- We hold only that data which is or has been necessary for the running of the Society and its website
- We do not supply any data to third parties, other than that which may be published in the List of Members, and made available to other members with your consent
What Data do we have on you?
Your data falls into three categories.
First there is your account data on this website (including the Forum). So this would be your email address, password, signature, profile picture and all the stuff you access in your settings control panel. Your email address is only accessible by Moderators and Admin staff. Your password is not even accessible to us, however, and whilst given our access to the server there may be ways for us to apply hacks to the forum software to get them, we’re not going to. However it is good practice to assume it is possible, so always use a unique password. We can reset passwords on accounts if you are locked out but you can change the password as soon as you log back in. Again it is good practice to change passwords somewhat regularly. NB If you are a paid-up member your Forum data includes your real name and mailing address. This is so we can cross-refer to your record in the Membership List, and ensure you get access to the restricted areas of the Forum. (Cross-reference is a manual process and takes time, but right now (2018) I don’t know an easy way to automate it!)
Secondly, if you are a paid-up member, there is the data you supplied to us when you joined – your name, mailing address, telephone numbers (if you provided them), email address, and interests. This data may be published in the List of Members and you can opt in or out of that.
We also hold other information needed for the running of the Society or to satisfy UK tax requirements – your class of membership, bank details if you paid by standing order, whether (and when) you have signed a UK Gift Aid request, as well as a record of past subscription payments, past addresses etc. These are available only to members of the Committee. These records are archived (primarily on paper) and the archives may go back to the founding of the Society in 1955.
The other part of your data are the things you publish, either on this website, or in our journal, Catalyst (or its predecessors). Unlike your account data you don’t normally have the ability to edit this. THIS IS ALL IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. Once it is out there it is out there. We can delete posts but we really don’t like to as it messes with continuity etc. In the case of private information etc we will of course delete when requested, but it’s better if you don’t post private information in the first place. Even if we do delete public posts you should be aware these will be available on some websites where historical web pages are indexed.
Note: The Society has also copies of all the posts made on the old Yahoo forum and its predecessor. These are primarily in the form of emails and are not indexed, although the emails are searchable. It is not currently intended to re-publish these (it’s too much work) but that could change.
How do we use it?
Simply for the running of the Society. Your email address is used to send you notifications if you have these turned on. Your email address is also used when we send out the occasional email updates. Your postal address is used to send you the Society’s publications. The List of Members, although it has not been published for a few years, is primarily so that members can find other members with similar interests or who live nearby, and is to facilitate exchange of ideas and organisation of meetings (formal or informal).
Where is it stored?
Website and Forum records are held on rented space on a commercial webserver. The webmaster also has a copy of the basic software, and some data, that he uses to test software upgrades. We make off site backups in case the server crashes. These are held on the commercial space and also on the Webmaster’s own computers.
Current data for the running of the Society is held on the Secretary’s own computer with a copy in the “Cloud” so that other Committee Members can access it. Archived data is held by the Secretary (on disk) and also on paper records. We will not share this information outside of the Society unless we are legally obliged so to do.
How can you delete / remove your data?
There are two levels here. If you just want to stop visiting the Forum and stop getting notifications then go into your account settings and turn off all notifications. You can even set it so you can’t be sent Private Messages and you don’t get admin emails. Then just stop visiting. This means when you realise your life is empty without AYRS you can just log back in, update your settings and you’re done.
The second level is where for whatever reason people want all trace of themselves and their interaction with AYRS wiped from history. As far as your email etc is concerned this is done in the settings control panel. You can turn off all notifications as above. You can then delete your email or change it to some random jumble that is not a real email. When you do this you’re account will become unverified and you’ll not be able to post again. To reactivate it you would need to log in and enter a valid email address so you could activate the account from the link sent to you. The only place your email would exist on our system at this point would be on the backups which would eventually be wiped as they are replaced with more current backups with your email erased.
Now your public posts are a different matter. We do not allow the wholesale deleting of a members posts. As we wrote above, it can ruin the flow of historical threads and change the whole context of other members replies, which is not fair on them. We really do encourage youto think of your Forum posts as being like letters in the journal; you can’t recall and destroy all the magazines, but over time it is seen less, and slips more from the memory, but is still findable to researchers. If you think your post is something you might want us to delete later then I’d suggest you don’t post it!
Now before you go quoting your right to be forgotten you may want to check up on that. That’s getting the search sites to no longer list pages you want forgotten. The pages themselves are not required to be deleted or edited. So you need to see Google etc about that, not us.
However, lets not get sounding all draconian. AYRS is and always will be based on a friendly dynamic. If there is a reasonable justification for something to be deleted we will do it. It is just not the norm and certainly not something we do as a reflex anytime someone takes the huff, which again I really have to stress is super rare.
Any questions you still have the Webmaster or Secretary will be happy to answer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively