Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy
Last updated: November 2, 2020.


This is the privacy policy ("Privacy Policy") of the  website, iOS App, and Android App, the Network Member Websites, and describes how ("," "We," "Us" or "Our") handles Personal Information (as defined below) that users ("You," "Your” or "User") provide to Us, or that We collect from You through the use of Our Website, which is located at ) and through the Network Member websites (collectively, the "Websites"), and through the iOS App, and the Android App and the Seek by App (the “App(s)”).

Each country has different laws and rights relating to Personal Information of their residents. If You are a resident located outside the United States, in addition to this Privacy Policy, please also see Your country specific disclosures located at: Argentina; Australia; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Finland; Greece; India; Mexico; New Zealand; Panama; Portugal; South Africa; Spain; Sweden.

This Privacy Policy is subject to Our Terms of Service at We may update this Privacy Policy from time to time, as specified in the “Changes to This Privacy Policy” section below.

Your Consent

You should read this entire Privacy Policy before submitting information to Us or using Our Websites. Whenever You submit personal and non-personal information via Our Websites or otherwise to Us, whether online or offline, You consent to the collection, use disclosure, transfer, and storage of that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Types of Information We Collect

"Personal Information" means information such as Your first/middle initial or name, last name, e-mail address, street address, mailing address if different, town or city, state, zip code, telephone number, profile photograph, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, credit card information and any other information that could allow someone to identify You or contact You, including information collected through cookies and other technology. collects Personal Information of the sort that web browsers, hardware, software and servers typically make available, such as the IP address, device ID, browser type, language preference, referring site, pages viewed, one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser, and the date and time of each visitor request.'s purpose in collecting this information is to better understand how's visitors use its Websites and Apps. From time to time, may release such information in the aggregate, e.g., by publishing a report on trends in the usage of its Websites and Apps.

How We Collect Personal Information may collect Personal Information when You choose to interact with in ways that require to gather such information, such as if You browse on, register as an User, update or add information to Your profile, provide content to through Your computer or phone, make a donation to through the Websites, make a purchase from the store (collectively, the "Services"), or otherwise communicate or engage with Us about the Services. When You post an Observation on, We may collect Your User ID, latitude and longitude of the site of the Observation, the place name of the site of the Observation, the date and time of the Observation, the metadata associated with image or sound files, the app You used to contribute data, and the time zone of the site of the Observation. The amount and type of information that gathers depends on the nature of the interaction. In each case, collects such information only insofar as is necessary or appropriate to fulfill the purpose of Your interaction with does not disclose Personal Information other than as described herein. You can refuse to supply Personal Information, with the caveat that doing so may prevent You from engaging in certain Website and App-related activities, such as registering as an User, maintaining an profile, or posting content to Without providing personal information (other than the automatic provision of Your IP address), You will still be able to access and use on a read-only basis.

How We Use Personal Information

We may use the Personal Information that You provide in order to deliver the Services and to administer and maintain the Websites, respond to Your inquiries, improve our services, business, and Websites, manage our business including spam detection and fraud prevention purposes, for marketing, legal and research purposes, and to understand how You use Our Websites and services. If You register as an User, You must give Us current, complete and accurate information and keep the information You provide to Us up to date. We cannot and shall not be responsible for any problems or liability that may arise if You do not give Us current, accurate, truthful, or complete information or if You fail to update the information You give Us.

When We Disclose and Share Personal Information

Personal Information You provide related to the Observations You post (user name, date, time, location) is published in venues on where it is visible to anyone ("Published") as matter of normal usage and therefore is publicly shared with other Users, whether or not they are signed in. We also explicitly and publicly share this information publicly in a machine-readable format with a handful of partners, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility ("GBIF").

We share Personal Information associated with Users’ registration and account (IP address, email address, etc.) with representatives from Network Members (see for information about the Network). Network Members can request and receive Personal Information from Users who affiliate with their particular Member site as their primary site. discloses Personal Information to contractors, service providers, consultants and affiliated organizations that (i) need to know that information in order to process it on's behalf or to provide Services available at's Websites and Apps, and (ii) that have agreed not to disclose it to others, with the exception of non-public location data from Observations for non-commercial research, conservation, and species management purposes.

Some of those contractors, service providers and affiliated organizations may be located outside of Your home country; by using's Websites or Apps, You consent to the transfer of such information to them. will not rent or sell Personal Information to anyone. We share your Personal information with entities that support Our business and operations such as hosting Our Websites and data, communicating with You, fraud and spam detection, data analytics, and other legitimate business purposes including communicating with the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, Google Analytics, Google Firebase and New Relic.

