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Data and Privacy FAQs

General

We’re concerned about data privacy too! We take it extremely seriously and hold ourselves to high legal and moral standards. As pet parents and consumers ourselves, we want to treat our customers the way we would like to be treated by making sure that we act fairly, responsibly and of course, within the law.

We review our approach continually, and conduct external reviews and testing to ensure we’re operating correctly. We also have business partners, stakeholders and investors who expect and demand the highest standards (including people like Apple and Android who are very strict about what the apps in their stores can and cannot do), and part of our business is regulated by the FCA, again ensuring that we follow all applicable laws and regulations.

Our Privacy Policy contains full details of what data we may collect, why, what we do with it, who we share it with, and what your rights are. These frequently-asked questions offer a commentary on our policy, but you should refer to the policy itself for contractually-binding details, and the policy takes precedence if the guidance below contradicts it.

We’re here to help! We hope you find answers to your questions here (that’s why there’s so much to read – sorry about that). But if not, please contact us on [email protected] with details of your specific enquiry.

Collecting data

Great question! Our Privacy Policy can look very scary indeed if you read it and assume it’s telling you that we immediately collect and hold all the many types of data it mentions. But that’s not the case at all. Instead, the Privacy Policy simply lists all the POTENTIAL kinds of data we might in some circumstances collect during what we hope will be a long and productive relationship with you.

So, just as an example, where it says “information about your relationships with others”, that does NOT mean that we’re scouring your Facebook profile looking for all your friends and family! As one possible example, it simply means things like if you order from us, and then someone from the same address orders from us, we’ll know you both live at the same address. That’s your “relationship” with them in that case — that you live at the same address. Or say you tell our app to share your dog with someone else. That means your “relationship” with them is “co-owners of a particular dog”.

As another example, “information about your preferences, opinions, etc” doesn’t mean we’re secretly harvesting all that knowledge from somewhere behind your back. Instead, it covers things like us sending you a questionnaire at some future time (which we might do, because we like to listen to our customers!), which, if you CHOOSE to answer it, would then mean we have the information you’ve given us about your preferences, and so on. Or it might even be as simple as the record of orders you’ve placed with us in the past.

In this way, most of the data listed in our Privacy Policy falls into that same category of “things that might get to know in certain circumstances”, NOT “things we’re immediately going to grab if you click yes”.

In other words, our Privacy Policy is not our way of asking you to sign away all your rights to everything there is to know about you! Asking you to acknowledge it when you create an account doesn’t give us carte blanche to go ahead and “harvest” everything it mentions. Instead, it’s just us being open and honest right from the start about what we might learn as we get to know you, and making sure you know that too. We’re getting it all on the table before we begin, you might say.

Also a great question! In general, the answer is that most of the data we collect are things you explicity tell us about. So for the most part, we only know it if you tell us it!

As an example, if you tell us your dog’s weight, we’ll know that. If you tell us your phone number, we’ll know that. But if you choose not to tell us those things (or if — as last resort — you make up false answers!) we won’t know them. We don’t have any way of getting any of this sort of personal information from “behind your back” (and neither would we want to!). And as regards things like your photos, we only have access to those that you explicitly share with us. So if you put a photo of your dog on your dog’s profile, we’ll obviously have to store that. But that doesn’t mean we have access to all your holiday photos. And we never have access to your address book or anything like that either.

There are some exceptions to this rule of “you have to tell us for us to know”, including:

* Obviously our devices automatically measure things about your pet (which is why they’re useful) and we collect and store that information. This typically means your pet’s activity levels, and (under certain circumstances only — see below for more detail on that one), their location.

* Sometimes your phone will send us technical information about its version number, serial number and so on. This is automatic and can sometimes help us to debug issues that only affect certain phone models, etc. But we’re not using this information to “spy” on you.

* We do sometimes “log” that certain things have happened in our system, and that information could tell us about the way you’ve used our app. Sometimes we do this so we can monitor and improve our service (including by understanding what you’re making use of so we can talk to you in useful ways). But we’re not trying to be “sneeky”.

* Where we offer services in collaboration with business partners, they might send us RELEVENT information about you. So for example your are offered a PitPat by, say, your insurer, they need to give us your address to send it to. But you can rest assured that they THEIR privacy policies will mean they can’t generally share anything more with us than what is actually NEEDED to fulfil what you’ve been promised, and neither would we want them to.

Before you get going, we ask you tell us some things about yourself and your pet. You might ask, “Why can’t I be completely anonymous? I just want to know where my dog is.” We understand. But we ask these things for one simple reason: so that we can provide our service to you.

