Website & Ask Parliament app
Last updated: 21 February 2023
Important summary information
We (Democracy Developers Ltd ABN 80 656 928 415) are a special purpose not-for-profit public company. We operate the “Ask Parliament” app (the App) to facilitate better communication on important topics between Australians and their elected parliamentary representatives.
We are committed to privacy and user safety, and so we adopt and commit to complying with the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) regardless of whether it applies to us. We believe in transparent and respectful data handling practices, and we have a Code of Conduct for all App users.
Some key things to know about us and your privacy:
- we’re not here to gather and analyse data – we’re about improving democratic participation and communication;
- we generally collect minimal account data when you’re using the App, and use them in a controlled way;*
- we give you options about which of your account data is visible publicly on the App;
- we don’t sell your data or share it with advertisers, even in “de-identified” form;
- we don’t surreptitiously collect data about you or run analytics on your data without you knowing or consenting – we don’t run analytics scripts on the App;
- we don’t send unsolicited mass marketing communications; and
- we care about and have processes in place to manage safe and fair use of the App.
We’re an Australian company providing services to Australian individuals who are in Australia – our App is designed to facilitate engagement with Australian elected parliamentary representatives and their constituents. The platform is not intended for use by persons outside Australia.
If you choose to provide us with any personal information, you are consenting to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with this policy, which we may sometimes update. It’s your responsibility to check this policy for updates, but if you have registered with us and provided an email address, we will notify you of major changes by email. If you don’t agree with this policy, then you must not provide us with any personal information or use the App.
How we use personal information generally
We generally collect, hold, use and disclose personal information to:
- respond to your emails, requests and other communications with us;
- create and manage user accounts for the App;
- provide and operate the App (and provide related user support);
- monitor, maintain and manage App performance and usage, including administering our Code of Conduct and investigating and resolving complaints, requests, disputes or enquiries about App content;
- send you administrative, account management or legal messages, reminders and notices; and
- comply with our legal obligations,
as more specifically described below.
How we collect personal information generally
We collect personal information directly from you via the website when you use our website, via email when you email us and via the App when you register for or use the App. We might also receive some limited data from you via phone call or social media chat if we offer those communication options. Our intent is never to collect information about you from third parties except if you are a Member of Parliament (MP) and have authorised someone to manage your App account on your behalf. Some information is collected by us automatically, as described below.
Information we ask for when you use the App
When you register an account on the App, we may collect:
- your chosen display name on the App, which may be your real name or an alias as long as it complies with our Code of Conduct (“display name”);
- your email address;
- your handle (a unique identifier on the App); and
- your electorates.
We collect the content of the questions or answers you write on the App (Your Content), which we associate with your account data. Your Content is publicly accessible via the App and online, and attributed with your chosen handle and display name, as well as any other account details you have chosen to make publicly visible. Once posted on the App, Your Content forms part of the “public record” of communications on the App – you cannot later remove Your Content from the public record and must consider this before deciding to post Your Content.
Your email address is not made public via the App and we will only retain it to assist with account recovery and account identification, account management, for direct communications with you which you consent to or have asked to receive and as part of our user safety efforts (eg. to detect and prevent abuse and the re-registration of previously banned users).
Your handle and, display name, will be used to identify you on the App publicly and attribute Your Content. Your handle and display name don’t have to be or identify your real name. (This does not mean your communications are untraceable – if you need to protect against this risk, you may wish to use a third party anonymising service.)
If you provide electorate information, we use it to show you which Houses of Parliament are relevant to you, and the particular MP’s who represent you. You choose whether your electorate information is sent to us and made publicly visible. If publicly visible, your electorate information will be associated with Your Content, and may be used by MP’s to determine which App users (and therefore content) are relevant to them. If you choose to keep your electorate information private, it remains on your device and is not sent to us or made public.
You are encouraged to provide electorate information to increase the chances that your local MP considers Your Content relevant, and also if you seek to build or participate in an online community relevant to your electorate. If you don’t provide electorate details, the App will function without these features but Your Content may appear to be less relevant or interesting to your local MP and community.
