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beta_helix's picture
User offline. Last seen 18 hours 14 min ago. Offline
Joined: 05/09/2008
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Here is a draft of the Proposed Foldit Privacy Policy.
We would appreciate your feedback on it, and have a set up a Developer Chat to discuss it:
http://fold.it/portal/node/992550

If you are unable to make it to the chat at that time, please post your questions/comments here.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Proposed Foldit Privacy Policy

The Foldit project aims to predict, design, and understand biochemical structures, and study how humans and computers can best work together to further these aims. Foldit achieves this through a community of game-developed experts. Foldit is continuously changed to promote the creation of experts and to become the most effective exploration tool. To achieve this, the project continuously gathers and analyzes data.

The Foldit game gathers and reports data generated by your activities in the game. If you create an account, this data will be associated with your account. If you play without an account, data will be gathered anonymously by assigning you an anonymous identifier. Gameplay data such as biochemical structures, scores, recipes, tool and recipe usage, progress, and time played may be logged and analyzed.

The Foldit website also stores your postings and interactions. Data may be assosciated with your IP address.

General public chat channels will not be logged, except for #global during developer or scientist chats (in order to post transcripts of the chat). Private group channels for player created groups, and private irc messages will not be logged. Specific channels created by the project, group or otherwise, may be logged and analyzed, and if so, they will be clearly marked as such. However, in extreme cases to prevent abuse of the system, any chat may be logged.

This data and analysis may be shown in the Foldit game, on the Foldit website, and used in external publications, presentations, promotional materials, and other public venues. We will contact you for permission before externally associating data analysis with your account name, although your account name may appear without explicit permission in external demonstrations of the game or website (such as on leaderboards).

By participating in the Foldit project, you agree that the above data can be recorded and analyzed. You can opt out of further data gathering at any time by uninstalling the software and discontinuing use of it, the website, and chat.

When creating an account, you provide an email address. This email address may occasionally be used to contact you in relation to the game. You can opt out of email contact at any time.

Tlaloc's picture
User offline. Last seen 8 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Joined: 08/04/2008
Groups: Mojo Risin'
Needs more

You should note that the privacy policy can change at any time. Further play after a change constitutes acceptance of the new policy. And state where notices of changes to the policy will be found: email, on the web site, in the start of the game, whatever. Stick a version number on the policy.

I think all global chat should be logged as a matter of course for evidence in cases of abuse of chat. However, no mining of the data will be done by the foldit team or other affiliated groups. You should also note that there is no way for foldit to prevent unaffiliated groups from mining data in chat, since it is publicly available to anyone with an IRC program. It's pretty common to state that posters on chat own their own comments.

I think you tried to say that screen shots and videos may include account names and group names that appear on the leader board. You should explicitly say that these may show up in presentations, videos, and publications without further permission. I don't think you are going to want to photoshop all the screen shots that you take.

Beyond a privacy policy you need some terms of use. You should note who owns solutions, scripts, and other intellectual property created with foldit. By default in most countries of the world, unless otherwise said, the creator owns the copyright on materials created (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention_for_the_Protection_of_Literary_and_Artistic_Works which the U.S. signed onto in 1988). If someone in the game comes up with a protein used in the solution for a major disease, which a drug company manufactures, are they going to get royalties? What if they use a script while producing that? Will the script writer get royalties? What if the algorithm of a script is used in a non-foldit piece of software by a drug company? Etc.

These are thorny questions that have been ignored since the game started. I used Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License on my scripts because there is no other stated policy, just to make it clear that people could modify my scripts to play.

I don't care that much what terms you use, but I do know that some people here are going to be upset no matter what when it is explicitly stated :-(.

spmm's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 4 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 08/05/2010
Groups: Void Crushers
copyright and IP

my understanding from questions answered by Dr Baker in a recent video interview, is that, just like the scientist's research, any copyright material and associated IP generated is owned by the university. I agree it probably should be stated in the terms of use.

Joined: 08/09/2010
third parties involved

As more than one entity is involved in the project, we should know who can use our personal data (mail, IP, interactions, global chat...), and a commitment that these data will not be used by third parties. Is Foldit a legal entity? I guess the entities are Game Center for Science at University of Washington and UW Department of Biochemistry. so they are who have to take the responsibility (who sign the Privacy Policy). We don't want such data are used by a drug company that we don't know, or a spammer company.

