Who We Are and What This Policy Covers
At American Mussar, we are enabling personal transformation based on the Jewish spiritual practice of Mussar.
The Soul Trait of Truth teaches us to be open and honest with what we are doing, and the Soul Trait of Honor guides us to be respectful to you. Your data is yours, and we’ll do our best to ask for your permission, and follow your requests when it comes to your data. And we’ll only ask for the minimal data necessary to fulfill our purpose.
We do marketing – sometimes it is by creating content we think you will like, and sometimes we use ads, like Google Adwords or Facebook ads. The reality is that few people have heard of Mussar Practice or the American Mussar approach. We use advertising to help people find us, so we can help them with their unique spiritual curriculum.
Below we explain how we collect, use, and share information about you, along with the choices that you have with respect to that information.
Information We Collect
We only collect information about you if we have a reason to do so–for example, to provide our Services, to communicate with you, or to make our Services better. We collect information in three ways: if and when you provide information to us, automatically through operating our Services, and from outside sources. Let’s go over the information that we collect.
It’s probably no surprise that we collect information that you provide to us. The amount and type of information depends on the context and how we use the information. Here are some examples:
- Name and email: We ask for basic information from you in order sign you up for a mailing list, or for a free set of American Mussar emails like the Taste of American Mussar Program. When you sign up for one of those programs, you may also be enrolled in our general email list. We use an outside service to store and process our emails to you. Right now that service is AWeber, but it may change at any time without notice.
- Transaction and Billing Information: If you buy something from us–a set of Mantra Cards, a coaching package, or a virtual class for example–you will provide additional personal and payment information that is required to process the transaction and your payment, such as your name, credit card information, and contact information. We use Third party applications, like Square and PayPal to process those transactions.
- Soul Trait Quiz Information: You do not need to provide an email address to take the Soul Trait Quiz. We do not collect your email address if you email the results to yourself. And we do not keep the results of your Quiz in a database. There is a unique URL generated for each quiz that we could in theory access through Google Analytics, but we have no way of connecting that URL to a particular person. We do not have aggregate data on all quiz takers. There are circumstances when we ask for an email address in conjunction with the Soul Trait Quiz. In those situations, the email address gives additional content, such as an email series or document to help you interpret your quiz results. The Quiz that does not require an email address can be found here.
- Survey or Quiz info: In order to know you better, we use Quizzes to help us tailor the content to your specific issues. We may use a third party software like Bucket.io to help collect the data.There are two types of quizzes:
- Discovery type quizzes use open-ended questions to understand you. Many people have shared paragraphs of personal information. That info is completely confidential. We will never share that data with anyone when it is connected with your name. We may share the individual answers with outside consultants who specialize in analyzing this kind of data. We may also anonymously share aggregate data for teaching persons. For example, we might write an email about people with low self-esteem, and excerpt from comments anonymously to illustrate the point. Any identifying details will be omitted.
- Segmentation quizzes create “buckets” of users within the community that we can target with specialized content. For example, Mussar can help with self-esteem and emotional reactivity. We might choose a to share specialized content to people that is most relevant to their spiritual curriculum. If you answer a segmentation quiz, we may store some of the data answers you provide.
- Communications With Us (Hi There!): You may also provide us information when you respond to surveys, emails, a comment on a blog post, or in conversation. We may take notes during 1:1 conversations, but this information will not be shared, unless as an anonymized and depersonalized example.
Information We Collect Automatically
Like most website operators, Americanmussar.com collects non-personally-identifying information through programs like Google Analytics. Americanmussar.com’s purpose in collecting non-personally identifying information is to better understand how our visitors use the website, so we can make improvements and better serve you.
The information automatically includes:
- Log Information: Like most online service providers, we collect information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, IP address, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.
- Usage Information: We collect information about your usage of our Services. For example, we collect information about what happens when you use our Services (e.g., page views, email opens, link clicks, along with information about your device (e.g. mobile device operating system). We use this information to, for example, provide our Services to you, as well as get insights on how people use our Services, so we can make our Services better.
- Location Information: We may determine the approximate location of your device from your IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, calculate how many people visit our Services from certain geographic regions. This is true in aggregate for visits to AmericanMussar.com. In addition, when you sign up for an email list, our email provider AWeber stores information based on your IP address, including city, country and area code.
