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Last Updated: October 20, 2020 5:41 PM EST
At Crisis Text Line (“CTL”, “we”, or “us”), our goal is to help people in crisis. We are here to help you move from a “hot moment” to a “cool calm,” and we try to equip you with tools to move yourself from “hot” to “cool” if you face a crisis in the future.
These Terms govern your access and use of the Services, describe what information we collect through the Services, and explain how we use, transfer, and store your information after we collect it. These terms will inform you if and to whom we disclose any of that information, and what choices you have in how we use that information. We hope that knowing how and why we use data will help you make an informed choice about using the Services. If you don’t agree to these Terms, you may not use the Services.
You may contact CTL by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about these Terms. (Emails will be addressed by our customer service team. If you are in crisis and want help from one of our trained volunteer crisis counselors (“Crisis Counselors”), please text us — we do not provide crisis counseling support via email.) You can find a list of other crisis lines, hotlines, and other support resources at CrisisTextLine.org/referrals. If you no longer wish to receive messages from CTL, you may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP. You may opt back in by texting the Services again.
CONSENT; CHANGES TO TERMS
We care about you and we want to be thoughtful about the Terms and how CTL works. So, these terms may be changed from time to time. Any changes will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at crisistextline.org. (So the version you’re reading right now is the version in effect). Continuing to use the Services after we’ve changed the Terms will mean that you accept the revised Terms.
Each time that you start a conversation with CTL, you’ll receive an automated reply text message with a link to our current Terms so you may review them before continuing to use the Services. Using the Services after receiving those text messages will mean that you accept the Terms then in effect.
NATURE OF THE SERVICES
Our Services are intended to empower you to stay safe and healthy during a crisis. However, please remember that your use of and participation in our Services does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship, a doctor-patient relationship, a therapist-client relationship, a therapist-patient relationship, or any other sort of confidential relationship. CTL is not a substitute for professional health care, mental health treatment, psychiatric care, or therapy of any kind. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, you should immediately call your doctor or 911. And, if you are experiencing a clinical or long-term issue, you should consult a medical professional. You are in charge of you — we can ask questions and nudge you in a healthy direction, but only you control your own actions, reactions, and words.
Additionally, to protect the privacy and safety of our staff and Crisis Counselors, you agree to not communicate with our Crisis Counselors outside of the Services. If you have questions, comments or feedback for us, please email email@example.com. (Note: We do not offer counseling via email. If you need support to help deal with a personal crisis, please text HOME to 741741 to reach one of our trained Crisis Counselors.)
RISKS, USE OF SERVICES
You assume all risk for use of the Services. Neither CTL nor any of our employees, Crisis Counselors, agents, service providers, or any other entities with whom CTL has contracted shall have any liability for or in connection with (1) actions taken or not taken by you or a third party, during, after, or as a result of your use of the Services, or (2) the unavailability of the Services. You agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless for damages arising out of (A) your use of the Services, (B) your breach of these Terms, (C) your violation of the law, (D) claims asserted by third parties that you are in breach of these Terms or (E) information provided by you to CTL. Additionally, in no event will CTL be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, exemplary, or indirect damages.
The Services are provided on an “as is” basis and “as available” basis. We do the best we can and are constantly improving, but can’t make any guarantees. CTL and its service providers expressly disclaim all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Without limiting the above, CTL and its service providers make no warranty that CTL will (A) meet your requirements; (B) be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; or (C) meet your expectations. The foregoing disclaimers of liability apply to all damages or injury, including those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or delay in operation or transmission, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, including negligence, or any other cause of action.
