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SparkFun Electronics will be closed on July 3rd, 2015 in observance of Independence Day. Any orders placed after 2:00pm MT on July 2nd will be shipped out after the weekend. Thanks!

Privacy Policy

SparkFun assumes the following responsibilities:

  1. Protecting all data generated by and provided to us by our users from being stolen, compromised, or used in violation with this policy.
  2. Never selling user-provided and user-generated data for financial gain or competitive advantage.
  3. Providing transparency for our users into what data we collect and what we do with it including what access third parties have to user data and for what purpose.
  4. Informing users if their data is compromised, either by failure to protect data or by order to surrender data to a legal authority, to the fullest extent we are lawfully able.

What We Know About You

If you register an account with SparkFun, we’ll have access to your e-mail address and any additional contact information you choose to provide us. If you place an order, we retain a record of the contents of the order, delivery and billing address information, and any communication you might have with our Customer Service or Tech Support teams about the order. If you use features such as commenting, in-stock notifications, and comment reply notifications, we retain record of this fact.

If you browse sparkfun.com, with or without a login, we know for a limited time that a user at your IP address has visited pages on the site. (See the “Logging and Log Retention” section below.)

We collect data on what products and content you browse in order to offer better value to you through personalized email, and to see which products/content are the most useful to you.

When and How We Send Email

We send mail to users when orders are placed, shipped, or ready for local pickup. We may also be in contact when an order requires payment before shipping, or if other issues prevent us from fulfilling an order.

We will notify users if we believe their privacy has been compromised, if it is within our power to do so. For example, if we discover a customer’s account user login information has been exposed elsewhere on the web, or if we are compelled to disclose information to law enforcement.

We offer a set of opt-in email subscriptions for things such as newsletters, in-stock notifications for products, and comment reply notifications. You can control your subscriptions (when logged into your account) on the Email Notifications page. All new customers are signed up to our main newsletter by default, and SparkFun may at any time add all new and all existing customers to existing and new newsletters at our discretion.

We may occasionally send you an email that you did not request or trigger with an action of any kind in order to promote a certain aspect of our site, products, or services.

When you talk to our support teams

If you email us, chat with us, or call us on the telephone for support we can and most of the time will record the interaction. This is done so for training and audit purposes and the private conversations between customers and support staff are never sold to or shared with third parties (except when a third party tool, such as email or our chat service, is used to make the interaction possible).

Logging and Log Retention

In order to understand traffic to our sites and diagnose technical problems, we log individual web requests. These logs include time of request, individual IP address, referer, and user agent strings. We may retain these logs for up to 60 days, although individually-identifying information will be obscured after one week.

In order to prevent fraud and detect malicious behavior, we log IP addresses for specific actions, such as creating a customer account and placing an order. This information is automatically deleted after no more than 60 days.

Except in the case of malicious traffic, we will not share log data with any third party, unless compelled by legal process to do so.

Cookies and HTTPS

We use cookies to know when users are logged in to SparkFun services, and to track preferences such as display currencies and the rendering of product menus.

Our analytics software, Piwik, also sets a cookie that helps keep track of how many unique visitors we’re getting and where they come from, unless you’re browsing with Do Not Track enabled.

We do our best to serve all content securely over HTTPS.

Third Party Services

Do Not Track

Do Not Track is a standard for telling sites that you don’t want to be tracked. It’s aimed at sites you don’t visit directly, like advertisers and social media platforms.

SparkFun supports the Do Not Track standard. While third party plugins with access to visitor browsing data are extremely limited on sparkfun.com all are disabled for visitors passing a Do Not Track HTTP header. This includes third party tools for analytics, live chat, and web optimization (described below).

Email

We use GMail, and mail sent to or from sparkfun.com addresses generally passes through Google’s servers.

Promotional and informative mail sent to mailing lists, such as the newsletter, is sent using MailChimp (see “Third Party Services” below). Users can opt into and out of these lists using tools on sparkfun.com or MailChimp. Automated mail sent from a triggering event, like a back-in-stock notification, is sent from sparkfun.com directly. All users with accounts can manage all subscriptions via the Email tab in Account Settings.

