privacy policy and terms of service

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Nicole Collins

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Aug 19, 2020, 1:07:34 PM8/19/20
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Hi is there a privacy policy or terms of service that I can have for my school district's i.t. to look at?

Thank you!

Nicole Collins

Bruce Sherwood

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Aug 19, 2020, 1:56:03 PM8/19/20
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No, there is no such document. What I can say is this:

What passes for "terms of service" is this: There is no charge for using glowscript.org. The software is open source, housed at GitHub:


One does need a Google login in order to be able to write programs, which are stored in the cloud. When creating a new account, there are two empty folders, a "Public" one named "MyPrograms" and a "Private" one named "Private". The difference is that anyone that knows the URL of a user's program, such as


can run that program by clicking the link and can see the VPython code by clicking "View this program". However, programs in a private folder can be run and viewed only by the person whose account it is. All programs are stored in the Google cloud.

It is also possible to write and run GlowScript VPython programs off-line, with no need for a login and no use of the cloud; it's all confined to your own computer. First, download this zip file:


Unzip the GlowScriptOffline package to any convenient place on your computer.
Inside the GlowScriptOffline folder, read the README file to learn how to use the package.

This package is used, for example, in China, where it isn't possible to have a Google login, It has the obvious disadvantage that it is difficult to share programs, which would have to be emailed to someone.

Bruce

Nicole Collins

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Aug 19, 2020, 3:09:04 PM8/19/20
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Hi Bruce,

Where in the 'cloud' is the data stored?

Thank you!

Nicole Collins

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Bruce Sherwood

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Aug 19, 2020, 4:40:13 PM8/19/20
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I literally don't know how to answer the question, beyond what I already said, namely "All programs are stored in the Google cloud." By that I mean that it is storage that is managed by Google. I have no way of knowing where it is located physically, though I'm guessing that the servers are in the US. However, it is my impression that there may be multiple copies, in different regional servers to better serve regional users. For all I know, there could be copies outside the US as well.

Bruce

Mr. Goelzer

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Nov 21, 2022, 2:52:11 PM11/21/22
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I am having a problem with my administration allowing the use of the glowscript.org website. The state of New Hampshire requires (through FERPA) that there be a privacy policy in place for all sites that students log into. Since glowscript.org requires that students have google account (our students do), there needs to be document stating the privacy policy so I can allow students to sign in with their google accounts. I think it could be simple as it seems that no information is collected or used by the site. I could be wrong about that. There are some generic privacy policy generators online: https://digital.com/best-privacy-policy-generators/

I really would like to keep using vPython in my physics classroom. It is a perfect introduction to numeric simulations. 

Thanks
Scott

Bruce Sherwood

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Nov 21, 2022, 5:00:36 PM11/21/22
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I'm sorry, but I simply do not have the resources to create an appropriate statement. If you can generate a statement that would satisfy your needs I'm hopeful that it could be added to the site. In addition to what I already posted, you know that a user can have private folders whose contents others cannot see, but if the user chooses to make folders public nothing prevents others from inspecting the files in that folder.

The summary at the site you mentioned says this:

A privacy policy page helps your visitors trust your website and having one is mandated by law in many countries. You need to have a privacy policy page if you’re collecting any form of personal information including:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Shipping addresses (and billing addresses if different)
  • Account and credit card details
We do "collect" email addresses, in that when someone gets a Web VPython account their email address is necessarily part of the database, in order that the person can log in and gain access to their files. We do not collect names (the person makes up their own "name" to be part of links to files in their public folders). We do not collect any kind of shipping or billing addresses, nor credit card information. 

Bruce

Mr. Goelzer

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Nov 22, 2022, 8:10:29 AM11/22/22
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I understand that there are no funds for a complicated hosting. From what you wrote, it would seem you only need the most basic of statements. Perhaps what you wrote would suffice. 

I found a another free generator and tried to generate a document, but there are specific questions they are asking that I am unsure of. It appears to generate a free product with no hosting fees. 

Bruce Sherwood

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Nov 22, 2022, 5:02:52 PM11/22/22
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Please find out whether this would be acceptable:

The only user identifiable data we collect is the user's email address, so that only a person who can log in with that email address has the ability to modify the user's files. These email addresses are not available to the public. When a person creates a new account they are required to choose a "user name" which becomes part of the name of the user's file. For example, a user's email address might be jane...@gmail.com. Suppose that this person chooses "Learner" as their user name, and they have a program named "test" in a public folder named "Examples". They could tell someone to run their program by going to https://www.glowscript.org/#/user/Learner/folder/Examples/test. Someone who goes to that link will see the program run and can click "View this program" to see the VPython program, but they will not be able to make changes to the program. If somehow someone knows the user name and the name of a private folder ("secret", for example) and tries to go to that folder or a program that is in that folder, they get a message saying "https://www.glowscript.org/#/user/Learner/folder/secret/ is a private folder to which you do not have access." We do also collect performance data such as the number of users logged in, but none of this data is user-specific.

Bruce Sherwood

Scott Goelzer

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Nov 25, 2022, 3:59:16 PM11/25/22
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Hi Bruce, 
I truly appreciate your working with me on this. 
I think your website has tremendous educational value, but many teachers will be prevented from using it without a privacy policy. I hope you see the value in pursuing this. 

Although I think what you wrote is enough, apparently and unfortunately, there is more. 

I am getting an education on this topic too. There is much. 



Our IT guy is very strict (and he should be) about using any websites that are not FERPA compliant. He gave this as an example of a policy that could be used as a template:
Geogebra is a widely used math site and is accepted by schools. It looks like your glowscript website uses google in a manner similar to the Geogebra site. I think you could lift most of the policy - much could be deleted. 

I also found this 
It sounds like Google is already FERPA compliant. You may already be almost there. 

Thanks again, 

Scott




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Bruce Sherwood

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Nov 25, 2022, 5:41:18 PM11/25/22
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I'm sorry, but I am unable and unwilling to figure this stuff out myself. I've provided a correct description of the Web VPython site, from which you and/or others affected by these issues should be able to create a document that  will be acceptable to schools. I have neither the time nor the experience to do more. Maintaining and extending Web VPython is all I can contribute.

Bruce
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