Privacy Statement

Our Lips are Sealed

Genuine Privacy on the Internet

Maximum security

Regrettably, much of the economic engine driving Internet is based on the sophisticated hijacking of your personal information and subsequent sale or trading of that information for advertising purposes. As they say in Silicon Valley about sites like Fakebook, "If you aren't paying for the service, you are the product that is being sold." Manifold does not do that. Except for the barest minimum of information required to process an order by the payments processing pipeline, Manifold will never release customer information to anyone else. Period.

Note that the above privacy policy will at times pose inconveniences for customers as Manifold really means no release of any information to anyone else. For example, only the person who placed an order can communicate with Manifold regarding that order. Manifold will not accept assurances from some third party that "it is OK to talk to me about this account." Only by maintaining airtight security on customer accounts can Manifold guard against release of customer information to third parties. Manifold trusts customers will understand that maintaining privacy on Internet at times will involve minor inconveniences.

If you have any questions regarding this privacy policy, please email sales@manifold.net

Privacy Principles

Because your privacy is important, Manifold sites displaying this privacy statement will operate by the following six principles. Users should additionally consult the Frequently Asked Questions section accompanying this statement for more information regarding the principles.

  • Principle 1: Manifold sites will explicitly ask when they need information that personally identifies you or allows them to contact you ("Personal Information"). Generally this information is requested when registering for a site that requires registration for access, when requesting a particular service, when placing an order or when entering a sweepstakes or contest. When possible, Manifold sites will provide you with the means to make sure that your Personal Information is correct and current.
  • Principle 2: Manifold sites and their necessary service partners use your Personal Information to operate the sites and services and to inform you of service updates to existing products, new features, services, and products from Manifold and its affiliates. "Service partners" are organizations such as banks and credit card processing clearing facilities who are directly and necessarily involved in transactions you have authorized such as processing payment for orders, dealing with credit card transactions, wire transfers, clearing checks, collecting debts or reporting on unpaid debts. "Service partners" do not include other organizations such as third parties who want to sell you something. Manifold never releases any Personal Information to unnecessary third parties, nor does Manifold ever sell or lease any information lists.
  • Principle 3: From time to time Manifold may email registered customers informational notices as well as the occasional customer newsletter. Newsletters are very infrequent to avoid pestering customers. Although new products may be announced in these newsletters, they are in general intended to be service notices and other non-spam information. You may stop the delivery of informational or promotional mail from Manifold sites by following the instructions in the email.
  • Principle 4: Manifold sites are not intended for children. Manifold makes no effort to collect Personal Information from children nor will Manifold knowingly retain such information from children.
  • Principle 5: Manifold sites may disclose Personal Information if required to do so by Hong Kong law or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to (a) conform to the edicts of Hong Kong law or comply with Hong Kong legal process; (b) protect and defend the reputation, rights or property of Manifold, the site or the users of Manifold, and (c) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of users or employees or agents or affiliates of Manifold, the site or the public. Note that because all Manifold sites and interactions are governed by Hong Kong law you have exceptionally strong privacy as compared to promiscuously invasive jurisdications such as the US. For example, litigants routinely abuse "discovery" processes in the US to obtain private information through court order, secure in the knowledge that courts in the US rarely sanction attorneys who obtain such orders in bad faith or through false allegations. That doesn't work in Hong Kong, where courts do not allow fishing expeditions to invade your privacy based on unproven allegations.
  • Principle 6: If at any time you believe that a Manifold site has not adhered to these principles, please notify Manifold by e-mail at sales@manifold.net and Manifold will use all commercially reasonable efforts to promptly determine and correct any legitimate problems.

For more information, see the following Frequently Asked Questions or any other FAQs which may accompany Manifold sites. Please note that this Privacy Statement does not apply to unauthorized accesses or to utilization of Manifold sites outside their terms of use.

Do these principles apply to all Manifold sites?

For sites operated by Manifold, yes. Manifold web sites are made up of many sites, and new ones are added all the time. Given the nature of Internet technology (in particular, the use of links or pages with many links to other sites) some of these sites may incorporate elements that are not under Manifold's direct control. At this time, the Manifold privacy statement applies to those sites which display this statement in conjunction with the privacy notice on the site's Web pages. While Manifold encourages other site operators involved in any way with Manifold to comply with these principles, users should carefully examine the privacy statements of sites appearing on or linking to or from manifold.net which do not display this statement. Personal Information that you choose to provide to other sites will be subject to the privacy policies of that other web site. Although Manifold sites rarely display banners or any advertising, there may appear some banners or other foreign content elements in Manifold sites. Clicking on such elements will teleport you into someone else's hands: don't assume they follow the same privacy principles Manifold does.

What polices apply to Personal Information?

Pages throughout Manifold sites display a Privacy Statement link which identifies the statement applying to the site. Users may click on the link at any time to read the applicable statement (usually this statement).

Does Manifold join "Privacy" Groups?

No. There are some fine and sincere organizations and people involved in privacy on the web, but for the most part Manifold believes too many so-called "privacy" organizations are just an elaborate way for people to lower their standards on privacy and to provide some legitimization for ripping off your email and preferences and selling them or trading them for advertising use. Note how many "privacy" statements say the personal information you collect can be shared with "carefully selected" third parties that want to sell you something. The other problem is that privacy organizations rapidly become a target for their local governments: before you know it, the privacy consortium is negotiating with the local government on what is a fair and reasonable way for that government to listen in on email, prevent citizens from using encryption to assure their own privacy and the like. There's only one real statement of privacy: don't say a word about your customers or visitors to any third party, period.

Do All Manifold Sites need Personal Information?