Joined: 11/10/2007
Groups: Window Group
Here is an updated draft

Here is an updated draft based on feedback:

Foldit Privacy Policy

The Foldit project aims to predict, design, and understand biochemical structures, and study how humans and computers can best work together to further these aims. Foldit achieves this through a community of game-developed experts. Foldit is continuously changed to promote the creation of experts and to become the most effective exploration tool. To achieve this, the project continuously gathers and analyzes data.

The Foldit game gathers and reports data generated by your activities in the game. If you create an account, this data will be associated with your account. If you play without an account or offline, data will be gathered anonymously by assigning you an anonymous identifier. Gameplay data such as biochemical structures, scores, recipes, tool and recipe usage, progress, and time played may be logged and analyzed.

The Foldit website also stores your postings and interactions. Data may be associated with your IP address.

General public chat channels are logged to monitor for abuse of public communication channel, but not for research purposes. In addition, the public global chat (#global) will be logged during events like developer or scientist chats in order to post transcripts of the chat. Private group IRC channels for player created groups and private messages will not be logged. Specific channels created by the project, group or otherwise, may be logged and analyzed, and if so, they will be indicated as such. However, in extreme cases to prevent abuse of the system, any chat may be logged.

Please be aware that since areas of the chat and website (#global, forums, feedback, etc) are publicly available, we are unable to prevent any third party from independently logging these channels.

This data and analysis may be shown in the Foldit game, on the Foldit website, and used in external publications, presentations, promotional materials, and other public venues. We will contact you for permission before externally associating data analysis with your account name, although your account name may appear without explicit permission in external demonstrations of the game or website (such as on leaderboards).

By participating in the Foldit project, you agree that the above data can be recorded and analyzed. You can opt out of further data gathering at any time by uninstalling the software and discontinuing use of it, the website, and chat.

When creating an account, you provide an email address. This email address may occasionally be used to contact you in relation to the game. You can opt out of email contact at any time.

This policy may change at any time, although changes will be announed in the game news beforehand. Continued participation in the project constitutes acceptenace of the new terms.

Susume's picture
User offline. Last seen 1 week 5 days ago. Offline
Joined: 10/02/2011
UW office of intellectual property

When you are drafting the EULA or Terms of Service, I strongly encourage you to consult with UW's Technology Transfer office, or whatever the intellectual property management office is currently called. I'm sure they have a policy (maybe even boilerplate text you can use) regarding intellectual property created by non-staff while participating in a university-run research project. Federal law also applies; unless it has changed recently this specifies that intellectual property resulting from research funded by the federal government is owned by the institution carrying out the research (UW). I think it's important to inform players of this when they sign up to play.

Joined: 11/10/2007
Groups: Window Group
Thanks for the feedback here

Thanks for the feedback here and in chat. The policy can be found here:

http://fold.it/portal/privacypolicy

jeff101's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2012
Groups: Go Science
Visibility of Foldit site content to general public

I just noticed that without being logged on to Foldit, I can do a Google search like "jeff101 foldit" and see many things I have posted on Foldit. I can do searches for other users' posts as well. I'd imagine everyone else can do the same. This raises the question, why must so many things from the Foldit site be visible to the general public? Can they at least be made only accessible to other Foldit users who have active accounts and are logged on? Also, can pages of the Foldit site be blocked from search engines like Google?

With the present policy, I am glad I haven't shared more personal information on the Foldit site. I'd imagine many Foldit players have day jobs and play Foldit "only" during their leisure-time. Do we really want employers and potential employers able to monitor our leisure-time activities? Also, many jobs these days have vague boundaries so that leisure-time and work-time are ill-defined. Does anyone want themselves open to comments like "Why were you staying up so late last night playing that computer game when you could have been thinking about your presentation for today? If you put half the time you spent on that game into your work, we'd have met our deadline weeks ago. We're not paying you to work for Foldit. If you want to work for Foldit, maybe you should go ask them for a job."

Another issue is whether the Foldit team really wants to have so much information about the internal workings of the site so publicly available. While transparency and openness are laudable goals, I have seen some heated debates within the Foldit community, some pointing out flaws in how the site is run. Do you really want all this information so readily available to grant reviewers, potential investors, journal referees, the news media, competing websites, competing researchers, hackers, scammers, etc. ?

Food for thought.

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons