Last updated: December 3, 2012
The following policy details how LazyTruth, a project operated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media (“LazyTruth”), gathers and uses information collected from users of its website and associated applet.
The following terms are understood to have these meanings:
Applet – the executable code currently provided by LazyTruth through the Google Chrome Web Store, available at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lazytruth/cldfekpopdobkddjkgbmbfhahllhagif.
Website – the webpages and related content operated by LazyTruth in connection with the Applet, currently located at http://lazytruth.com, including any future web-based materials created by LazyTruth at other domains.
Why LazyTruth Created These Services
The LazyTruth Applet is part of an academic research project, which studies a method of connecting those who receive email containing political myths, urban legends, or incorrectly stated security threats with clarifying or correcting information. The Applet attempts to do this by cross-referencing emails with a database of frequently-forwarded emails collected and analyzed by third-party organizations that provide fact-checking information and resources (LazyTruth’s “Partners”), as described in greater detail below.
When You Use the LazyTruth Applet
Installation and use of the Applet is governed by the Applet’s end-user license agreement, available at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lazytruth/cldfekpopdobkddjkgbmbfhahllhagif.
The Applet allows you to click an “Ask LazyTruth” button when you receive an email that you suspect may contain misinformation. When you click this button, the body of the email is run through an application maintained by LazyTruth, which uses an algorithm to cross-reference the text of the email body with a database containing certain identifying phrases associated with emails that have been analyzed by its Partners. LazyTruth does not otherwise maintain a copy of the email you submit, nor is any other information extracted other than the body of the email itself.
Use of the Applet and the “Ask LazyTruth” button is at the discretion of the user. By clicking the “Ask LazyTruth” button, the user agrees to the sharing of the body of the email as described above, including any personal information that might be contained within the body of the email.
The Applet uses a URL-shortening service that gathers certain non-personally-identifiable information about the Applet’s user, including but not limited to the user’s operating system and browser, HTML referrer information, and basic geolocation information pulled from the user’s Internet Protocol address. These are used to track the LazyTruth project’s effectiveness and impact, as part of its larger academic mission. LazyTruth may share such non-personally-identifiable information as part of presentations discussing the nature and effectiveness of the Applet.
LazyTruth also allows you to forward new emails for analysis at firstname.lastname@example.org, should you receive an email that does not match an email in our Partners’ databases. LazyTruth keeps a copy of each of these emails and forwards them to their Partners for analysis. It is the policy of LazyTruth to attempt to remove private addressing information from emails received through this forwarding process, but LazyTruth cannot guarantee that it will remove all private information. Nothing requires you to disclose this information to LazyTruth. If you do, you do so at your own risk.
Other Analytic Data Gathered
LazyTruth uses a data analytics service for both the applet provided by LazyTruth on the Google Chrome platform (the “Applet”) and the accompanying website located at http://lazytruth.com (the “Website”). LazyTruth gathers certain non-personally-identifiable information about visitors to the Website and users of the Applet, including but not limited to the user’s operating system and browser, how the user arrived at the Website, basic geolocation information pulled from the user’s Internet Protocol address, and the user’s time spent on the website. These are used to track the LazyTruth project’s effectiveness and impact, as part of its larger academic mission. LazyTruth may share such non-personally-identifiable information as part of presentations discussing the nature and effectiveness of the Applet.
Additional Information for Specific Purposes
LazyTruth may ask (by direct communication, through online forms, or other methods) for additional information from you regarding your use of the Applet or the Website. For example, such information may be requested in order to provide support for your use of the Applet or the Website, to help LazyTruth improve its services, or to communicate with you further about the Website and Applet. Such information may include contact information, information about your computer system, and other relevant information. You are not required to provide this information to LazyTruth, but choosing not to do so might affect LazyTruth’s ability to respond to questions or to provide support for your use of the Website and Applet.
The LazyTruth Website has functionality that allows for submission of comments, suggestions, found bugs, and other feedback to improve the quality of the Website and Applet. LazyTruth may collect your name and email address to follow up with you or thank you for a suggestion.
Protection of Minors
Persons under the age of 13 are not permitted to use the Website or Applet. Persons under the age of 18 but at least 13 years of age may only use the Website or Applet under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian.
Business or Asset Sale
LazyTruth might be sold, spun off, or merged with another business. In such transactions, user information is generally transferred as a business asset. Any information gathered from a user may be transferred to such new entities as part of this process.
Release of Information Compelled by Law
LazyTruth reserves the right to release any and all information it has pertaining to you, when it believes in good faith that such disclosure is appropriate to comply with the law (for example, pursuant to a subpoena, warrant, or court order), to protect against fraudulent or unlawful use of the Applet or Website, or to protect LazyTruth’s rights.