We use Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, Google Maps Platform (to display geographic content), and SendGrid. If You choose to participate in some optional services, We will share Personal Information with entities that make those services possible, such as Civilized Discourse Construction Kit (for the Forum); Donorbox and Stripe (for charitable donations); and Shopify, Printify and TaxJar (for the Store).

Other than as described above, discloses Personal Information only when required to do so by law, or when believes in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of, third parties, or the public at large. Unless authorized by You through Your opt-in, or as provided above, We will make Your Personal Information available to non-affiliated third parties only in the following circumstances:

  • If We are compelled to do so by a governmental agency, court, or other entity (e.g., to respond to subpoenas, court orders or legal process);

  • If We believe Your actions violate a law, regulation, this Privacy Policy, or any applicable website or app's terms of use, or if You threaten the rights, property or safety of Us, Our Websites, Our Apps, any other Users, or third party;

  • If, in Our sole discretion, We believe disclosure is necessary to investigate or resolve possible problems or inquiries, to protect Our assets, to defend Our interests or comply with Our legal and regulatory obligations; or to protect a User's safety;

  • If there is a bankruptcy, merger, acquisition, transfer of control, joint venture or other business combination involving, the Academy or National Geographic.

If You are a registered User of and have supplied Your email address, may occasionally send You an email to tell You about new features, solicit Your feedback, or just keep You up to date with what's going on with and Our services. We primarily use blogs and groups to communicate this type of information, so We expect to keep this type of email to a minimum. If You send Us a request (for example via a support email or via one of Our feedback mechanisms), We reserve the right to publish it in order to help Us clarify or respond to Your request or to help Us support other Users. takes all measures reasonably necessary to protect against the unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction of Personal Information.

Legal Basis for Processing Personal Information Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If You are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA),'s legal basis for collecting and using the Personal Information described in this Privacy Policy depends on the Personal Information We collect and the specific context in which We collect it. In addition, We process Personal Information with the principle of data minimization in mind. This means that We limit ourselves to the minimum amount of personal information which is needed to achieve the particular purpose for which We process the Personal Information. Below are some examples of the purposes for which Personal Information may be processed. may process Your Personal Information because:

  • The processing is necessary to provide the services and features You have requested

  • The processing is necessary to perform a contract with You

  • The processing is necessary for the legitimate interests of Our business, such as fraud prevention, information security, or to comply with the law

  • You have provided consent for Us to do so.

Contact Preferences; Opt-In and Opt-Out

We would like to keep in touch with You in ways that You find to be beneficial. You can control the kinds of emails You receive after creating an account by clicking on this link and following the instructions on that page, or by following the instructions in various communications that We may send You. Should You require assistance, You may contact Us directly by emailing Keep in mind that these preferences regarding promotional contacts do not mean that We might not contact You for other reasons, such as those related to an inquiry You made, a legally required notice and so on.

How We Retain Personal Information

We retain Your Personal Information associated with Your registration for so long as You remain a registered User of In addition, We may retain Personal Information from closed accounts to comply with national laws, prevent fraud, collect any fees owed, resolve disputes, troubleshoot problems, assist with any investigation, enforce Our User Agreement and take other actions permitted or required by applicable national laws.

Personal information associated with Observations (time, date, location, etc.) may remain attached to Observations, even after You have closed Your account unless You request that We delete it.


We do not knowingly collect or solicit Personal Information from children or knowingly allow children to make purchases through Our Websites and Apps. Visitors 12 years of age and younger must obtain an adult's permission before submitting any Personal Information to our Websites or Apps. In the event that We learn that We have received any Personal Information from a visitor 12 years of age or younger, and We do not receive parental permission within a reasonable period of time of Our request for it, We will delete that information as quickly as possible. If You believe that We might have Personal Information from or about a child 12 years of age or younger, please contact Us at To register an account for Your child, see


Automated technology collects information from Your computer or mobile device and includes cookies, web beacons, local shared objects, or other similar technology. A cookie is a string of information that a website stores on a visitor's computer, and that the visitor's browser provides to the website each time the visitor returns. A "web beacon" is a small object or image that is embedded into a web page, application, or email and is used to track activity. They are also sometimes referred to as pixels and tags.

As You access or use Our Website, We and/or third parties may collect information using cookies, web beacons, pixels, navigational and location data collection (clickstream, log files, server logs) and other similar technologies for the purposes described in this Policy. uses cookies to help identify and track visitors, their usage of the Websites and their Website access preferences. visitors who do not wish to have cookies placed on their computers should set their browsers to refuse cookies before using's Websites. Certain features of's Websites, such as the ability to post Observations, may not function properly without the aid of cookies.

