Privacy Policy - Encyclopedia Britannica

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Privacy Policy

Updated August 1, 2010

Table of Contents

Our Commitment to Privacy.


Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ("Britannica") is committed to respecting the privacy of visitors to its family of Web sites (collectively, the "Britannica sites" and each, a "Britannica site"). Except as otherwise provided, this Privacy Policy applies to all of the Britannica sites, which include, but are not limited to,,, Britannica and To better protect your privacy, we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used at this Britannica site.

The Britannica sites are general audience Web sites, intended for Users of all ages. Personal information of Users may be collected, used, and disclosed as described in this Privacy Policy.

The Information We Collect.


To help us achieve our goal of providing the highest quality services, we collect and apply information from our interactions with visitors and subscribers (each a "User") to the Britannica sites, as well as from other parties. Because we respect your privacy, we have procedures to ensure that your personal information is handled in a safe, secure, and responsible manner. The information we receive and collect depends on what a User does when visiting one of the Britannica sites and the nature of the Britannica site itself. For instance, as a Web site offering eBooks for sale, Britannica does not carry third party advertising and therefore that site does not collect the same sorts of personal information as other Britannica sites might.

  1. Your Personal Information.

  2. In general, our Users are able to visit many of our Web pages without telling us who they are or revealing any information about themselves. As discussed under "Usage Data" below, we may track the Internet domain or "Internet protocol" addresses from which Users visit us and analyze this data in the aggregate to determine usage for trends and statistics. Individual Users will remain anonymous, unless they voluntarily tell us who they are.

    There may be times, however, such as when subscribing to our services, making purchases from the Britannica Store, or contributing content to a Britannica site, when we ask Users to provide certain Personal Information about themselves. "Personal Information" may include, but is not limited to, the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and credit or charge card information of a Britannica site User. Whether or not a User provides such information is completely his or her own choice. If a User chooses not to provide the Personal Information we request, he or she may be unable to access certain services and content on our Britannica sites, purchase products from us, or contribute content to a Britannica site.

  3. Demographic Information.

    There will also be opportunities for subscribers to provide us with demographic or profile information regarding their preferences and interests. This information may include, but is not limited to, age, gender, household income, level of education completed, number of children in the household, and personal-interest information. This demographic information, however, is not required and is completely optional on a subscriber's part.

  4. Prospect and Referral Information.

    If a User visits a Britannica site and submits an e-mail address to Britannica but fails to complete the registration or purchase process, we may use such "prospect" information to contact the prospective User from time to time with Britannica offers and information about new features, new services, and special discounts we think the User may see as valuable. Similarly, if a User forwards a Britannica e-mail to a friend, we may use the "referral" information provided to contact the friend from time to time with Britannica offers and information about new features, new services, and special discounts we think the friend may see as valuable. All of our "prospect" and "referral" communications contain clearly marked opt-out instructions. The types of personally identifiable information that may be collected in relation to "prospects" or "referrals" include: name and e-mail addresses. We do not sell or rent any contact information for such "prospects" or "referrals."

  5. Cookies and Beacons - Use by Britannica.

    To help you personalize your online experience, Britannica uses "Cookies." "Cookies" are small files that Britannica transfers to the hard drives of Users for record-keeping purposes. One of the primary purposes of Cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. For example, Cookies allow us to recognize you when you re-enter a Britannica site so that you will not have to log in each time you visit. Cookies also allow us to collect anonymous traffic data, such as the number of unique and return visitors who use the Britannica sites. In addition, Britannica places Cookies with Users visiting from advertising banners and hyperlinks on other Web sites to track the success of a particular advertising campaign or marketing program. Most browsers are initially set up to accept Cookies. If you prefer, you can reset your browser to notify you when you've received a Cookie or, alternatively, to refuse to accept Cookies. It is important to note that you may not be able to use certain features on a Britannica site if you choose not to accept Cookies. The use of Cookies is an industry standard and occurs at most major Web sites. To manage browser cookies, please see your browser's privacy settings. To manage Flash cookies, please use the  Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager.
    A "Web beacon"  is an electronic image placed in the code of a Web page. We use Web beacons to monitor the traffic patterns of users from one Britannica page to another and to improve site performance.

  6. Cookies and Beacons - Use by Third Parties.

    We work with other companies who place cookies or Web beacons on our Web sites. These companies help operate our Web sites and provide you with additional products and services. They are subject to confidentiality agreements and other legal restrictions. Britannica does not permit any of these companies to collect personal information using cookies or Web beacons on our Web sites.

    We use third-party Web beacons from Yahoo! to help analyze where visitors go and what they do while visiting our Web site. Yahoo! may also use anonymous information about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to improve its products and services and provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by Yahoo!, and to OPT OUT,click  here.

    We use third party companies to serve and target ads and collect non-personally identifiable information (e.g., the pages you visit, and which links you click, which ads you see and click on, and the categories of search terms you enter) when you visit Britannica sites. These companies may use the information outlined above (which does not include your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to Britannica sites and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. These companies often use a cookie or third party Web beacon to collect this information. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, and to OPT OUT,click  here.

    Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on the Britannica sites. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it and its partners to serve ads to Users based on their visit to Britannica sites and/or other sites on the Internet. You may OPT OUT of the use of the DART cookie by clicking  here.

  7. How We Use the Information We Collect.


    We want you to understand when and with whom we may share personal or other information we have collected about you or your activities on our Web sites or while using our services.

  8. Personal Information.

    Britannica uses Personal Information for: allowing Britannica site Users to obtain an account and to receive communications they request; verifying the identities of contributors of content to Britannica sites; making ongoing enhancements to the Britannica sites; marketing and promotional purposes; and evaluating Web site usage by analyzing and otherwise using Personal Information and related data in the aggregate, but not with respect to any individual Britannica site User. In addition, with respect to Britannica site Users located outside North America, we may share pertinent Personal Information with our local subsidiaries.

    We do not share your Personal Information with others except as indicated below or when we inform you and give you an opportunity to opt out of having your Personal Information shared. We may share Personal Information with:

    Authorized service providers. We may share your Personal Information with our authorized service providers that perform certain services on our behalf. These services may include fulfilling orders, processing credit card payments, delivering packages, providing customer service and marketing assistance, performing business and sales analysis, supporting our Web site functionality, and supporting contests, sweepstakes, surveys and other features offered through our Web site, catalogs, by phone or mail. These service providers may have access to Personal Information needed to perform their functions but are not permitted to share or use such information for any other purposes.

    Business partners. When you make purchases or engage in promotions offered through our Web site, catalogs or through our other services, we may share Personal Information with the businesses with which we partner to offer you those products, services, promotions, contests and/or sweepstakes. When you elect to engage in a particular merchant's offer or program, you authorize us to provide your email address and other information to that merchant.

    Direct mail partners. From time to time we may share our postal mailing list with selected providers of goods and services that may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive mailings from these providers, you can notify us at any time by following the instructions set forth below  in "How to Opt Out,Correct, Update, or Remove Personal Information."

    Other situations. We also may disclose your information:

  9.  In response to a subpoena or similar investigative demand, a court order, or a request for cooperation from a law enforcement or other government agency; to establish or exercise our legal rights; to defend against legal claims; or as otherwise required by law. In such cases, we may raise or waive any legal objection or right available to us.
  10.  When we believe disclosure is appropriate in connection with efforts to investigate, prevent, or take other action regarding illegal activity, suspected fraud or other wrongdoing; to protect and defend the rights, property or safety of Britannica, our Users, our employees, or others; to comply with applicable law or cooperate with law enforcement; or to enforce our Web site terms and conditions or other agreements or policies.
  11.  In connection with a legal proceeding or substantial corporate transaction, such as the sale of our business, a divestiture, merger, consolidation or asset sale.
  12. Britannica does not include in any of the Britannica sites any functionality for performing "reverse searches" to identify Web site Users from their e-mail addresses. However, as discussed below, Britannica reserves the right to analyze and utilize Personal Information in order to more effectively optimize the User experience and to present certain opportunities to User's for their benefit.

  13. Demographic Information.

    In an ongoing effort to improve its services, Britannica may use aggregated demographic information to draw conclusions about Users' wishes and preferences. Britannica may also provide demographic information in the aggregate regarding Britannica site Users to third parties in connection with Britannica advertising campaigns and marketing programs; however, no demographic information relating to any individual Britannica site User is disclosed without the express consent of such User. In addition, any such User may withdraw his/her consent at any time by following the instructions provided under the heading "How to Opt Out, Correct, Update, or Remove Personal Information" below. As stated above, submitting such demographic information is not required and is completely optional on a User's part.

  14. Prospect and Referral Information.

    As discussed above, we may use prospect and referral information to contact a prospect or referral from time to time with Britannica offers and information about new features, new services, or special discounts we think such prospect or referral may see as valuable. We do not sell or rent any contact information for such prospects or referrals.

  15. Usage Data.

    We only use Usage Data in the aggregate. We look at the data on a collective basis, in summary form, rather than on an individual basis. This data helps us determine the extent to which our visitors use certain parts of a Britannica site, which, in turn, enables us to make the Britannica sites as appealing as possible. We may also provide statistical "ratings" about how our visitors collectively use our Web sites to business partners (advertisers and other companies with which we do business.) We do this so they, too, can understand how often people use their areas of the Web sites in order for them to provide you with the best possible experience. These statistical ratings do not contain any personally identifiable information about any of our individual Users.

    Information Disclosed in Public Areas.


    Certain Britannica sites allow for the sharing of information. You should remember that any Personal Information you submit to such areas (for example, online chat rooms and forums) may be viewed by other visitors to that site. As a result, your Personal Information may be viewed, collected and used by third parties over whom Britannica has no control. Britannica is not responsible for either the information you submit in such public areas or the use that may be made of such information by any third party.

  16. Subscriber Communications.


    As a benefit of membership, Britannica site subscribers may receive the following communications from us:

  17. Communications related to subscription maintenance activities.

    These communications may include, without limitation, notices regarding material changes to Britannica site policies, service updates, service enhancements, and account management procedures. Since these communications are necessary to ensure Britannica provides its subscribers with the highest quality of services, our subscribers are not permitted to opt out from receipt of these communications.

  18. Newsletter Communications.

    As a benefit of a Britannica subscription, we may send Britannica subscribers our exclusive Britannica newsletters. These newsletters are full of useful Britannica content. To unsubscribe to a newsletter, a User can either (i) follow the instructions at the bottom of any newsletter or (ii) follow the instructions set forth below in "How to Opt Out, Correct, Update, or Remove Personal Information."

  19. Communications containing information about Britannica products and services.

    We may send promotional e-mails and other outbound communications to Britannica site subscribers regarding products and services from Britannica. Any Britannica site subscriber that does not wish to receive such product and service communications can choose to remove his or her contact information from our contact list at any time by (i) following the instructions at the bottom of any promotional e-mail or (ii) following the instructions set forth below in "How to Opt Out, Correct, Update, or Remove Personal Information."

    Protection for Children.


    Children should always ask parents for permission before providing any Personal Information to Britannica or purchasing any products or services from Britannica. Britannica expressly adheres to all laws and policies related to children's privacy. Britannica does not knowingly collect or solicit Personal Information from or about children under  16, except as permitted by law. If we discover we have received any Personal Information from a child under 16 in violation of this policy, we will delete that information immediately. If you believe Britannica has any Personal Information from or about anyone under 16, please contact us in the manner provided for below.

    Our Commitment to Security.


    Britannica only collects information from Britannica site Users to the extent deemed reasonably necessary to serve its legitimate business purposes, and it uses state-of-the-art security technology to ensure the security, integrity, and privacy of all collected information. When you place orders or access your account information, we automatically send you to a secure server, provided that your browser accepts SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. The most commonly used browsers are able to process SSL encryption. The secure server software encrypts all information you input before it is sent to us. In addition, Britannica uses security measures in connection with the collection and transmission of Britannica site User information during each Britannica site's registration process. Nonetheless, Britannica is not responsible for any breach of its security or for the actions of any third parties that may obtain any Britannica site User information, including Personal Information or demographic information.

    How to Opt Out, Correct, Update, or Remove Personal Information.


    Users may opt out of certain services or correct, update, or remove Personal Information that Britannica has collected about them through any of the means listed below. Please be sure to include the following information in your correspondence:

    Your e-mail address

    Your first and last name

    Your mailing address (street, city, state, zip code, and country)

    The name of the Britannica site to which the request applies

  20. Call us at:

    (800) 323-1229 (within the United States), or

    (312) 347-7159 (outside the United States)

    Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time).

    Send a fax to:(312) 294-2104

    Write us at: Britannica Customer Service, Attn: Removal from Mailing List

    331 North LaSalle Street

    Chicago, IL 60654-2682

    Please allow up to six (6) weeks for mailed-in or faxed opt-out requests to be processed.

    Links to Other Web sites.


    The Britannica sites each contain links to other Web sites. Britannica is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of these third-party Web sites. We urge all Britannica site Users to follow safe Internet practices: Do not supply Personal Information to these Web sites unless you have verified their security and privacy policies.

    Data Retention.


    We retain your information for as long as necessary to permit us to use it for the purposes that we have communicated to you and comply with applicable law or regulations.

    Business Transfers.


    As we continue to develop our business, we might sell or buy subsidiaries, or business units. In such transactions, customer information generally is one of the transferred business assets but remains subject to the promises made in any pre-existing Privacy Policy (unless, of course, the customer consents otherwise). Also, in the unlikely event that Britannica, or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will be one of the transferred assets, and will remain subject to our Privacy Policy.

    Your Consent and Changes to Privacy Policy.


    This Privacy Policy was last updated on March 24, 2010. By using any one of the Britannica sites, you consent to the collection and use of your information by Britannica in the manner specified in this Privacy Policy. Britannica reserves the right to change or amend this Privacy Policy prospectively at any time by posting the revised Privacy Policy on the Britannica sites. Britannica encourages Britannica site Users to periodically review this Privacy Policy to be informed of how we are protecting their information.

    Your California Privacy Rights.


    If you are a California resident, you are entitled to prevent sharing of your personal information with third parties for their own marketing purposes through a cost-free means. If you send a request to the address above, Britannica will provide you with a California Customer Choice Notice that you may use to opt-out of such information sharing. To receive this notice, submit a written request to the address above under the "How to Opt Out" section, specifying that you seek your"California Customer Choice Notice."Please allow at least thirty (30) days for a response.



    We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on this site. All amended terms automatically take effect 30 days after they are initially posted on the site.If your questions are not answered online, you may write to us at:Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Attn: Legal - Privacy Practices, 331 North LaSalle Street, Chicago,IL60654.

    Australia and UK Privacy Policies.


    UK Privacy Policy

    Australian Privacy Policy