UCS Privacy Statement

Table of Contents

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) respects your right to privacy and is committed to maintaining your confidence and trust. We have created the following privacy policy to inform you about the ways in which the Union of Concerned Scientists collects data about you, why we do it, how we use it and your ability to make choices about your personal information. Rest assured that no personally identifiable information is collected automatically when you visit our website, and we provide a number of mechanisms for you to manage information you provide to us voluntarily.

How we collect visitor information

Automatic tracking via cookies. Like most websites, UCS places a "cookie," or small text file, in the browser files of visitors to our site. This allows us to collect information on website traffic or other online behavior, which we use to improve user experience. These cookies do not collect personally identifiable information about users nor are they linked to any personally identifiable information on our site. Likewise, our site records IP address of visitors for purely functional reasons (e.g. logging geography of visitors).

UCS also uses cookies to display advertising to visitors to our site who subsequently visit third party websites. Users retain the right to reject cookies and can do so through their cookie settings or by using a browser plugin. If you accept the use of cookies on the UCS website, that acceptance will be stored for a period of three years.

Voluntary information you provide via forms. We collect personally identifying information when you submit your name or other information through the mail, phone, or a form on our website—for example, when contacting us, donating, purchasing, subscribing to UCS email or text messages, RSVPing for an event, signing a petition, or sending an email to an action target. The exact information can vary, but may include identifying information—such as name, address, and other voluntarily provided data. By submitting this information, you are consenting to the processing of that information for the purposes identified on the form.

When you take certain actions on our site that involve third parties, such as submitting comments to a government agency or to the office of an elected official, your comments and identifying information become subject to their privacy rules, and may also be recorded or published in accordance with public records policies. UCS is not responsible for the privacy practices of any such third party.

When you donate to UCS via the phone, mail, or our website, your donation information is encrypted and transmitted via a secure connection to our payment processors. UCS uses your credit card information only for the purpose of processing your donation. We will not disclose this information except as necessary to process your one-time or recurring donation.

Information Third Parties share with us. This website also uses third-party services such as Google Analytics (to monitor and assess our web traffic), and social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (as engagement platforms for our visitors). Although UCS does not collect personally identifying information through these services, we do collect and view aggregate, anonymized information, such as the pages that users visit, the countries they visit from, and the devices they use to access them.

From time to time we supplement data on individuals in our database with information from publicly available sources or third-party vendors for the purpose of improving UCS supporter communications and evaluation of our supporter base. For example, we periodically use a “national change of address” database to update mailing and email addresses.

How we use collected data

Your data is stored on a secure database on secure servers and is accessible only by designated staff or approved vendors, as described in this policy. This information enables us to provide you with updates on our work and opportunities to get involved in our campaigns and to support our work through donations.

We may use this information to customize your experience online and offline. For example, we may send you opportunities to take action or attend events in the city, state, or region in which you reside, or prepopulate a form on our website for your convenience.

Automatically collected information is only viewed in the aggregate and used to help us improve website experiences. For example, we may run tests on our websites and display slightly different versions to different visitors. Generally, these tests are randomized, but may be influenced by factors such as type of device or whether or not a user is recognized as a donor.

We never rent or sell your information. We occasionally exchange mailing addresses of donors with like-minded organizations, though we don’t exchange phone or email addresses. Otherwise, we never share your information with others, unless you request that we do so (e.g., an email sent to your senator through our website action center which you signed).

Your rights and choices

Users retain the right to reject cookies and can do so through their cookie settings or by using a browser plugin.

Members can opt-out of having their mailing address shared by emailing [email protected].

Recipients can opt-out of email or text communications via the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of all UCS emails or the STOP command via text messages.

Additionally, you can request to be removed from any email, phone, text, or mail communications through our Contact Us form.

By submitting information through the UCS website, users consent to having this information transferred to UCS database systems located in the United States. The European Commission does not deem United States laws sufficiently protective of data (though our database providers certify their data practices meet the frameworks principles to receive the personal information of EU residents through the EU-US Privacy Shield). Transfer of personal data to the United States in the absence of adequate protection and without safeguards considered appropriate by the European Commission may pose certain risks, including that United States law may not provide for data processing principles, data subject rights, or enforcement of those rights analogous to those in the European Union.

Donation information is stored on UCS databases permanently, as needed for financial record-keeping purposes. Advocacy, survey, contest, and event information is stored on UCS databases as long as the user is an active UCS supporter for the purpose of evaluating the efficacy of our campaigns and tailoring future communications. This data will be removed from UCS databases after a period of three years of user inactivity.

Individuals have the right to withdraw their consent to UCS’s storage of their data at any time. Requests for data removal can be made here. Users in the European Union also have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority.

UCS works with various data vendors who assist us with fundraising and analytics services and who have access to user data. UCS ensures that vendors who have access to user data are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including, as applicable, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Terms and conditions if you are subscribed to the UCS text messaging network

  • There is no fee from the Union of Concerned Scientists to receive text messages. Message and data rates may apply; this can be checked with your mobile service provider. Charges are billed and payable to your mobile service provider or deducted from your prepaid account. Consent is not a requirement for purchase.
  • Data obtained from you in connection with this SMS service may include your mobile phone number, your carrier’s name, and any information you provide to use through messages sent back to the UCS 67369 shortcode including the date, time, and content of your messages. We may use this information to contact you and provide the services you request from us. Alerts sent via SMS may not be delivered if the mobile phone is not in range of a transmission site, or if sufficient network capacity is not available at a particular time. Even within a coverage area, factors beyond the control of the wireless operator may interfere with message delivery, including the customer’s equipment, terrain, proximity to buildings, foliage, and weather. Wireless operators do not guarantee message delivery and will not be held liable for delayed or undelivered messages.
  • UCS is not liable for any delays in the receipt of any SMS message as delivery is subject to effective transmission from your network operator.
  • By subscribing to Union of Concerned Scientists mobile alerts, the user consents to receive recurring automated text messages to ensure science is used to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Message & data rates may apply.
  • If you have any questions, text HELP to the number you received a text message from or contact us at [email protected]. To stop receiving messages reply STOP to the same number or contact [email protected].

Updating this policy

From time to time, this privacy policy may be updated without notice. Your use of the UCS website after the date specified below constitutes your agreement to our terms.

Last updated: June 23, 2022.