Community Data Privacy

Operating an Internet platform such as the FirstSpirit Community obviously requires personal data to be collected and processed. e-Spirit AG attaches tremendous importance to the protection and safety of the personal data of visitors to its website as well as of its registered users. Naturally we fully comply with the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act [Bundesdatenschutzgesetz] and of the Telemedia Act [Telemediengesetz]. This having been said, we should like to explain in detail below for what purposes and to what extent personal data is collected, processed and used in connection with the Community, and how we handle any data accumulating during visits to our website.

Important note: During registration for the Community, when you click-and-tick the marked box referring to this Data Protection Policy, you give consent to your data being collected and processed by e-Spirit AG as specified below.

Please remember though that you may revoke your consent at any time. Your revocation notice must be in writing and posted to:

e-Spirit AG

Stockholmer Allee 24

44269 Dortmund

or may be sent by email to: community-admin@e-spirit.com.

This Data Protection Policy can also be downloaded in PDF format.

1. Collecting & Processing Data

We collect and process personal data when you register for our Community (cf. Item 1.1). We also store a certain amount of data that accumulates during use of the Community website (cf. Item 1.2). You may also post further data in the Community yourself after registering (cf. Item 1.3).


1.1. Personal Data

When you register for the Community, we are bound to request and store the following data only:

In the first step, we ask for your email address at the company you work for (i.e. as a rule your employer). Please note that the email address you give for getting full access to the Community therefore has to be your company’s email address (not a webmail address or suchlike), which enables us to classify you as belonging to one of the permitted user groups (e-Spirit’s existing customers, e-Spirit’s potential future customers, and e-Spirit’s business partners).

After validating this email address (for the purpose, you are sent an email to the address you have given), we ask for your first name and family name, the business you work for, the user name you have selected (which may be either your proper name or a pseudonym), and a password you have chosen for accessing the Community later on.

The above-mentioned particulars are stored as your Personal Data.

Apart from these obligatory particulars, you may also provide further personally identifiable information (e.g. the company’s address, more specific contact details, information about previous companies you have worked for, etc.). However these particulars are optional and classified as “Content Data”, to which Item 1.3 and Item 2.3 of our Data Protection Policy apply (see below).


1.2 Usage Data, Cookies, Web Analysis

Some data always accumulates during use of our website. It can be divided into the following three categories:

1.2.1 Log Files

When you visit the Community website, our web server stores certain data in so-called “log files”. A log file contains information about the beginning and end of that particular visit to the website, the quantity of data transferred, the sub-pages of the website that have been called up, and the IP address allocated to the Internet connection from which you have accessed the website. We store the IP address in order to give ourselves the best possible protection against misuse of the Community functions.

1.2.2 Cookies

We also use so-called “cookies”. Cookies are tiny text files which are stored by your browser on the hard disc of the computer you are using, and which send us certain information:

For one thing, the so-called “session cookies” send us the login data to enable us to authenticate our members. For another thing, these cookies enable us to keep on hand any data that might be required more than once on different pages. This data is erased at the end of the session.

An additional cookie is set if you have chosen the option for staying logged in even after ending the respective session; the cookie value then refers to an entry in our database containing your authentification data.

If you do not want our Community website to use cookies, you can change your browser settings to prevent new cookies being accepted and saved. However, without the session cookies you can only visit the Community areas that are publicly accessible, because technically it is not possible to log in without setting session cookies.

1.2.3 Web Analysis

For our Community, we also use two web analysis tools:

Firstly, we use Google Analytics, a web analysis service provided by Google Inc., based at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, U.S.A. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses cookies (cf. Item 1.2.2) enabling your use of the website to be analysed. The information about your use of the website that is generated by the cookie (visiting times, referring sources, details on system configurations and your provider, including the IP address allocated to your Internet connection during the session concerned) is transferred to one of Google’s servers in the USA, where it is stored. Google will use this information to analyse your use of the website, to compile reports for us on activities on our website, and to provide further services relating to website and Internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties, if this is prescribed by law or if third parties do contract data processing for Google. Google will on no account link your IP address with any other data held by Google. On using our website, you consent to your data that has been collected being processed by Google for the aforementioned purpose and in the manner described above. Alternatively, you can prevent new cookies being accepted by changing your browser settings accordingly (see above). Further information on Google Inc. and Google Analytics can be found at (http://www.google.com), and Google’s data protection policy is available at: http://www.google.com/intl/de/privacypolicy.html#information.

For Google Analytics, we use the possibility of abbreviating the IP addresses sent to Google by the last 8 bits, so that being able to trace you is ruled out even more thoroughly than is the case with IP addresses anyway.

Secondly, we use the analytical technology of etracker GmbH (www.etracker.com), whereby similar information (see above sub-paragraph) is collected and stored for marketing and improvement purposes. This data includes e.g. the URL from which you accessed our website, the click paths on our website, the time you spent in the Community, new visits to the Community, the search words entered, and click maps. From this data, user profiles under a pseudonym can be drawn up, for which cookies (see above) can be used that enable the Internet browser to be recognised again. The data collected using etracker technology is not used by us to identify you personally, nor is it combined with any personally identifiable information you provide. Insofar as IP addresses are sent to etracker, they are likewise only stored in abbreviated form, so that identifying you as an individual is ruled out technically as well.

You may object to your data being collected, stored and used by us pursuant to this Item 1.2.3 at any time, by emailing notification to this effect to e-Spirit at: community-admin@e-spirit.com.

