PBS Privacy Policy

Effective Date: November 12, 2015 (Update)

As a not-for-profit institution, our goal is to collect only the information about our users and their use of our services that will help us provide the best online experience possible and implement PBS’s mission.

This Privacy Policy describes how we use, share, and protect information that we collect from you online through pbs.org and any other non-commercial websites or online services that PBS operates and that link to this Privacy Policy (collectively, the “Services”).  This Privacy Policy applies only to the Services. Please read it carefully. 

Collection of Information

You may be prompted to provide some or all of the following types of information in order to register, access various content or features, submit photos and other content, directly contact us with questions or feedback, or access other features of the Services:

  • Contact information, such as name or e-mail address;

  • User name and password;

  • Geolocation information;

  • Other demographic information, such as city, state, and zip code;

  • Communications preferences;

  • Search queries;

  • Comments and other information posted through interactive online features; and

  • Correspondence you send to us.

We also may collect certain information automatically when you use the Services, including:

  • Your browser type and operating system;

  • Your Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is the number automatically assigned to your computer whenever you access the Internet and that can sometimes be used to derive your general geographic area (e.g., your zip code);

  • Sites you visited before and after visiting the Services;

  • Pages you view and links you click on within the Services;

  • Unique identifiers, including mobile device identification numbers that can identify the physical location of such devices in accordance with applicable law;

  • Information collected through cookies, web beacons, and other technologies;

  • Information about your interactions with video content, such as the type of content viewed, and information about your interactions with e-mail messages, such as the links clicked on and whether the messages were opened or forwarded; and

  • Standard server log information.

We may collect information about you from third-party sources.  For example, we may receive information about you from third-party social media services when you choose to interact or connect with them through the Services.

Additionally, if you access third-party services, such as Facebook, Google, or Twitter, through the Services to login to the Services or to share information about your experience on the Services with others, these third-party services may be able to collect information about you, including information about your activity on the Services, and they may notify your connections on the third-party services about your use of the Services, in accordance with their own privacy policies.

Public Areas

Some of the Services may allow you to enter text and information in open fields, such as comment sections and message boards. If you choose to participate in these public areas of the Services, please be aware that any information submitted through these areas can be read, collected, or used by other users. Please use caution in disclosing personal information in these areas. Although we may, in some instances, moderate public forums to keep their content appropriate for the forum’s intended audience, we are not responsible for the information you submit in these open forums and public areas or for other users’ actions with respect to that information.

Use of Information

We generally use the information that we collect about you to:

  • Fulfill your requests for services and information;

  • Enable you to participate in interactive features, such as comment boxes and forums;

  • Display content, sponsor information, and information about other PBS products and services that you may be interested in;

  • Customize the content displayed when you use the Services;

  • Analyze use of the Services to understand and improve our service offerings, such as determining which pages are most popular, which browsers are most used, how long users spend on the Services, and which websites they come from;

  • Otherwise support the internal operations of the Services;

  • Prevent potentially prohibited or illegal activities and enforce the Terms of Use; and

  • For any other purposes disclosed to you at the time we collect the information or pursuant to your consent.

We may aggregate your information with information about other users so that it no longer identifies and cannot reasonably be used to identify an individual person.

Disclosure of Information

We may share information that is collected from you in the following circumstances:

  • PBS Member Stations.  In some circumstances, our Services are designed to support PBS’s member stations and we may share information we collect from you with your local station(s). For example, if you use our Services to make a donation to a member station, or to sign up for services that are offered by a member station, we may share your information with that station.  We also may share your information with your local station(s) so that they can contact you (including by e-mail and mailings) with information about products and services that might interest you.

  • Authorized third-party service providers.  We may share information with our third-party service providers to help us fulfill requests and perform various functions necessary to fully provide and improve the Services, including usage analytics, data processing, e-mail marketing, and account management. 

  • Business transfers. We may share information in connection with a substantial business transaction, such as the sale of the Services, a merger, consolidation, asset sale, or in the unlikely event of bankruptcy.

  • Legal purposes. We may disclose information to respond to subpoenas, court orders, legal process, law enforcement requests, legal claims or government inquiries, and to protect and defend the rights, interests, property, safety, and security of PBS, our member stations, users, or the public. 

