Privacy Policy

The EU Parliament’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that we spell out a bunch of info on privacy and data, so we apologize for boring you with all these details. For clarification’s sake, we’ll break down our various services under the headings below:

OpenChannels User Accounts

If you make a User Account on OpenChannels, or any of our other services, we’ll know the info you tell us about yourself. Namely, your name and email address which are both required fields. Don’t tell us in your biography that you hate broccoli if you don’t want us to know that fact. We keep User Accounts around indefinitely. You can cancel your account at any time if you want to – just login and click the button to cancel your account. If you don’t cancel it, we won’t either, because it seems rude to take things away from people without asking. Please note that User Accounts are shared amongst our OpenChannels Subdomain partners (e.g. the Mare Nostrum Network, Ocean Tipping Points, North American Marine Protected Area Network, etc.), so this data will be shared with them.

Google Analytics

We use the free version of Google Analytics on all our web platforms. We’re a non-profit, which means we don’t have the money for the crazy, stalkery, expensive stuff – also, the crazy, stalkery, expensive stuff is rather crazy, and stalkery, which creeps us out. Google Analytics doesn’t store any personally-identifiable information about you. In fact, it’s against the Terms of Use for Google Analytics for us to match individuals to Google’s anonymized data (not that we could if we tried). We don’t delete the data in Google Analytics. We also tend to share the aggregated anonymous data (i.e. how many hits a page has) with our Board of Directors and our funders. Google Analytics just tells us that someone, in a particular city, did something on one of our websites at a certain time. Google's privacy policy may be viewed here. You can opt-out of Google Analytics by turning on the “Do Not Track” setting in your browser or via other methods.


Like most humans, we often write letters to folks. Sometimes this is done on paper, but most of the time we do it electronically with this fancy invention called “electronic mail” or “e-mail” for short. Your e-mail address can be used to personally identify you, or perhaps you and your cat if you both share the same email account. We don’t judge. Anyway, assume if you’ve emailed us or if we’ve emailed you that 1) we know who you are, and 2) Gmail (which OCTO uses) has probably added you to our Address Book (i.e. digital Rolodex). We’re organized folks and don’t like deleting our Address Books or inboxes, so assume you’ll be in there for a while. Though, do let us know if you change your email address so we’re not trying to contact someone else who we think is you -- that’ll really confuse that person. If you don’t want us to know you, please don’t email us. We may share your name, contact info, and the things we think you’re working on with people in our network (i.e., the global ocean management and conservation community) when they ask us things like, “I’m setting up a community-managed MPA in the Philippines. Do you know anyone I could ask for advice?” If you’d rather remain a social recluse, please do let us know. You can email us at hello [at] We generally think people like to talk about their work, but it’s good to know when you don’t!  


OCTO runs a bunch of listservs (aka electronic mailing lists), like MarineDebris and MPAList. When you join the listserv, we’ll know your email address and we’ll likely know your name (because you’ve told us). If you post to a listserv, then potentially thousands of people will know this information about you, too. We keep private archives of all the listserv postings that we don’t plan on deleting unless our backups all die, which would be super not cool. Please don’t post to our listservs unless you’re okay with people storing your message for an indefinite period of time, and possibly forwarding that message on to their cousin twice-removed. We track listserv open rates so we know if people are listening to us (which most of you do, it turns out!). It also helps us identify if your email address is inactive so we’re not spending money sending you messages that you can’t read, because you’re not using that email account any more. If you don’t want us to have this info on you, please unsubscribe from our listservs.


Our Newsletters are a fancier subset of emails. Kind of like listservs, but much more edited posts that you (hopefully) truly want to read. If you don’t want to read them, please unsubscribe because it literally costs us money to send them to you and we’d rather put that money to best use. When you subscribe to our listservs, we may keep for an indefinite period of time the information you give us (e.g. name, email address, job title, etc.). If you unsubscribe from the listserv, our newsletter system (MailChimp) usually deletes you from our database pretty quickly. If they don’t, email raye [at] and she’ll remove you from our lists. We typically track both opens of, and clicks within, our newsletters so we know what content people like to read. Like, we stopped sending out pay-walled literature in our newsletters because people just weren’t clicking on it (because non-academics don’t subscribe to journals - duh).


OCTO produces a number of webinars. We normally ask folks to provide us with their name, email address, job title, and organization when registering for these webinars. We typically share the “attendee reports” from our webinar service (Zoom and/or GoToWebinar) with the presenters of the webinar. This allows us all to see who’s asked questions during the webinar so we can follow up with you. It also helps us determine which webinars are popular topics, and which topics we don’t need to cover as often. The data is “processed” by the OCTO Team, and we (and the presenters we share the webinar reports with) do not typically delete this data after any set period of time. Users who object to this data-sharing should not register for OCTO webinars.

Social Media

OCTO maintains a few social media accounts, namely on Twitter and Facebook. If you follow/like/re-tweet/beam-up one of our social media accounts, we’ll potentially know the information you publicly share on those platforms. We say “potentially” because we don’t actually do much with our social media accounts other than post content to them. But, occasionally we look people up on social media to “tag” them in relevant posts. Like, if you’ve shared a blog on OpenChannels, we’ll probably tag your Twitter account on the Tweet when we share the blog. If you don’t want us or your grandmother to know what you ate for dinner last Wednesday, then please don’t share that information publicly on social media. That’s TMI, TBH. If you don’t want us to know any of this information about you, please block our accounts on the relevant social networks.


If you object to any of the information above, please email us at hello [at] and let us know. Under the GDPR, you have the right to be forgotten by OCTO. You also have the right to request the data we have on you (which is probably your name, email address, job title, organization, the listservs/newsletters you’ve subscribed to and if you’ve opened those newsletters or not). You also have the right to completely ignore everything we’ve just said – but you don’t have the right to dislike octopuses. We like them too much.