Another even easier option is to download the Google Analytics deactivation add-on for your browser that is provided by Google itself (please note that the download link may change from time to time), and also to object to any analysis by etracker directly, on the Internet page that it provides specially for the purpose.


1.3 Content Data

In addition to your personal data and the usage data, there is also the data you provide optionally both during registration and/or during use of our Community after your membership has been activated (“Content Data”). This includes all the data that you include in your profile (e.g. a user photo in addition to the data mentioned above) or make available to members in some other place (e.g. articles, reports, news bulletins, commentaries, etc.). We do not actively collect such data: it is entirely up to you whether you provide any personally identifiable information, and if so, which.

2. Use of Data

2.1 Personal Data

2.1.1 General Use of Personal Data

We need your personal data to implement the contract on using the Community and to manage your user account, and also so that we can contact you if necessary.

2.1.2 Insbesondere: Nutzung der E-Mail-Adresse

We need your email address to contact you in matters involving your user account and so that we can send you our newsletter and/or similar kinds of notification. You can of course cancel our newsletter and notices at any time simply by changing the relevant setting in your profile.

Our newsletter and notices may also contain information about modifications or new features of the Community, or information about changes or improvements to FirstSpirit, and so use of your email address can be cancelled separately for sending newsletters and for supplying any such information: simply send us an email at:community-admin@e-spirit.com.

2.1.3 Transferring Personal Data to Third Parties

We do not pass your personal data on to third parties on principle. An exception to this applies:

if and insofar as your data has to be passed on for implementing the contract that is in place, or for asserting any claims to which we are entitled;

if we are obliged to do so by law or under a court order;

in response to requests from government bodies, in particular judicial or supervisory authorities, if and insofar as this is required for averting threats to law and order and public safety, and for prosecuting criminal offences.

Apart from this, your personal data is not made accessible to the general public frequenting the Internet. Even other members can only acquire knowledge of your membership if in your profile settings you enable this either generally, or on an individual basis with reference to a contact request from another specific member. The only thing that is always visible is your user name, along with your user photograph if you have uploaded one.


2.2 Usage Data

The usage data gives us an insight into how our Community is used – for instance, it tells us which forums and topics are particularly popular, the main times when our Community is busy, whether there is smooth navigation within the Community, etc. We use the results obtained for making technical and editorial improvements to the Community. Google Analytics and etracker are merely used for statistical purposes – for instance, they tell us when and how specific areas of the Community are visited and which content is retrieved there. This information helps us to work out improvements for making use of the Community easier for our members. And the statistical information on the types of browser and operating systems used enables us to enhance our web design. Although your IP address is stored in the log files, this is done solely for security reasons, as explained above; this feature does not provide us with any information at all about you as an individual person.

As a matter of principle, we do not pass usage data on to third parties.


2.3 Content Data

2.3.1 Retrieval of Content

In our Community – in particular in your profile, and also in any other content you have posted in the Community – you can provide access to information about yourself. This constitutes a disclosure, and depending on the information you have provided it may involve a transfer of personal data. However, you take your own decision on which information about yourself you want to disclose. Any personally identifiable information you provide enables other members of the Community to get to know you a bit – but only if you want – and also gives you the possibility of getting in touch with other members who may be of interest to you. In technical terms, we make the data you have given or released available in the places provided for the purpose.

2.3.2 Activity Streams & Other Aspects Specific to the Community

We have installed a few special functions to give our platform a more marked Community character. In the section “My Network News”, you can keep yourself informed about the most recent activities of the members of your network. Under the headings “Community Newcomers” and “Content Leaders”, you can learn who last registered as a new member of the Community (but possibly only under a pseudonym) and which are the Community’s most active members. By the same token, this also means of course that certain information about you can be conveyed to other members via these same features.

2.3.3 Non-Disclosure

Beyond the functions specific to the Community that have been described above, and apart from the exceptions listed in Item 2.1.3 which also apply here, we do not disclose to third parties any personally identifiable information that is provided by our members.

2.3.4 Your Content Data on Termination of the Contract

When the contract is terminated, your profile in the Community along with any related content is erased completely. Any content you have posted outside your profile can still be retrieved, but your user name and any other features such as your user photo will no longer be displayed. This also applies to any comments and other interactions with other members.

3. Hyperlinks

Our website may contain links to the Internet pages of other providers with whom we are not associated. Once you click on any of these links, we no longer have any influence over the processing of any of your data which is thus passed on to the third party (such as e.g. the IP address, or the URL where the link is located), since obviously all third-party conduct is beyond our control. We cannot therefore assume any responsibility at all for the processing by third parties of any such personally identifiable information.

4. Information, Correction, Erasure, Blocking

In reply to a written request, we will let you know at any time which personally identifiable information about yourself we have stored. You may also demand at any time that we correct, block or erase your personal data. If you wish to do this, please contact us at community-admin@e-spirit.com or write to us. Only that data is excluded from erasure that we need for handling any outstanding tasks or for asserting our rights and enforcing our claims, and that we are obliged to retain by law; however, any such data will be blocked.

5. Safety

We take technical and organisational safety measures so as to ensure that our members’ personally identifiable information is protected against loss, meddling or unauthorised third-party access. Apart from this, only authorised persons at e-Spirit can ever access your personally identifiable information, and even then only to the extent required for the above-mentioned purposes. The data collected during registration and requested later on during each log-in process is transferred using SSL encryption.

6. Amendments to Information on Data Protection

We reserve the right to update this Data Protection Policy. We will give you reasonable advance notice about any amendments made, requesting your consent where necessary.

Revised June 2010