  • With your consent. We otherwise may share your information with your consent.

We may share aggregated or anonymized information with third parties, including to help us develop content and services that we hope you will find of interest or to help these third parties develop their own products and service offerings.

Use of Cookies, Web Beacons, and Other Technologies

We may use cookies, web beacons, local shared objects, and other similar technologies to collect information about your use of the Services.  Cookies are small bits of information that are stored by a computer’s web browser.  Web beacons are very small images or small pieces of data embedded in images, also known as "pixel tags," “GIFs,” or "clear GIFs,” that can recognize cookies, the time and date a page is viewed, a description of the page where the pixel tag is placed, and similar information from a computer or device.  Local shared objects (sometimes referred to as “Flash Cookies”) are similar to standard cookies except that they can be larger and are downloaded to a computer or mobile device by the Adobe Flash media player. 

We use these technologies, for example, to help us recognize your browser as a previous user and save and remember any preferences that may have been set; to help us customize the content shown while you use the Services; to provide you with content customized to your interests and to understand whether users read e-mail messages and click on links contained within those messages so that we can deliver relevant content and offers; and to help measure and research the effectiveness of our Services, interactive online content, features, and other communications.

We may allow third parties to place and read their own cookies, web beacons, and similar technologies to collect information through the Services.  These third parties may collect information about a user’s online activities over time and across sites and services to, for example, help us with traffic measurement, research, and analytics and serve you more relevant advertising.

You may be able to refuse or disable cookies by adjusting your web browser settings.  Because each web browser is different, please consult the instructions provided by your web browser (typically in the “help” section).  Please note that you may need to take additional steps to refuse or disable some technologies including local shared objects.  For example, local shared objects may be controlled through the instructions on Adobe’s Setting Manager page.  If you choose to refuse, disable, or delete these technologies, some of the functionality of our Services may no longer be available to you.  

Some web browsers may transmit "do-not-track" signals to websites the user visits, although web browsers incorporate and activate this functionality in different ways, and it is not always clear whether users intend for these signals to be transmitted.  Consequently, we currently do not take action in response to these signals.

By using the Services, you consent to our use of cookies and similar technologies.

Protection of Information

We have adopted reasonable technical, administrative, and physical procedures to help protect your information from loss, misuse, and alteration. Please note that no data transmission or storage can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.  We want you to feel confident using the Services but we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us.

Third-Party Services, Content, and External Links

You may access third-party content through the Services and navigate to third-party sites and services from links on the Services.  Whether the third-party content appears within our Services (such as in an embedded video player), or you leave our Services to view the content on another website, the third party is in control of and independently produces, maintains, and monitors the content and third-party sites.  When you watch third-party content that is made available through the Services or navigate to such third-party sites, you become subject to the third party’s terms of use and privacy policies. You should review the privacy policies of these third-party sites for their policies and practices regarding the collection and use of your information as their policies may differ from ours.  We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the privacy practices of third parties.

California Residents

Residents of the State of California may request a list of all third parties to whom we have disclosed certain information during the preceding year for the third parties' direct marketing purposes.  If you are a California resident and want such a list, please send an e-mail to the address listed below.  For all requests, you must put the statement "Your California Privacy Rights" in the subject matter of your request and include the name of the website or online service with respect to which you are requesting the information, as well as your name, street address, city, state, and zip code.

International Users

Information collected through the Services may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which we or our service providers maintain facilities.  We may transfer information that we collect about you, including personal information, across borders and from your country or jurisdiction to other countries or jurisdictions.  If you are located in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer information, including personal information, to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction.  By using the Services and providing us with information directly or indirectly, you consent to the transfer of information to the U.S. or to any other country in which our service providers maintain facilities for processing by us in accordance with this Privacy Policy. 

Changes To This Privacy Policy

We may revise this Privacy Policy, for example, to reflect changes in the law, our practices, or the features of the Services.  These changes will be effective immediately upon posting.  As a result, you should periodically review the Privacy Policy so that you are up to date on our most current policies and practices.  By using the Services, you agree to the terms and conditions of this Privacy Policy, and, by continuing to use the Services after changes have been made, you agree to the changes.   

Still Have Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact us at audienceservices@pbs.org.