Privacy, security, anonymity

Use Pattrn only with public data

Pattrn is a public platform. In the current version of Pattrn, all data featured in a Pattrn app or in a PATTRN_Master spreadsheet is by definition publicly available online to anyone.

For this reason, only data safe to be published online must be included in a Pattrn app.

This applies to:

  • data entered by Editors directly into the PATTRN_Master spreadsheet
  • data entered by Editors into the PATTRN_Master spreadsheet via the Pattrn Editor
  • data submitted by Observers of a Pattrn app to its Editors, via the data contribution tool integrated in the Pattrn app.

By “data safe to be published online” we mean:

  • data that will not put the security of anyone at risk (Editor, Observer, or Third Party referred to directly or indirectly in the content of the data)
  • data that does not disclose the identity of anyone (Editor, Observer, or Third Party referred to directly or indirectly in the content of the data) without the explicit consent of the individual(s) concerned.
  • data that does not violate any of the Data Protection laws and policies in place in any of the countries where the data is processed (collected, submitted, reviewed, stored, or published)

The responsibility of the correct and safe use of Pattrn is with its users.

Anonymous contributions

The Pattrn app enables users to contribute data to a given instance, by means of “anonymous contributions” (see Submitting New Data and Edits).

By “anonymous contributions”, we mean that the technology used in Pattrn won’t track nor store any data about the identity, IP addresses, or location of the individual submitting data to the Editors of a Pattrn app. Consequently, the Editors of the Pattrn app will not have access, through Pattrn, to any data about the identity, IP addresses, or location of the individual(s) submitting data if such individuals do not leave any contact information in the optional field included in the data submission form.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that:

  • The anonymity of such contributions is only as secure as the technology used in Pattrn – in this specific case, Google technology underpinning the transfer of digital information from and to Google Apps. While the choice of this technology for the development of Pattrn was in part motivated by the well-documented stability and security of Google Apps, every technological system has its vulnerabilities. The Pattrn Project cannot guarantee that all information about the online identity, IP addresses, or location of an individual submitting data anonymously through Pattrn, is secure against any form of digital attack or surveillance operation.
  • Regardless of the specific technology used for the transfer of data through Pattrn: government agencies, Internet Service Providers, or the organisation administrating the network from which an anonymous data submission is performed, are likely to be able to access details about the identity, IP addresses, and location of the individual(s) submitting data.

For this reason anonymous contributions of data should not contain any information that, should the identity of the individual submitting this data be disclosed, could put the security of this individual at risk.

This point is clearly and explicitly included in the information and consent form that any individual is required to approve in order to submit data anonymously via Pattrn.

In addition, it is the responsibility of Editors reviewing contributions of data to make sure that all data received via anonymous contributions is safe to be published before actually publishing it on a Pattrn app.