residents from the European Economic Area (EEA), we advise that your Personal Information will be transferred to and processed in the United States, which has data protection laws that are different than those in your country and may not be as protective. The United States has not sought nor received a finding of “adequacy” from the European Union under Article 45 of the GDPR. Our legal basis for collecting and using your Personal Information or information is to do so with your consent; where we need the Personal Information for performance of a contract, or where the collection and use is in our legitimate interests and not overridden by your data protection interests or fundamental rights and freedoms. In some cases, we may also have a legal obligation to collect the Personal Information in question. If we collected your Personal Information with your consent, you may withdraw your consent at any time.

Links to Other Sites; Transactions with Third Parties

Our websites and Services contain links to other sites that are not owned or controlled by us. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of these other sites, nor are we responsible for your transactions with any third parties that may link to our websites or the Services. We encourage you to review the privacy policies and statements of other sites to understand their information practices. Our Privacy Policy applies only to information collected by our websites and the Services.

We may make content or services from other sites, including our affiliated or co-branded websites, available to you from links. These sites may not be subject to this Privacy Policy. We recommend that you review the privacy policy at each such site to determine how that site protects your privacy.

Children’s Privacy

Our Site is not directed to children and we do not knowingly collect Personal Information from users who are under the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, who are US residents under age 13, or who are EEA residents under age 16. If you believe your child has provided Personal Information to us, please contact us at

Your California Privacy Rights; California Do Not Track Disclosures

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 (“Shine The Light” Law) permits California residents to request information regarding the disclosure of your Personal Information to a third party for the third party's direct marketing purposes. Refdesk DOES NOT SHARE any Personal Information as defined in this statue to any third parties for any marketing purposes. Therefore, we are not required under the statute to provide users who are California residents with a list of third parties to whom your Personal Information may have been disclosed for direct marketing purposes.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy from time to time, so please check back periodically to confirm the most recent modification date to ensure that you are aware of any changes in our processing of your Personal Information. Your continued use of the Services after any changes signifies your express and unambiguous consent to any such changes. If you do not agree to such changes, you should immediately stop using the Services.

Contacting Refdesk

You may contact Refdesk about complaints, questions, comments, or notices relating to this Privacy Policy. We commit to resolving complaints about your privacy and our collection, use or transfer of your Personal Information. Users with a need to provide a Notice to us under this policy or our Terms of Use, or Users with inquiries or complaints regarding this Privacy Policy should contact us at: or:, Inc.
650 Castro Street, #120-175
Mountain View, CA 94041

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[ Fast Facts ] [ First Things First ] [ Quick Reference ] [ Site Map ] [ Privacy ] [ Contact Us ] [ ]