You can choose to stop publicly sharing your electorate data at any time, but if you do, such data will not be removed or disassociated from Your Content which is already posted to the App and part of the public record of communications. Your “up-vote” and “down-vote” activity on the App is collected, but we do not attribute this activity to individuals or user accounts – we do not retain data about who cast an up-vote or down-vote; we simply tally the number of votes. Data about your “up-vote”, “down-vote” and “report” activity remains on your device so that you can receive relevant App notifications (such as a notification that a question you previously “up-voted” has been answered) without us permanently recording this activity outside your device.
Information we collect automatically when you use the App
We collect IP address data, public keys and app-specific device identifiers automatically when you use the App. This data is used only for the purpose of facilitating the proper functioning of the App, and for safety reasons (including to detect and prevent abuse and re-registration of previously banned users). We do not collect advertising IDs and do not link IDs with other providers.
We will also collect, if you consent, information about app errors and crashes – this includes unique device data but does not include or associate it with your name, handle, email address or other user information. This data is only used to improve and de-bug the App.
Information we might otherwise collect
If you make general enquiries or support requests with us, communicate with us about an employment or other role with us, or communicate with us about any potential business opportunity, we will collect the information you provide us (which may include your name, contact details such as email address and employer details and anything else you choose to tell us) via the relevant medium such as email or online enquiry forms. We will use that information to address your enquiry and otherwise specifically for the purpose you provided it.
Information we don’t ask for
We don’t want you to provide any personal information beyond what we have specifically asked for, and we don’t want you to provide personal information about someone else (unless you are authorised to administer an account on an MP user’s behalf). The App is designed to aggregate and publicise questions of shared importance, rather than questions specific to a personal situation – accordingly, we expressly require that you don’t provide information about your or anyone else’s personal circumstances or personal information including exact location or address, or political persuasion, preferences or affiliations. These are conditions of your use of the App in the interests of safety, privacy and compliance.
It is technically possible that a user includes your personal information in a post (a question or answer) on the App, which would be in breach of our Code of Conduct. If this is reported to or detected by us it will be removed.
Storage and security
We hold personal information in electronic form. All of the personal information we collect is stored onshore in Australia. We use reasonable organisational measures to protect it from misuse, interference and loss, and unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. App data including your account data is stored on infrastructure located within Australia, including data backups, subject to the hosting provider’s applicable terms (currently, at https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/).
If you delete your account, we will delete your account profile data from our accounts database in the next deletion cycle (and in any case, within 30 days), but:
- we may retain account data which we reasonably need to protect against App abuse (for example, we may retain your email address if it was used to register an account we later suspended or de-activated due to a breach of our Code of Conduct), but you can request access to your data at any time; and
- we will not delete Your Content insofar as it forms part of the public record of communications on the App, and this includes any identifying information you chose to make public with Your Content, and your contributions to up-vote and down-vote tallies.
We may send you direct marketing communications via email if you have requested to receive them, but you can opt out at any time by using the opt-out facilities we provide in the communication.
We may disclose your personal information to:
- anyone (publicly) on the App, otherwise online or on our website to attribute Your Content, to the extent you have chosen to make that information visible;
- our professional advisers and agents;
- another charity or not-for-profit organisation (which must have values consistent with ours) to whom our business or assets are transferred;
- to any other person (eg. government agencies) if required by law; and
- others, if you have expressly consented to it.
We will also store the information you enter into our Contact us form if you choose to send us a message along with your IP address. We will only use this data to address your enquiry.
Our website might contain external links to websites operated by other persons – we don’t control the website content or privacy practices of those other persons and you should exercise caution and check the terms and policies applying to your use of those websites, before you use them.
You can contact us by emailing email@example.com at any time:
- to request access to any personal information we hold about you;
- to request the correction of any personal information we hold about you if you think it is inaccurate or out of date (and we’ll take reasonable steps to make corrections);
- if you have a concern or complaint about our handling of personal information or someone else’s use of it on the App (which we’ll acknowledge and respond to in a reasonable time frame); and