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Privacy Policy

The Phi Beta Kappa Society recognizes its obligation to protect the privacy and security of the individually identifiable information that it necessarily collects and maintains in the conduct of its business. This policy reflects the Society’s commitment to that end.

This document sets forth the basic policy governing the Society’s information collection and handling activities. Individual units within the Society may develop and use more specific privacy policies, provided that they are fully consistent with this policy and have been approved by the Secretary.

  1. Foundational Principles
    1. The Society will collect, store, use, disclose, and retain personally identifiable information only as permitted by law and consistent with this policy and other relevant Society policies, commitments, and undertakings.
    2. The Society will collect, store, use, disclose, and retain personally identifiable information only to the extent necessary for the purposes of the Society.
  2. Information Collection from Individuals
    1. The Society will collect personally identifiable information from individuals only to the extent necessary for the purposes of the Society and in compliance with applicable law.
  3. Third Parties
    1. The Society will provide personally identifiable information to third parties only as required by law or—
    2. as necessary for the Society to carry out its purposes; and
    3. subject to written agreements providing for the third party to comply with the terms of this policy and to destroy or return all personally identifiable information obtained from the Society as soon as possible and, in any event, no later than the termination of any service contract.
    4. The Society will acquire personally identifiable information from third parties only where that information has been collected, stored, and transferred in substantive compliance with applicable law.
    5. The Society will not provide personally identifiable information to third parties for marketing products, services, or institutions unrelated to the purposes of the Society without the consent of the individuals to whom the information pertains.
    6. The Society will publicly disclose the names of individuals who serve in leadership positions, including members of Society committees, and will provide professional contact information for these individuals upon request by third parties.
  4. Removal of Information and Opt-Out
    1. The Society will afford any person about whom it maintains personally identifiable information the opportunity to opt out of the use of that information for marketing, fund-raising, solicitation, or other communications other than those necessary to communicate essential information.
    2. The Society will provide notice of the opt-out opportunity on its website and at least once every 12 months in its subscription or mass circulation publications.
    3. The Society will, upon the request of any person about whom it maintains personally identifiable information, remove that information from its records, except for essential information.
  5. Access and Accuracy
    1. The Society will strive to ensure that personally identifiable information within its control is accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
    2. The Society will provide individuals with access to all personally identifiable information concerning them within its control, to the extent permitted by law and contract.
    3. The Society encourages individuals to inform it whenever they believe personally identifiable information about them maintained by the Society is inaccurate or incomplete. The Society will investigate and correct or delete inaccurate or incomplete information.
    4. The Society will not retain personal information any longer than necessary for the Society’s purposes.
  6. Web Site Issues
    1. The Society will collect personally identifiable information on visitors to its web site only—
    2. as required by law or to protect the Society’s financial and legal interests;
    3. as necessary to provide the web page or other information requested by the visitor; or
    4. after having provided clear notice of, and having obtained explicit (opt-in) consent to, the Society’s intention to record such information.
    5. The Society will store “cookies” or other data files or programs on the computers of visitors to the web site only after having provided clear notice of, and having obtained explicit (opt-in) consent to, the provision of those files.
  7. Security
    1. The Society will employ technological and other means to ensure the security and integrity of the personally identified information it maintains.
    2. The security measures employed by the Society will be appropriate to the sensitivity of the information and the potential harm to individuals of its unauthorized disclosure or alteration.
    3. The Society will destroy records containing personally identifiable information in such a manner as to create no significant reasonably foreseeable risks that such information can be perceived or recovered.
    4. Paper records containing personally identifiable information will be shredded.
    5. Electronic records containing personally identifiable information will be erased and overwritten or otherwise destroyed so as to create no significant reasonably foreseeable risks that such information can be recovered.
    6. The Society will exercise special care when disposing of computers, recording devices, and other technologies to ensure that any personally identifiable information they might contain is erased or destroyed in compliance with this policy.
    7. The Secretary or his or her designee may grant exceptions to the provisions of this paragraph if he or she concludes that specific records containing personally identifiable information present no significant reasonably foreseeable risks to the individuals to whom they pertain.
  8. Training and Enforcement
    1. The Society will train its personnel in the requirements of this policy and will use all appropriate means, up to and including termination of offending personnel, to ensure that the policy is followed.
    2. The Secretary or his or her designee will report to the Senate at least once every 12 months concerning compliance with this policy. That report will usually be made as part of the presentation of the annual financial audit unless circumstances require otherwise.
  9. Scope
    1. This policy applies to all personally identifiable information held or used by the Society.
    2. This policy applies to all elements of the Society subject to the control of the Council, as exercised through the Senate and the Foundation Board of Trustees. For those elements not subject to the control of the Council, including the Fellows, Chapters, and Associations, the Society will use reasonable efforts to ensure that this policy is adopted and enforced.
  10. Amendment
    1. The Senate may amend this policy at any time.
    2. The Senate will provide prominent advance notice of amendments and an opportunity for individuals whose information that is already maintained or controlled by the Society would be affected by amendments, to request that their information be removed or to opt out of the use of that information for marketing, fund-raising, solicitation, or other communications other than those necessary to communicate essential information.
    3. Any amendment that would have the effect of over-riding prior opt-out requests, permitting greater disclosure of information to third parties, or allowing greater use of personally identifiable information for marketing, fund-raising, or solicitation purposes shall take effect with regard to information already maintained or controlled by the Society only with the affirmative (opt-in) consent of the individuals affected.
  11. Definitions
    1. “Personally identifiable information” means any information that identifies or can be used to identify, contact, or locate the person to whom such information pertains. Personally identifiable information does not include aggregate information or information from which personally identifiable elements have been removed.
    2. “Essential information” means any information necessary to confirm membership in the Society; protect the Society’s financial and legal interests; provide a product or service requested by, or respond to an inquiry initiated by, an individual; or is required by law to be maintained or used.
    3. The “Society” means the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

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