PROHIBITED USES; RIGHT TO TERMINATE ACCESS
You agree to use our Services only for lawful and legitimate purposes and in accordance with these Terms. You agree not to use the Services:
- in any way that violates any applicable federal, state, local, or international law or regulation;
- for the purpose of exploiting, harming, or attempting to exploit or harm minors in any way;
- to threaten, harass, or otherwise inappropriately abuse CTL, its employees, partners, agents, contractors, volunteers, or others;
- to send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use, or re-use any content which does not comply with these Terms;
- to “spam,” gather or attempt to gather personal information belonging to users or others for the purposes of spamming, marketing, selling to third parties, or otherwise abusing CTL, our Services, or our users;
- to impersonate or attempt to impersonate another person or entity;
- to engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone’s use or enjoyment of the Services, or which, as determined by us, may harm CTL or users of the Services, or expose them to liability;
- to copy, adapt, decompile, reverse engineer, attempt to discover the source code of or make derivative works of the Services or any portion of the Services; or
- to otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of CTL or the Services.
CTL reserves the right to terminate your access to the Services if you violate these Terms, including doing anything on the list above.
CTL may unilaterally terminate your access to the Services. We also may adjust your access if we determine that you’d be better served by a different kind of support.
CTL further reserves the right to terminate the Services or your access to them for any other reason, at our sole discretion.
THIRD PARTY SERVICES
You may contact us through a third-party website, application or service (“Third Party Service”), including, for example, Facebook Messenger. If you contact us through a Third Party Service (A) both CTL and the third party that runs the Third Party Service may have access to the content of the messages you share and (B) your information may be shared between us and that third party. For example, we and the third party may exchange your location information to contact local law enforcement or emergency services in an emergency. Moreover, these Terms only apply to you and CTL. We are not responsible for, and make no representations regarding, the policies or practices of any Third Party Service. If you contact us through a Third Party Service, you are subject to these Terms as well as the terms and policies of the Third Party Service. We encourage you to review the terms and policies of any Third Party Service you use to contact CTL. If you do not wish to be subject to a Third Party Service’s terms or policies, please do not contact CTL or our Services through a Third Party Service; instead, you may contact CTL by texting us at 741741 from anywhere in the US.
COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
“Personally Identifiable Information” is data that can be used to uniquely identify you, like your full name or home address. During your use of CTL you may be asked (but never required) to voluntarily provide Personally Identifiable Information, including but not limited to your name or home address. We will only ask for this if we believe it would help us to better serve you.
CTL uses the information it collects about you to, among other things, operate and improve the Services, contact and respond to you, fulfill your requests (including but not limited to referrals to other services) and as detailed more fully below. We may also use automated processes to help us determine how best to prioritize and/or address your crisis. (We use technology to help those in most immediate need first.)
PURPOSES FOR PROCESSING DATA
Our lawful purposes for processing your data include consent (where you have given consent), contract (where processing is necessary to deliver the Services as you requested by texting us), protecting your vital interests, performing tasks carried out in the public interest, and the legitimate interests of CTL (namely, to help texters like you stay safe and healthy in a crisis). In short, we collect information so we can provide you and others like you with better Services, helping move more people in crisis from “hot” to “cool.”
Where we rely on your consent to process personal data, you have the right to withdraw or decline your consent at any time by texting LOOFAH, as described below. Where we rely on legitimate interests, you have the right to object. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reach our customer support team. (Note: We do not provide counseling services via email. If you are in crisis and looking for help from one of our trained Crisis Counselors, please text us at 741741 from anywhere in the U.S.)
WHAT PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION WE COLLECT
When you choose to message us to use our Services, we may automatically receive and collect (i) the phone number you text us from and (ii) your mobile service provider.
Other than that, the only Personally Identifiable Information that we collect from you through the Services is the stuff you voluntarily provide to us. Some of the types of Personally Identifiable Information that we may request that you disclose to us may include your name, age, address, and zip code, particularly if necessary to help a person at imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm, or to make a mandatory report concerning suspected child abuse or neglect.
Additionally, if you choose to take a survey on our website or via a link sent to you following your conversation through our Services, we may ask you about your experience in that conversation. You can totally choose to keep your responses anonymous. It’s your call.
CTL keeps a record of each donor’s giving history for IRS purposes, to analyze giving patterns, make budget projections, and solicit future donations. We do not share our donor file with any other party or organization.
HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
We operate the Services in conjunction with our Crisis Counselors. Any information, including Personally Identifiable Information, that you share with the Services may be viewed by CTL staff or Crisis Counselors for quality control, to contact emergency services, or to better assist you with your crisis. We may use and share the Personally Identifiable Information that we collect via the Services amongst our employees, Crisis Counselors, agents, contractors, and service providers in order to help us operate, analyze, research, develop, deliver, audit, maintain, and improve our products, content, advertising, communications, and the Services. If you provide feedback (such as through an anonymous survey or audio recording), that feedback may also be shared with CTL staff and Crisis Counselors. We may also ask for your consent to share your feedback — with your name edited out, of course! — with the public (for example, to potential Crisis Counselors), because your message may give counselors the energy to keep supporting people in crisis and inspire others to join or support CTL. We want to provide awesome Services, so we are hungry to learn from your feedback!
DISCLOSURES TO THIRD PARTIES
We care about your safety. It’s our goal to support you in staying safe and healthy and to do so in the least invasive way possible (read: we don’t want to intrude in your life). You being alive is what matters most to us. In rare cases, this means we might contact law enforcement, state authorities, or emergency services if your messages indicate that you are at imminent risk of death or serious injury (e.g., if you have suicidal desire, a plan, access to means, and an imminent timeline), or if we reasonably believe that disclosure is necessary to prevent a person’s death or serious injury. At that point, we might ask you for some personally identifiable information (such as where you are or what your name is). We understand that this can be disruptive, and it won’t happen unless we think it’s necessary. (Read: just saying “I’m feeling suicidal” does not necessarily mean we’ll try to send someone.) We’ll try to work with you to come up with a safety plan before calling emergency services, if doing so would not increase the imminent risk. We’re not here to tell on you — we’re here to do our best to support you and others in staying healthy and safe. We may attempt to locate you, but it may not always be possible.
If the content of your messages leads us to reasonably suspect that you are a victim of emotional/physical abuse or neglect and are 17 years old or younger or a vulnerable dependent adult, we may ask you for certain Personally Identifiable Information (such as your date of birth, name, and address) to help us file any required report with an appropriate state authority. You are of course not required to share this information with us.
Additionally, we may disclose Personally Identifiable Information we collect from you to third parties if we believe such disclosure is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of CTL, its affiliates, employees, agents, or volunteers, including but not limited to Crisis Counselors and staff; (C) to enforce our Terms; (D) in connection with a sale, merger, or change of control of CTL or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Services or its infrastructure systems properly.
Note that CTL’s staff and Crisis Counselors are located across the United States, and may not be licensed in your state or trained in your state’s law. Other state laws may apply to your communications, and those state laws may not protect your communications to the same degree, or in the same way, as the laws of your state.
NON-PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
When you text with us, in addition to collecting personally-identifiable data described above, we also collect certain kinds of anonymous non-identifiable data such as the date and time of day you texted in. We may anonymize personal data that we collect from you so that it anonymize personal data that we collect from you so that it cannot be used to identify you or to contact you, by redacting — or “scrubbing” — personally-identifiable details from it, such as name, age, or address that you provide. We may use and share anonymous and anonymized data with third parties for any reason, including but not limited to improving our Services, generating support for CTL, or as required by law.
To see how we use learnings and techniques to put more empathy in the world, read about our Data Philosophy.
We have a formal process for sharing certain anonymized data with researchers at universities and other institutions. We share such anonymized data with trusted researchers in order to develop insights that enable us to provide better service and support to our texters and other people in crisis. For more details, read about our Open Data Collaborations.
CTL is a shareholder in Loris.ai (“Loris”). The relationship between the two companies is governed by contracts negotiated by independent legal counsel on each side. Loris, like our research partners, only has access to anonymous and anonymized data that has been scrubbed of personally-identifiable information.