Because we have quite a wide range of services (including location tracking, activity monitoring, weight management, feeding guidance, insurance, and other things), there is quite a lot of information that might be relevent — depending on which services you want. But in general, you only have to give the information you WANT to give. If you don’t want to give us some particular information, you can often (not always) skip over the question (just hit NEXT at the top of the screen), or accept the default answer and move on. You can use our services and only provide the barest minimum of information if you like.

There are a few exceptions of course:

* We need your name, and your pet’s name, so that we can refer to you when we need to. Nobody likes to receive an email addressed to “Dear Mr <blank>”. And it would feel rubbish if we said (about your dog) “<blank> is 25 metres to your left”.

* We need to know the country you and your pet live in because our services are different in different countries. This is not just us being nosy. Sometimes there are legal reasons why we can’t offer certain things in certain countries, and we believe in and obey the law.

* We might ask for certain information to help us be sure about your identity if we ever need to confirm it with you (say if you call us to ask about your dog, when we need to be sure you have a right to that information – in accordance with our security protocols). This might be something like your dog’s birthday (which also helps us make recommendations about activity and feeding, but you can ignore those if you’re not interested in that).

* And of course we do need to ask you questions to establish if you give us consent to do various things (such as send you emails, or include your pet in our leaderboards). We can’t just assume your answers to those things.

So although perhaps it might seem that we’re impertinently asking you for too much information, we’re really just making sure we know the things that make our service to you work properly. And you can always skip the ones that don’t matter to you.

Absoutely not!

We have no general access to the personal information held on your phone or anywhere else (such as online, on your social media, or anywhere). And neither would we want it. We are not in the business of trying to collect large amounts of irrelevant personal or private data on our users.

Data security & privacy

Your PitPat data will be in a few different places:

* Obviously some of it will — for a short period at least — be directly on your PitPat tracker/monitor. Your pet’s most recent activity data or location fix would fall into that category.

* Some of your data will — again often just temporarily — be on your phone. This is typically because it’s being held there having just come off your tracker/monitor, or because it’s just been entered by you or is being displayed to you.

* Most of your data is held in our “cloud” service. Like most companies, we don’t operate our own cloud servers. Instead we leave it to the experts and use the services of one of the three big providers of cloud storage, in our case Microsoft’s Azure service. Microsoft’s servers are distributed in very secure data centres around the world, and your data will be held in the location that’s most appropriate (from a technical and legal perspective) for you. That could mean that your data is held in a data centre in the UK, in the EU or in the US as we deem appropriate for the situation.

Yes it will!

* If it’s on your PitPat tracker/monitor, it’s protected by our strong encryption mechanisms. That means that no-one else can snoop on what’s on your tracker, eavesdrop on its communications or serreptitiously download information from it. Your pet’s data is safe on your PitPat.

* If it’s on your phone, it’s protected by your phone’s security, and both Apple and Android provide very effective mechanisms in that regard. Obviously you are responsible for looking after your phone, using a strong passcode or biometric security, and so on, but you do all that, right? This is also why we ask you to set a strong password on our app and not share it with anyone else.

* If it’s on our cloud service, your data is protected by our cloud service provider’s robust security. Our provider — Microsoft Azure — is one of the most respected in the business, trusted with the data of many much bigger companies than ours. We also operate very robust internal protocols to make sure that only appropriate members of our staff can access the data, and only for what they need to do to provide our services. No-one is spying on your data.

Can we GUARANTEE that your data will NEVER be lost or compromised? That would be hard. But we can tell you that we’re right up there with the best when it comes to keeping your data as secure as possible.

This is a really important question to ask, and the answer is a resounding, NO.

We know that some of our users rightly worry that IF other people could serreptitiously track either their pet’s or their own location, that might compromise their safety and security. We understand that worry, but it’s emphatically not the case.

Your PitPat GPS Tracker only returns frequent precise location fixes during a “live-tracking” session, and even then, that information is protected by all the security mechanisms and protocols outlined above, which makes sure that the only people who can ever see your pet’s location are those with a proper, confirmed right to that information (that is, you, and sometimes in special circumstances such as if we’re trying to help you with a problem, us).

Your PitPat GPS Tracker may return less frequent or less accurate location information to us outside a live-tracking session so that we can, for example, show you your dog’s last-known-location. But again, that information is very strongly protected so that only those with a “need to know” can see it, and it is completely unavailable to anyone else.