No. For many Manifold sites it is not necessary for you to provide any information in order for them to provide their services. In other instances, the Manifold site may request minimal information in order to personalize the site or, in the case of forums and similar, to enable other participants to contact you if you allow. Some sites, such as the Online Store, will require more information - usually provided directly to the payment processor and not to Manifold - in order to assure that any financial transactions are in fact authorized by you.

How is Personal Information Collected?

Personal Information is collected by specifically requesting it from you. Generally this occurs when you register at a site, request a service, or enter an online contest or store. Manifold does not collect Personal Information by secret means.

What about Cookies?

Cookies are pieces of information that a Web site transfers to your computer's hard disk for record-keeping purposes. Cookies can make the Web more useful by storing information about your preferences on a particular site or to avoid "endless loop" navigation in the case of some complex sites. The use of cookies is an industry standard (albeit one that is frequently misused), and many major Web sites use them to provide useful features for their customers. Cookies in and of themselves do not personally identify users, although they do identify a user's computer. Most browsers are initially set to accept cookies. If you'd prefer, you can set yours to refuse cookies. However, you may not be able to take full advantage of a Web site if you do so. Manifold web engineers do not like cookies for philosophical reasons but there is no technical alternative in some cases. Manifold only uses cookies when the semi-automated site design software used for sites such as the Online Store requires it to achieve functionality. Manifold does not use cookies in any way to attempt to infer your identity or to otherwise tag you.

How is Personal Information Used?

Manifold sites and their necessary service partners (such as credit card processing institutions) use your Personal Information to operate the site and to deliver their services. For example, if you use the Online Store to purchase a product, your credit card information will be used by a credit card processing institution to clear the transaction with your issuing bank. Manifold sites also use your Personal Information to inform you of other products or services available from Manifold and its immediate affiliates. Manifold does not sell or rent or trade any Personal Information to any third party.

Does Manifold sell my Personal Information to Others?

No, Manifold does not sell, rent or trade customer lists. Manifold does not release Personal Information at all. This is a much higher standard of privacy than applied by most banks in the United States. US banks will frequently sell demographic and personal financial information on the actions and habits of their clients. In contrast, Manifold will never release information.

Do other companies partner with Manifold sites?

A Manifold site may have several necessary service partners who assist in providing the service or product associated with the site. As part of the operations of the site, these companies may have access to your Personal Information. These companies may provide routine services, such as credit card processing, or may provide essential elements of the site. These uses of Personal Information are primary to the operation of the site and are not considered Secondary Uses. It may be that from time to time Manifold arranges special discounts for customers for products or services from other companies; however, this will be accomplished in a way that your Personal Information is not disclosed to the other company. For example, Manifold might provide a special discount code to you and then you could use this code if you decided to contact the other company. But Manifold will not share your personal information with the other company.

What about Privacy for Children?

Manifold does not operate any sites designed for children. Because Manifold requires payment by wire transfer or credit cards, it is not likely that a child could place an unauthorized order unless the adult guardian of the credit card has either authorized a purchase or has been negligent in keeping their credit cards secure from their child. Manifold will not knowingly process an order generated by a child (or any other person) who might not have authorization to use their parent's credit card number. However, considering the serious technical nature of Manifold products and the importance of assisting gifted children in mathematics and other uses of Manifold, Manifold thinks it is a good idea to encourage gifted children and their parents without collecting Personal Information from the gifted child.

Does Manifold collect other information?

In addition to the use of Personal Information to operate Manifold sites, a Manifold site may also gather anonymous information, which may then be used by Manifold. This is information which does not personally identify you, but which may be helpful for marketing purposes or for improving the services offered. For example, Manifold may analyze web access logs to see which parts of a site are more popular than others, or to infer which regions of the world are using Manifold sites at different times of the day. Generally this information is collected through traffic data and statistical analysis of web server logs kept by standard web servers such as Microsoft IIS or Apache. This restriction does not apply to any accesses outside published sites and their components. This Privacy Statement does not apply to unauthorized accesses or to utilization of Manifold sites outside their terms of use.

How do I Edit Personal Information?

Some Manifold sites may operate registration pages that allow you to review and update the Personal Information you have submitted. Elsewhere, you may simply be given the option of unsubscribing to the service for which you signed up. In all other cases where you need to correct Personal Information you have submitted to a Manifold site, please contact the service address published by the particular Manifold site. Keep in mind that a side effect of strict Manifold privacy principles is that there may be no Personal Information to edit or to update.

Is my Personal Information Secure?

Yes. Manifold's first line of defence against theft of Personal Information is to not collect or keep sensitive information. For example, when placing an order your credit card information goes directly to the processing pipeline without going through Manifold. Manifold never sees your credit card info and thus never has any such information in storage. What Manifold does not have cannot be stolen. Any Personal Information you may give Manifold is kept on physically separate networks that are not connected to development or other internal networks. Manifold's focus on personal security and privacy may at times prevent us from making it easy to update Personal Information via publicly-accessible web sites.

How might someone else learn my Personal Information?

Only if you give it to them, accidentally or on purpose. For example, Manifold does not send out emails from Nigerian servers with links on them for you to click. If you get such "phishing" email, do not fall for it. Manifold communicates using plain text email with no links in the email. Be careful to not provide Personal Information through chat sessions, e-mail exchanges or forum use made available to you by Manifold sites. The Statement of Privacy does not cover this type of voluntary transfer of your Personal Information, nor does it cover extreme cluelessness like thinking that "12345" is a fine, highly secure password for a forum login. You should always be careful when distributing your Personal Information in this manner. If you are visiting Manifold sites from a public computer, such as one made available for public use at a library, make sure to clear all browsing data when you are done. Do not leave the computer with any Personal Information remaining visible on screen.


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