See MailChimp’s privacy policy here.

Shipping Providers and Export Control

We offer shipping through third parties: FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service (via a service called Endicia). We pass delivery addresses, phone numbers, and invoices to these companies to the extent required for quoting shipping prices and successful delivery of orders.

We comply with United States export regulations and authorities. We use Visual Compliance to automatically screen billing and delivery addresses for potential export control violations. This entails transmission of customer billing and delivery address information to Visual Compliance servers.

Payment Providers

Credit Card payments are processed through FirstData. All credit card data including the cardholder name, credit card number, expiration date, CVV, and full billing address are sent to FirstData via an API for processing. Details regarding what products a customer is purchasing and other demographic information are not sent to FirstData.

Each transaction is logged by retaining the transaction amount, the cardholder name, the last four digits of the credit card, and the card expiration date. No other credit card data is stored at any point on SparkFun servers. This is in full compliance with the PCI-DSS, which you can read more about in our Compliance Policy.

PayPal is offered as a payment method. When using PayPal on sparkfun.com a user must provide their PayPal email address. The user will then be directed to paypal.com to complete their payment, after which they will be redirected to sparkfun.com to complete the order.

Analytics

SparkFun uses Google Universal Analytics and Piwik to track aggregate behavior of visitors on sparkfun.com.

Google Universal Analytics is a service hosted on Google’s servers. It is activated by a JavaScript snippet that loads on every page to send visitor behavioral information to Google. SparkFun uses this information to understand how visitors use our site. Sometimes SparkFun will run A/B tests, where Google Analytics will track cookies set on users to divide them into groups that get slightly different pages to see which perform better. Visitors who have Do Not Track enabled will not have any information sent to Google’s servers for use in analytics.

SparkFun also utilizes Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting. This means we combine personally identifiable information about your SparkFun account, browsing, and shopping habits and merge it with Google’s tracking cookies, all of which goes to Google. This is enabled by default for all visitors to SparkFun.com. You can opt out of this by enabling Do Not Track headers in your browser or installing and enabling the Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-on.

Web Optimization

SparkFun uses Optimizely for website optimization with A/B testing. A JavaScript snippet is loaded for visitors (without Do Not Track enabled) that will set a cookie placing each visitor in groups depending on where we have split test experiments set up around the site. Visitors will then see slightly different versions of pages based on how the experiments are designed. Optimizely tracks visitor behavior on those pages to report metrics for different groups, such as time spent on pages, bounce rate, and conversions.

Content Hosting

We serve image files (like product images) and other resources from Amazon’s CloudFront.

Uses can choose to display a Gravatar associated with the email address on their account. This will expose a hash of the address to the public web and to Gravatar, which may be a privacy concern.

Chat and Search

We use Olark to offer chat features. Unless a user is browsing with Do Not Track enabled, a small JavaScript fragment is loaded from Olark’s servers on each page. Olark’s Terms of Service

We use Swiftype to provide search results on sparkfun.com for products, blog posts, tutorials, wish lists, and other content. The text of search strings is sent from our servers to Swiftype. We do not send any information about customers to Swiftype.

Social Media

We maintain accounts on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, GitHub, YouTube, Ello, and Instagram, and Tumblr. While some of these platforms are themselves invasive of user privacy, we will do our best to apply the principles outlined in the rest of this policy to our use of social media.

We do not make use of third-party social media badges or widgets which function as trackers.

We use ViralHeat to manage and try to make some sense of the whole social media universe.

Ticketing/CRM

We use Desk.com and Salesforce to manage and prioritize customer contacts, including those by email, phone, chat, and social media.

Questions?

If you have any questions or feedback regarding this privacy policy, including if you feel SparkFun or someone within the SparkFun community has violated it, or if you are concerned about SparkFun’s general philosophy toward user privacy, please contact our IT department at it@sparkfun.com or post a public comment below.


Comments 1 comment

  • I’m not sure this page warrants a comments section, but I’m glad it’s here so I can commend SparkFun on making the privacy policy a lot clearer that it was, concise, and - especially - being transparent about third party services and highlighting concerns.