Use of data by PitPat

The answer here is “it depends”. “On what?” you may ask. Our Privacy Policy contains full details, but briefly:

We ONLY share your personally-identifiable data with third-parties with whom we are collaborating to offer you a service. So for example, if we work with a partner to provide a perk to you (say, a video vet service), we might need to share your ID and other data with that partner if you ask for that perk. Conversely, if you were provided with your PitPat by one of our partners (say your insurance company, or daycare provider), we may share your data back with them as part of that arrangement. Or more mundanely, we obviously need to share your name and address with a shipper if you order a product from us.

If AND ONLY IF you’ve given us explicit permission to do so, we may share your details with others who might have offers of interest to you, but once again, only if you give us that “marketing consent”.

We may on occasions allow very carefully-chosen and trusted partners to use our anonymised database for the same purpose we do: to improve our mutual understanding of pets and their owners so as to improve the ways we can help you care for your pet.

That’s a very important question, but one that’s hard to answer precisely here because it depends on what services you’re using from us. Again, our Privacy Policy contains the details, but the general principle is that we only share your data with people who have a legitimate need for it to provide a service you’ve asked for. In most cases, you’ll know who those people are, or it’ll be obvious that we would need to share your data with them because you have a relationship with them.

Making choices & opting out

We’re sorry, but you can’t opt out of our Privacy Policy and continue (or start) to use our products and services. Our Privacy Policy is essentially our way of saying, “This is what we need your understanding on if we’re to work together”, and as such, it’s not optional. If you find that you can’t agree to something in our policy then regrettably, we can’t offer you our products and services.

To be clear, you have the absolute right to withdraw your consent to anything (and everything) you may previously have consented to. However, if you do that, we have the right to say “We’re sorry, but for practical reasons, that will mean we can’t let you use our products or provide you with our services.”

If you have previously acknowledged our Privacy Policy, but now want to change your mind, you can do so simply by deleting your account (see below). If you’ve had any products from us for 42 days or less, you can also return them for a full refund. After 42 days you can still delete your account and withdraw your consent, but you can’t get a refund.

Yes, but not directly.

Unfortunately, it’s not practical for us to provide you with very fine-grained control over who your data is and is not shared with. Businesses today operate as networks of collaborating service providers, meaning that when we have good reason to share your data with others, we simply need to do so to provide you with the service you’re asking for. This means that if you withdrew permission for us to share your data (or especially if you tried to say “Don’t share my data with anyone please.”) we wouldn’t be able to provide you with our products and services.

You do have INDIRECT control though. We can only ever share data that we have, and you have a lot of control over that by simply not answering the questions we ask or not granting your permission for various things when we ask for it. We can also only share data we have a NEED to share, so if the need is not there, we won’t share it.

Unfortunately not. As we outlined above, we do need a certain minimum amount of information about you and your pet to be able to safely and securely identify you and them when we communicate with you, to understand your context (because we serve a lot of people with a lot of different needs) and to meet our legal obligations. But we do try to keep that to a minimum, and we let you skip over questions where we can by tapping NEXT without answering or by accepting the default answer that we provide whenever that’s possible. We don’t mandate things we don’t have a real need for just because we’re being nosy or curious!

That’s an easy one! We don’t ever want to send you emails you don’t want or need. What would be the point of that, if it annoys you?

You can find the way to make your choice at the bottom of EVERY optional email we send. Just click on the appropriate link there and make your choices. Please bear in mind a few things:

* There are some emails you can’t opt out of because they’re part of our service to you. It would be silly if we couldn’t send you password reset emails, wouldn’t it? And of course, if you buy something from us, we’ll always send you an email with confirmation of order, shipping, etc.

* The best way to express your preference is to click or tap the “Change my email preferences” button. That will give you nice, detailed control over exactly what you do and do not want to hear from us about, which you can change at any time.

* If for some reason you’re REALLY fed up with us, you can hit the “unsubscribe completely” link. But be careful! That will PERMANENTLY and forever prevent us from emailing you anything but the most fundamental things, and you won’t be able easily to change your mind. Much better to use the “email preferences” and make your choices there!

Yes you can.

If you’ve created an account in our app, just tap on the MENU, navigate to manage your account and you’ll find a button to request that we delete your account and data. We’ll go through a process with you to confirm you really want us to do that (because it’s irrevocable, so we need to be sure you meant it), and then work to expunge your active data from our systems. We’ll let you know when that’s done.

If you’ve not created an account with us, but you’re concerned that we may still hold data on you (say because you subscribed to an email list, or entered a competition for example), you can contact us on [email protected] to ask us remove it.