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Privacy Policy

The Council for Biotechnology Information (“CBI,” “our,” or "we") has developed this policy statement to assist end users of the GMO ANSWERS Web site ("you,” “your,” or "user") in understanding what personally identifiable information CBI may collect from you and how CBI may use such information (the "Privacy Policy").  Accordingly, the following Privacy Policy summarizes the personally identifiable information gathering and use practices for CBI's Web site located at the URL [](“Site”).  Personally identifiable information ("PII") includes information that can identify a specific individual.  CBI reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time to better reflect its practices.  If CBI makes changes to this Privacy Policy, CBI will post those changes at this location and provide notice of any material changes so that you are aware of what PII we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances we disclose it.  Please review this Privacy Policy on a periodic basis.   


What Information Does CBI Collect?


CBI generally collects PII (as described further below) during its registration processes.  But, CBI may request PII at other times, including, but not limited to, when you report a problem with our Site, when you complete additional survey forms, when you enter into a transaction through or otherwise use the Site, and when you request to receive communications from CBI.  Below, we provide specific examples of the types of PII that CBI collects through the Site.

Contact Information: 

CBI may request or collect contact information, such as your name, postal address, phone number, facsimile number, or e-mail address. 

Demographic Information:

CBI may request or collect demographic, professional, and profile data (for example, educational, employment, and geographic information). 

Transactional Information: 

CBI may maintain a database of aggregated information about the transactions on or usage of the Site (e.g., tool or feature (and related database) utilization, registration information, and content selection data).

Technical Information: 

CBI may also collect the domain and host information and the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from all users of our Site as well as the date and time of access and the Web page(s) accessed.  CBI may also catalog your log-in information and the type of computer, browser, or operating system used by the user.

How Does CBI Use that Information?

Most of the Site is informational in nature and publicly available to all users.  Consequently, until you request to participate in surveys, provide PII on your own volition, or allow CBI to send you information, you are able to browse the Site without providing any PII, although your browser may tell us what type of computer and operating system you are using as well as other kinds of technical information.  Below, we provide more detail on how CBI uses your PII.

CBI may use your PII to provide the Site and its functionality, services, and content and to enable you to participate in the Site's related activities, applications, and offerings (and in particular, its communication forum(s)).  CBI and its contractors may also use your PII and, in particular, your contact information [{to create a personalized experience for you, to provide you with news and information, to contact you regarding a survey, and to get in touch with you when necessary with respect to your use of the Site, material changes in our Site’s policies and agreements, new services, products, or programs CBI may offer, or otherwise. 

In connection with the foregoing, CBI may also use or share the following:

  • demographic data on an aggregated basis, which will not identify any particular user, with its members, business partners, and/or the general public;
  • survey results collected through the Site with its members, business partners and/or the general public;
  • transactional data with business partners, particularly contractors, and aggregated transactional data with CBI’s members and/or the general public;  and
  • technical information, such as your domain, host, IP address, or browser type, to help diagnose problems with our servers, analyze Site usage trends, track user movements on the Site, and to otherwise manage and monitor our Site and aggregated technical data with CBI’s members and/or the general public.

Business Transactions: 

In the event that CBI goes through a business transaction, such as a merger or acquisition by another entity involving the sale of all or a portion of its assets, please note that the PII collected and retained by CBI may be among the assets transferred.  In the event a transaction of this kind occurs that results in the transfer of PII, CBI will notify you via e-mail and/or place a prominent notice on the Site for thirty (30) days of any such change in ownership or control and the possible changes to this Privacy Policy.

Legal Action. 

CBI may also disclose PII when legally required to do so in accordance with government requests or regulations or legal proceedings.  CBI may also disclose PII to protect against misuse or unauthorized use of the Site or as is otherwise required to limit legal liability, protect or defend CBI’s rights, property, or interests, or protect the safety, rights, or property of our users.

What About the Use of Cookies and other Automated Data Collection Techniques? 

CBI may use cookies or similar programming techniques to enhance your experience while using the Site. Cookies and the like are pieces of information or methods of data collection, which CBI uses for record-keeping purposes, which the Site either transfers to your computer's Web-browser for storage on your computer's hard drive or otherwise uses in connection with your utilization of the Site. Cookies and similar data collection practices enable CBI to customize your experience on the Site by automatically performing certain functions, such as saving your personal preferences.  If you would prefer not to receive cookies or be subject to certain data collection techniques, please consider the available settings of your browser to refuse or delete cookies or disallow other similar data collection practices.  If you choose to have your browser refuse or delete cookies or disallow other similar data collection practices, however, you should understand that it is possible that some areas of the Site may not function properly when you view them.

What About External or Third Party Websites?

To the extent hyperlinks or gateways (whether through banner advertisements or otherwise) are utilized to access external or third party sites, you should be aware that these external or third party sites may collect PII and are not controlled by CBI and therefore, are not subject to this Privacy Policy.  CBI suggests that you check the privacy policies of these sites to determine how the proprietors of these third party sites will utilize your PII.

What About Security? 

As is appropriate for the nature of PII collected and stored by CBI and implemented in a manner consistent with other similar offerings by relevant third parties, the Site has industry recognized security measures or safeguards in place to protect against the loss, misuse, and alteration of the PII under CBI's control.  Although CBI has endeavored to create a secure and reliable Site, however, the confidentiality of any communication or data cannot be absolutely guaranteed.  Accordingly, you should consider carefully if you want to submit sensitive information to CBI.  CBI urges you to take every precaution to protect your PII when on-line.

What About "Opting-Out" of Data Collection and Use?

For certain PII collection, you can decide on your own if you wish to provide your PII to CBI (when requested) or opt-out of doing so.  For example, if CBI conducts a survey, you do not have to participate unless you agree to do so.  CBI also provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of certain CBI business practices where your PII may be used.  For example, users may opt-out of having CBI use their PII in connection with the following activities: (i) inclusion in certain programs or (ii) e-mail or other communications sent by CBI.  You may also opt-out by contacting CBI as set forth below.  Thus, to a certain extent, you can control the information you provide or share with CBI.  Nevertheless, the collection and use of certain PII is required to provide a number of features of the Site.

What About Correcting, Deleting, or Updating Information? 

CBI will retain your PII for as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose(s) for which it was collected and to comply with applicable laws.  At any time, you may contact CBI, as set forth below, to correct, modify, or delete the information you provide to CBI through the Site.  CBI may require you to confirm your identity with respect to any request.  Please note, however, that the collection and uses of certain PII is necessary to provide certain information and services through the Site, and the deletion of such necessary information, e.g., an e-mail address, may render a particular service or CBI's ability to provide it inoperable. 

What About Children?

CBI cares about the safety of children on its Site and encourages parents and guardians to monitor their children's use of the Internet.  Although the Site is suitable for a general audience, the Site is intended for use only by users who are over the legal age of majority.  Accordingly, CBI does not intentionally solicit PII from children or send them requests for personal information.

What About the Governing Law?

This Privacy Policy shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia, U.S.A.  The Site and the servers that host the Site are located in the United States.  Any information you provide will be transferred to the United States.  By visiting and using the Site and submitting information thereto, you authorize this transfer to the United States.  If any part of this Privacy Policy is determined to be invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remainder of this Privacy Policy shall continue in force and effect. 

What About Any Other Questions?

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or the information collection and dissemination practices of the Site or otherwise wish to make opt-out, update, or deletion requests to CBI, you can contact CBI and its employee(s) responsible for this Privacy Policy and related privacy compliance matters at GMO ANSWERS c/o Council for Biotechnology Information, 1201 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 292-4666.