Purposes for Using Information
We use information about you as mentioned above and for the purposes listed below:
- To further develop and improve our Services–for example by adding new blog posts or services that we think the American Mussar community can use to help them fulfill their spiritual curricula;
- To monitor and analyze trends and better understand how users interact with our Services, which helps us improve our Services and make them easier to use;
- To communicate with you, for example through an email, about offers and promotions offered by American Mussar, solicit your feedback, or to offer you new ways to think about or practice American Mussar; and
- To personalize your experience using our Services. This includes delivering content or offers only to users with specific interests or in specific geographies. For example, we might inform you of a Mussar event near you, an event that may or may not be an American Mussar event per se.
- We reserve the right to measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our advertising, and better understand user retention and attrition–for example, we may analyze how many individuals purchased a plan after receiving a marketing message or the features used by those who continue to use our Services after a certain length of time. We don’t do this today, but that part of business practice will allow us to more effectively serve the community should we ever decide to employ them.
Legal Bases for Collecting and Using Information
A note here for those in the European Union about our legal grounds for processing information about you under EU data protection laws, which is that our use of your information is based on the grounds that: (1) The use is necessary in order to fulfill our mission to help you deepen your Mussar practice and fulfill your spiritual curriculum. This includes both free and paid Services. (2) The use is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation – don’t know why law enforcement would subpoena us, but if they did we may be forced to comply; or (3) We have a legitimate interest in using your information–for example, to provide and update our Services, to improve our Services so that we can offer you an even better user experience, to safeguard our Services, to communicate with you, to measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our advertising, and better understand user retention and attrition, to monitor and prevent any problems with our Services, and to personalize your experience; or (4) You have given us your consent – for example to receive emails from us.
How We Share Information
We do not sell our users’ private personal information. We share information about you in the limited circumstances spelled out below and with appropriate safeguards on your privacy:
- Third Party Vendors: We may share information about you with third party vendors who need to know information about you in order to provide their services to us, or to provide their services to you or your site. This group includes vendors that help us provide our Services to you (like payment providers that process your credit and debit card information, postal and email delivery services that help us stay in touch with you, email support services, a hosting provider, on rare occasions providers to assist us with our marketing efforts (e.g. by providing tools for identifying a specific marketing target group or improving our marketing campaigns), those that help us understand and enhance our Services (like analytics providers). We require vendors to agree to privacy commitments in order to share information with them.
- Legal Requests: We may disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request.
- With Your Consent: We may share and disclose information with your consent or at your direction.
- Aggregated or De-Identified Information: We may share information that has been aggregated or reasonably de-identified, so that the information could not reasonably be used to identify you. For instance, we might share a challenge you send to us by email in an anonymous and de-identified way to allow us to show a Mussar approach to the challenge.
- Published Support Requests: And if you send us a request (for example, via a support email or one of our feedback mechanisms), we reserve the right to include the request in a de-identified way in an FAQ or other page if it helps the community.
Information Shared Publicly
- Information that you choose to make public is–you guessed it–disclosed publicly. That means, of course, that information like comments on public posts (not hidden pages) are all available to others. Public information may also be indexed by search engines or used by third parties. Please keep all of this in mind when deciding what you would like to share.
How Long We Keep Information
- We generally discard information about you when we no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collect and use it–which are described in the section above on How and Why We Use Information–and we are not legally required to continue to keep it. For example, when you opt out of our email database, we generally delete all of your information within one month.
- While no online service is 100% secure, we work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so, such as monitoring our Services for potential vulnerabilities and attacks. We try to keep the website plugins up to date to limit the chance of hackers exploiting weaknesses.
Choices About Your Data
You have several choices available when it comes to information about you:
- Limit the Information that You Provide: You choose not to provide the optional account information, profile information, and transaction and billing information. Please keep in mind that if you do not provide this information, certain features of our Services–for example, emails explaining how to interpret your Soul Trait Profile Diagram, will not be available.
- Opt-Out of Electronic Communications: You may opt out of receiving email messages from us. Just follow the instructions in those messages. In some cases, you can opt out of some lists while remaining on others.
Your Rights About Your Data
If you are located in certain countries, including those that fall under the scope of the European General Data Protection Regulation (AKA the “GDPR”), data protection laws give you rights with respect to your personal data, subject to any exemptions provided by the law. But whatever country you are in, as a member of the American Mussar Community, you have a right to:
- Request access to your personal data;
- Request correction or deletion of your personal data;
- Object to our use and processing of your personal data;
- Request that we limit our use and processing of your personal data;
You can sometimes access, correct, or delete your personal data using links in our email messages. Or, you can just email us your request, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
How to Reach Us
Creative Commons Sharealike License
Updated May 25, 2018