Couchsurfing Privacy Policy

Effective Date: October 10, 2012

Note from Couchsurfing: Please refer to the footnotes to see what we changed effective October 10, 2012.

This Privacy Policy describes the information Couchsurfing International, Inc. (“Couchsurfing”) collects about you, how we use and share that information and the privacy choices we offer. This Privacy Policy applies to information we collect when you use our websites, mobile applications and other online products and services (collectively, the “Services”), or when you otherwise interact with us.

We may change the provisions of this Privacy Policy from time to time. If we make changes, we will notify you, including by revising the date at the top of this policy. We encourage you to review the Privacy Policy whenever you use our Services to stay informed about our information practices and the ways you can help protect your privacy.

Information Users Provide to Us

We collect information you provide to us, such as when you create an account, update your profile, use the interactive features of our Services, participate in contests, promotions or surveys, request customer support or otherwise communicate with us. The types of information we may collect include:

  • Basic user information , such as your name, username, gender, birth date, email address, mailing address, phone number and photographs;
  • Messages and interactive forum information , such as discussion group posts, messages to other Couchsurfing users and information you provide in connection with activities and events; and
  • Other background, contact and demographic information , such as your ethnicity, occupation, personalURL, IM username, emergency contact, home descriptions, travel history and plans and other interests and self-descriptions you choose to provide.
    We also collect information about you from other Couchsurfing users, such as trust ratings, friend connections, public references and other interconnections and interactions between you and other Couchsurfing users.

Information We Collect Automatically From You

When you access or use our Services, we may also automatically collect information about you, including:

  • Location Information: We may collect information about your location each time you access or use our mobile application or otherwise consent to the collection of this information. For more information, please see “Your Information Choices” below.1
  • Device Information: We collect device-specific information when you access our Services, including your hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers, mobile network information and information about the device’s interaction with our Services.
  • Log Information: We collect log information about how you access or use our Services, including your access times, browser type and language, Internet Service Provider and Internet Protocol (“IP”) address.
  • Information Collected by Cookies and other Tracking Technologies: We may automatically collect information using cookies, web beacons (also known as “gifs,” “pixel tags” and “tracking pixels”) and other tracking technologies to, among other things, improve our Services and your experience, monitor user activity, count visits, understand usage and campaign effectiveness and tell if an email has been opened and acted upon. For information about removing or rejecting cookies, please see “Your Information Choices” below.

Information We Collect from Other Sources

We may also obtain information from other sources and combine that with information we collect through our Services. For example, if you create or log into your Couchsurfing account through a third-party social networking site, we will have access to certain information from that site, such as your name, profile picture, connections and other account information in accordance with the authorization procedures determined by such third-party social networking site.

Use of Information

We use information about you for purposes described in this Privacy Policy or otherwise disclosed to you on or in connection with our Services. For example, we may use information about you to:

  • Operate and improve our Services;
  • Protect the safety of Couchsurfing users and verify users’ identities;
  • Send you technical notices, updates, security alerts and support and administrative messages;
  • Respond to your comments, questions and requests and provide customer service;
  • Communicate with you about products, services, offers, promotions, rewards and events and provide other news and information about Couchsurfing and our select partners;
  • Monitor and analyze trends, usage and activities in connection with our Services;
  • Personalize the Services, which may include providing content or features that match user profiles or interests;
  • Process and deliver contest entries and rewards; and
  • Link or combine with other information we get from third parties to help understand your needs and provide you with better service.

Transfers of Your Personal Information Abroad

Couchsurfing may store and process personal information in the United States and other countries. Couchsurfing complies with the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework and the US-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework and has certified its adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles of Notice, Choice, Onward Transfer, Security, Data Integrity, Access and Enforcement with respect to personal data collected from members in the EU and Switzerland. For more information about the Safe Harbor program and to view Couchsurfing’s certification, please visit the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbor website.

Sharing of Information

We do not share personal information about you with third parties except as follows:

  • With your consent, including if we notify you through our Services that the information you provide will be shared in a particular manner and you provide such information;
  • With third party vendors, consultants and other service providers who need access to such information to carry out their work for us;
  • With others who access or use our Services in accordance with the privacy settings you establish (please see “Your Information Choices” below for more information about how to manage your sharing preferences);
  • With search engines in order to index the content you provide as part of a discussion forum;
  • With partners who run contests, special offers or other events or activities in connection with our Services;
  • In connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company; and
  • If we believe that disclosure is reasonably necessary to comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request; to enforce our agreements, policies and Terms of Use to protect the security or integrity of our Services; or to protect Couchsurfing, our users or the public from harm or illegal activities.

We may also share aggregated or anonymized information that does not directly identify you.

Social Media Tools

The Services may offer social sharing features or other integrated tools, which let you share actions you take on our Services with other media, and vice versa. The use of such features enables the sharing of certain information with your friends or the public, depending on the settings you establish with the third party that provides the social sharing feature. For more information about the purpose and scope of data collection and processing in connection with social sharing features, please visit the privacy policies of the third parties that provide these social sharing features.

The Services may also allow you to access Google Maps. Please note that when you use Google Maps, you are subject to Google’s privacy policy, as amended by Google from time to time.

Security

Couchsurfing takes reasonable measures to help protect information about you in an effort to prevent loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction.

Your Information Choices

Privacy Settings
You may change your privacy settings and determine whether certain information about you will be shared with others by navigating to your profile and editing your “Personal Designations.”

Account Information
You may update or correct information about you, or deactivate your account, at any time by logging into your account and editing your profile. Please note that even after you deactivate your account, we may retain certain information as required by law, for legitimate business purposes and to protect member safety.

Location Information via Mobile Device
You have the ability to turn location-based services on and off by adjusting the settings of your Internet browser or mobile device and by following the standard uninstall process and removing Couchsurfing’s application from your device. Doing so, however, may mean that you cannot use all or a portion of our Services. 3

Cookies
Most web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. If you prefer, you can usually choose to set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies; however, our Services may not function properly if you do so.

Promotional Communications
You may opt out of receiving promotional emails from Couchsurfing by following the instructions in those emails or by adjusting the appropriate settings in your profile. If you opt out, we may still send you transactional or relationship messages, such as emails about your account.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us here. In addition, EU and Swiss members can direct privacy-related inquiries or complaints to safeharbor@couchsurfing.com. If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your inquiry or complaint, or if your inquiry or complaint is not satisfactorily addressed by Couchsurfing, you can refer your inquiry or complaint to TRUSTe, fax to +1 415-520-3420, or mail to TRUSTe Safe Harbor Compliance Dept. If you are faxing or mailing TRUSTe to lodge a complaint, you must include the following information: the name of company, the alleged privacy violation, your contact information, and whether you would like the particulars of your complaint shared with the company. For information aboutTRUSTe or the operation of TRUSTe’s dispute resolution process, click here or request this information from TRUSTe at any of the addresses listed above. The TRUSTe dispute resolution process shall be conducted in English.

  1. We updated this section because, if you allow us to do so via your web browser’s settings, HTML5 now allows us to access your location information directly from your web browser (e.g. the dialogue box that appears when you open the website, asking if we may use your location).
  2. Google requires any website that uses their Maps feature to include a link to their own Privacy Policy.
  3. We updated this section to give you more information about how to turn off location-based services.