In today's connected and increasingly accessible world, it's important you get to know about your own online profile. This includes the information you post about yourself, the information gathered about you, and the level of security you protect your home computer with. We really recommend you make a habit of reading the Privacy Policies of all the websites you visit on a regular basis, including this one.
Below, we've split things up so you can better understand what information we retrieve and store about you during your visit and where and how we keep it secured. Hopefully by the time you've read this document, you'll appreciate the lengths we go to by keeping your data secure from the bad guys, as well as a brief understanding of what we've implemented in the background to deliver a more relevant and interactive website.
Why do you collect information?
Quite simply, we have numerous reasons for gathering data, some of which should be obvious and some which you may find interesting to know.
Our main objective is to keep our website relevant. By analysing the information your web browser sends we can ensure we have an accurate reflection of our visitors, enabling us to better target and mould the site for the majority of visitors and better deal with those visitors who use our site for other purposes.
We love our visitors. We love to keep them updated on everything we do. That's why we ask for our regulars to provide us with their email address. This means we can communicate on a more personal level, rather than having to make you come to us to find out what's going on.
For our partners and friends at other churches, Saint Andrew's takes the lead on a national level to allow others to use our content and services to enhance and establish their own websites and online presence. A website is a 'must-have' for every church in the 21st Century, and we feel privileged to have a unique opportunity to provide as much support as we can to those churches and organisations with a little less experience in the game. The information we collect from you helps to improve our own web services, which leads to an improvement in those church websites who rely on our infrastructure.
How do you conduct yourselves?
As said above, privacy should be the most important issue you should be aware of online. You wouldn't go around with your pin number, home address and National Insurance number strapped around your neck, don't advertise similar things online by neglecting the importance of privacy.
At Saint Andrew's, we're absolutely committed to protecting your privacy. All information we share with others (which usually is only statistic information) is totally anonymous, and in the most part can't be traced back to you. Information about you that we keep will not be shared with anybody without your consent.
We will only email you when absolutely necessary, or when we have something we think you'd like to know. We won't share your personal details with any third party without your consent.
What information is collected during my visit?
Some of the information is quite technical - we won't bore you with jargon - put simply, your web browser sends quite a lot of information about your computer's details and its capabilities. We sometimes store this so we can design the website for the majority of computers, and make recommendations for those users who could experience a better visit on the site.
We may also store your IP address (this is almost like your computer's telephone number) along with the time you access our pages. This allows us to track our visitor's access, get to know their usual routes and habits on the site, their favourite content, and also help identify and take action against those users who wish to cause our visitors and our systems harm. In the vast majority of cases, this information is nothing for you to worry about, unless you're trying to break our network!
We may also collect some personal information, such as your name, email address, and other identifiable information. From this, your experience on the website can allow you to communicate better with us at church, and with other website users. Communication is a wonderful thing, and this information lets us do just that. Don't worry though; these details are encrypted on our church server (which, incidentally, is protected and stored in a secret location) and only accessible from within our network, between you and us. You also have the ability to specify what information we keep private, and what information you'd like to share with others.
I regularly donate through the website, how secure is this?
Utterly completely. Full Stop. Period. But you're probably best asking PayPal about this.
We don't even get to know who's left us a donation unless you choose to let us know. And our associates at PayPal handle all of the secured communication around you, your credit card company, and us. As all this is done through this well-respected third party, you can be sure you only give what you've specified, for however long you've specified, to whatever cause you've specified. You're in control of this, not us - after all, we're just grateful you've chosen to donate to our work.
Who sees my information?
Technical information is kept encrypted on our servers, and only accessed by authorised personnel. Other information such as your personal, identifiable details can only be viewed by yourself and website administrators with your consent.
When giving personal information, though it will be kept in confidence, please bear in mind that we will automatically assume that you're allowing our administrators to access it. We don't however share it with anybody else, not even the other websites we contribute to, without your consent.
What information about my Facebook account can you access?
Facebook, being the main social network for most of our visitors, contains a lot of extremely personal and confidential information we understand you may not like shown in the public domain.
Our links with Facebook allow you to comment on blog posts, like our page, stay updated with news, and signup for The Newsletter. Sometimes you may notice that we're displaying your profile picture in sections of our blogs. Don't worry, this is absolutely nothing to worry about as far as we're concerned.
These Facebook features are what's called 'plug-ins', they're like glass windows to Facebook.com which only you can see. When you see your profile picture, we're telling your browser to ask Facebook to put it there, Facebook obeys but doesn't tell us what it's sent, meaning the only people who can see your profile picture are you and Facebook.
However, there are times when we can see your profile picture and bits of information from your profile: when you comment on a blog post, your comment is made public along with your profile picture and your name. Comments contain a link back to your public profile, so to prevent people you don't know from seeing anything more than your name, comment and picture, just update your privacy settings on Facebook.
What information is collected when I contact Saint Andrew's?
All calls made through our number published on the website are monitored. By 'monitoring', we mean that your call's signal and its meta data is collected and stored automatically by website administrators. Usually, the monitoring is confined to simply making a note that somebody called our number at a particular time, from a particular number, for a particular amount of time; we are entitled to this information to ensure our bills are correct and we pay our fair share to our wholesaler.
You should know that we also have, and always exercise, the capability to bypass the 'withhold number' feature of a call (e.g. when a caller dials '141' before our number). We take retrieving our callers' real number as a very serious matter and is only practised for fraud prevention and detection purposes - we will never use or sell on your number for marketing of any kind.
Although we no longer accept direct emails, we have the facility for our visitors to contact us using our online ticketing system. Tickets are very useful for diverting your enquiries to the most suitable person, giving you the best response. Messages you send through this system, be they original messages or replies, are read by website administrators. As with all communication through our website, we suggest you refrain from including any confidential material in your messages.
All tickets are protected to a limited level, although anybody with access to your web records or emails may be able to view your online conversation with us.
When you use our text messaging facility, we will also automatically sign you up for future text alerts from Saint Andrew's. We will never pass your mobile number onto anybody, nor spam you with marketing messages, though we may occasionally send you SMS messages about upcoming events and special services free of charge.
Texting Saint Andrew's costs no more than your normal SMS rate, all replies and text alerts from Saint Andrew's are free of charge. To unlist from our text alerts, refer to our contact page which contains instructions on how to unlist.
Is there anything else I should know regarding my privacy?
Remember that a computer system is only as safe as the people who use it. Sometimes things can go wrong, especially where malicious hackers and criminals are concerned. Therefore, it is your responsibility to keep your information secure by only disclosing information you can cope with being made publically available. You should bare this in mind not only on the Saint Andrew's website, but for every website you access.
There are a few tips such as logging out of your account and closing the browser when you're done visiting us, especially when you're using a public computer such as in a library or Internet cafe.
Also, you should be aware of external links from this website. When you're about to go to an external website out of our control, it is not always possible to warn you beforehand. Sometimes you may see a displayed message before leaving, but not all the time. Please make sure that you know information can be gathered from other websites, and we simply can't be responsible for how they operate. The same rules apply for sites that link to our website, so please be vigilant and aware of what you disclose.
I'd like to know more, what should I do?
If you haven't found a response to a concern you may have, or if you'd like more specific information on the policies we have in place to protect your data, please get in touch and we'd be more than happy to put your mind at ease or provide you with more information.
You can contact the person in charge of Information Assurance at Saint Andrew's through the telephone number at the bottom of this page.
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