To find more information about cookies please visit www.allaboutcookies Most browsers are initially set to allow cookies, but also offer the option to restrict cookies or warn you of their use.

Third Party Analytics Disclaimer

We and/or third-parties and service providers on Our behalf, use cookies, web beacons and other similar technology, to collect information for the purposes described in this Policy including analytics, monitoring performance and improvement of Our online services (traffic, errors, page load time, popular pages, etc.).

You may opt out of analytics as follows. Residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) that have the right to opt-out of decisions based solely on automatic decision-making may also opt-out of analytics as follows.

All iNat users may opt-out of all third party tracking by visiting


Google Analytics. We use Google Analytics to understand how Our website, services, and products perform, how You use them, and to serve You with ads on third-party websites. To learn more about how Google processes Your data, please visit: To opt out of Google Analytics, please install the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on by visiting:

How We Protect Your Personal Information

We are committed to protecting the Personal Information You share with Us through the use of and We maintain reasonable physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect Your Personal Information. We limit access to Personal Information by Our own employees to individuals who are authorized for the proper handling of such information and any employee found violating Our standards of security and confidentiality is subject to Our disciplinary processes. We request Our service providers to follow the same policy. Unfortunately, We cannot guarantee that data transmitted over the Internet will always be secure. As a result, although We strive to protect Your Personal Information, We cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information You transmit or We may learn as a result of Your use of and You do so at Your own risk. If, for any reason, You do not agree with this Privacy Policy, please do not use or attempt to take advantage of any of the information, services, features or functions of that might require You to provide Your Personal Information.

Your Rights with Your Personal Information

If You are a resident of the European Economic Area (“EEA”), You have certain rights with regard to Your Personal Information. Those include:

  • The right to access, update or delete the information We have about You. In many instances, You can personally access and update Your Personal Information by accessing Your online account settings when logged in by going to If You are unable to perform these actions yourself, please contact Us to assist You.

  • The right of rectification. You have the right to have Your information corrected if that information is inaccurate or incomplete.

  • The right to object. You have the right to object to our processing of Your Personal Information.

  • The right of restriction. You have the right to request that We restrict the processing of Your Personal Information.

  • The right to data portability. You have the right to be provided with a copy of the information that We have about You in a structured, machine-readable and commonly used format.

  • The right to withdraw consent. You have the right to withdraw Your consent at any time where relied on Your consent to process Your personal information.

Please note that for Your safety and security, We may ask You to verify Your identity before responding to such requests. For any such information or requests, contact the Data Protection Officer at

Posting Observations

If You do not wish to have the time, date, place, or other identifying information of an Observation included on, You should not post an Observation. Upon Your request, We will close Your account and remove Your Observations.

Withdraw Consent

If You withdraw Your consent for the use or disclosure of Your Personal Information for purposes set out in this Privacy Policy You may not have access to all Our Services and We might not be able to provide You all of the Services and customer support offered to Our users and authorized under this Privacy Notice and Our User Agreement.

The Data Controller

The Data Controller who collects and processes your Personal Information is: at

Links and Third Parties

There may be opportunities through the Websites and Apps from time to time to opt-in to receive information from entities. If You opt-in, You may receive correspondence from these organizations on programs, products or services that might interest You. Your communication with these entities should be directly with such entities.

Privacy Policy Changes

Although most changes are likely to be minor, may change its Privacy Policy from time to time, and at's sole discretion. We will post an updated and revised version of this Privacy Policy on the Websites when any material changes have been made, and encourages visitors to check this Privacy Policy often so You are aware of the most current terms and conditions that apply to You. The revisions are effective immediately upon posting. Your continued use of this site after any change in this Privacy Policy will constitute Your acceptance of such change.

Information from Users Outside the US, and Cross Border Data Transfers

The Services of are operated from and in the U.S. By using the Services and posting Observations, You consent to the transfer, processing and storage of Your Personal Information in the U.S., a jurisdiction in which the privacy laws may not be as comprehensive as those in the country in which You reside. We take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that Your Personal Information is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy. Network Member sites operate in other jurisdictions. The Personal Information You provide Us may be transferred and stored in other jurisdictions if You select an Network Member as Your primary site.

WE Do Not Track Notice

Because there are not yet common, industry accepted “do not track” standards and systems, the Websites may not respond to Do Not Track signals. In addition, we may allow third parties to collect Personal Information from your activity on our website, as described in this Privacy Policy.

All Users

If any User of Our Websites, Apps, or any Subscriber has any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact Officer

This Privacy Policy was last modified on November 2, 2020.