CIOOS Privacy Guidelines

The Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System is committed to a high level of privacy protection for our website visitors, and data users. These guidelines outline how your information is used when you visit our websites, social media, and/or data products, and how we store information about users. 

CIOOS is part of a global ocean data network that is committed to your privacy. As such, we follow the NOAA privacy guidelines to guide our own work in sharing data with our ocean partners. When you visit the CIOOS website ( or any of the regional sites, CIOOS Atlantic (, CIOOS Pacific (, or St. Lawrence Global Observatory (, we collect a limited amount of data to help us determine how our products are serving you. This information may include:

  • Your internet domain. For example, if you write to us from a gmail account, we may see “” in our analytics tools.
  • An IP address, or the location on the internet where you get your service.
  • Your browser and operating system. This helps us troubleshoot any specific problems your system may encounter on our sites.
  • The date and time you visited the site.
  • The pages you visit; and
  • If you linked to our website from another website, the address of that website.

Your Privacy When Contributing Ocean Data

CIOOS supports a limited number of open data license agreements, and imposes no restrictions on the data beyond those required by said licenses. The chosen license may require contact information to be shared. For example, a common open data license is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), which requires that users provide attribution and contact information of the dataset owner. CIOOS collects contact information for each dataset as a mandatory field in the CIOOS metadata profile. These examples of contact information will be available publicly as part of the CIOOS catalogue through the CIOOS website for each dataset entry.

Information Protection

CIOOS takes the security of our systems very seriously. We follow best practices and recognized approaches in protecting our systems and work to ensure they are updated regularly. This will include monitoring for unauthorized access to our systems. In the case where illegal activity is suspected, CIOOS may be required by law to share information with Canadian government agencies or law enforcement with an official federal or provincial search warrant.

Information Collected Through Contact or Other Forms

CIOOS will never collect personal information unless you provide it. When we receive your personal information via our contact forms, newsletter subscriptions, or through a survey, we consider that you have provided this information voluntarily for the purposes of delivering whatever service you requested. This information is not shared with any third parties and is removed once we are sure we have successfully completed the requested service. In some instances, we will store information such as email addresses on a listserv for repeated communications, like our newsletter. It is possible to unsubscribe from these communications at any time, and we do not store your information once you have unsubscribed.

How We Use Your Information

Information collected by CIOOS may be used for various reasons and shared across our regional systems. We are committed to ensuring you are aware of how this information will be used when you provide it. For example, surveys and requests for information will disclose how we intend to use the information and how we will protect it from being disclosed to outside forces. 

Some examples of how we collect and use your information:


Cookies are text files with small pieces of data unique to you, like a username, that are used to identify your computer as you use the internet. Data stored in a cookie is created by the server upon your connection. CIOOS uses cookies to store session information that ensures you do not lose information as you browse our sites. We do not use cookies for tracking purposes. 

Data Sharing with Partners

Partners that share their data with us may be required to share contact information of relevant employees so that the public can contact them for more information.

Third Party Organizational & Socia Media Tools

CIOOS uses a variety of social media and organizational tools to promote our data and other services and to coordinate internally. We strive to maintain relationships with third party applications that adhere to privacy policies that meet our privacy guidelines. As we have no ability to maintain or create privacy policies from these third party applications, we cannot be responsible for how they use your information. In instances where we have asked visitors of CIOOS to use a third party application to handle private data, we will note the service that is being used, and clearly tell our visitors how that data is expected to be used, and link to the third party application’s privacy policy, so that a visitor is as aware and informed as possible.

These include:

    • Twitter: The CIOOS national Twitter account, @cioos_siooc features content about CIOOS data tools, highlights, events, endorsements, and other updates. Furthermore, each regional association has their own Twitter accounts featuring regional content. Please note that you are subject to Twitter’s privacy policy when visiting any of our Twitter pages.
    • SurveyMonkey: CIOOS uses SurveyMonkey when formally collecting user data, such as a user experience survey. Please note that you are subject to SurveyMonkey’s privacy policy when responding to our surveys. 
    • Facebook: The CIOOS Facebook page features content on data tools, highlights, events, endorsements, and other updates. Please note that you are subject to Facebook’s privacy policy when visiting our Facebook page.
    • Google Drive: CIOOS uses Google Drive to store, share and work collaboratively on internal documentation. Within these documents, personal information about CIOOS partners, data users or data providers may occasionally be listed or stored. CIOOS staff members will not include personal information unnecessarily and will be careful to restrict access to the documents within the organization. CIOOS is subject to Google’s privacy policy when using Google Drive and any other products within the Google suite, including Google Docs and sheets stored on Google Drive. 
    • Atlassian (Jira): CIOOS uses Jira software to store and share information within the internal staff. To track ongoing work internally, Jira interactions may include information relating to a CIOOS partner. CIOOS is subject to Atlassian’s privacy policy when using Jira. 
    • MailChimp: CIOOS uses MailChimp to create and distribute our newsletter and other promotional emails. Please note that you are subject to MailChimp’s data security and private policy when viewing our emails.
    • Slack: CIOOS uses Slack to store and share information internally. Slack interactions between CIOOS staff may outline information relating to CIOOS partners. CIOOS is subject to Slack’s privacy policy when using Slack for internal communications.

Google Analytics

CIOOS uses Google Analytics, a third-party web measurement and customization technology to track which services are most used and to gain insight on how to improve our services. Google Analytics uses cookies to track how you are using our website and does not collect personal information. You may wish to examine Google’s privacy policy for additional information on how this information is stored on their systems.