Loris does not share CTL data with other businesses. Instead, Loris looks at data to understand strategies that our volunteers have successfully used to help move people out of crisis, and to see if they can be applied to products helping customer service agents for a variety of businesses to provide kinder and more empathetic support to de-escalate customer disputes. For more information on Loris, please visit their website.
We may collect and analyze non-personally identifiable information through third-party applications and services, such as Google Analytics, regarding how people use our Services, which may include our website users’ operating system, Internet browser, mobile device, screen resolution, or general usage information such as the number and frequency of our website’s visitors, or which links were clicked. This information helps us improve our website and Services. (For information on Google Analytics, please visit http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/.)
Sometimes, we may refer you to another hotline or program. There are some really great programs out there! We will give you their contact info, but we will not give them your contact info. So, it’s up to you if you want to use the referral. If you would like to receive support from other services, please note that different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information. We don’t control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your Personally Identifiable Information to others.
RETENTION OF INFORMATION
CTL retains data for the purposes described above. We retain Personally Identifiable Information for seven years, and then scrub it to render it anonymous, so it can no longer be used to identify you personally. We retain non personally identifiable data — including the data we scrub — indefinitely, so that we may continue to use it to improve our Services.
HOW WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
CTL cares about you and the security of your Personally Identifiable Information. We take reasonable security precautions, including encryption, administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. We store all information on servers and we only permit approved CTL employees and third parties to access those servers pursuant to the practices described above. However, perfect security does not exist anywhere, including for text messaging/SMS data. Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that your Personally Identifiable Information or communications with CTL will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy, and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures to prevent unauthorized access or interception by third parties.
YOU SHOULD ALSO PROTECT YOURSELF
Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personally Identifiable Information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, what others not affiliated with CTL do with information you provide to them. You may also choose to delete CTL conversations from your phone, clear us from your browser history, and not save our number in your contact list to help further protect the confidentiality of your communications with us.
ACCESS/CHANGES TO PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
You may request access to or changes to Personally Identifiable Information of yours which we have stored by emailing email@example.com. You will be asked to verify your identity in order for us to grant you access to or process changes to your Personally Identifiable Information.
You may request that we delete your Personally Identifiable Information, such as last name, physical address, zip code, phone number, and texts/message transcripts by texting the word LOOFAH to 741741 (within the U.S.), after which you will be prompted to confirm your request. We will make reasonable efforts to process requests promptly, but may decline to process requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require unreasonable technical effort, jeopardize the privacy of you or others, are otherwise impractical, or which would conflict with a law enforcement matter. Additionally, we will decline to process requests if we believe preservation of your Personally Identifiable Information is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal obligations; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of CTL, its employees, agents, or volunteers, including but not limited to Crisis Counselors; (C) to enforce our Terms; (D) in connection with a sale, merger, or change of control of CTL or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Services or their infrastructure systems properly.
CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS OLD
As a not-for-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, CTL is exempt from compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. However, we take children’s privacy seriously, and encourage users and their parents to review our Terms to understand our information collection practices.
GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS
These Terms and the provision of the Services are governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of New York without giving effect to New York’s conflicts of law rules. CTL and you both consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the county of New York for any and all disputes arising out of or concerning these Terms. (We <3 New York.) The Services are primarily operated in the United States. If you are located outside of the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using the Services and/or providing us with your information, you consent to the collection and transfer of your information in or out of the United States as described in this policy.
SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT
If a court finds any provision of these Terms to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent possible and the remaining Terms shall remain in full force and effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and CTL, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings. (Basically, the stuff you’re reading now is what you and CTL agree to, and even if we later fight about some words, the rest of the words still stick around.)
Crisis Text Line seeks to support people in crisis, and is not a substitute for professional health care, mental health treatment, psychiatric care, or therapy of any kind. All information presented in this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. CTL disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied.
If you are in crisis and want to reach one of our trained Crisis Counselors, please text us at 741741 from anywhere in the U.S.
If you have any questions or concerns about our Terms or the privacy and security practices described here, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail a request to us at Crisis Text Line, PO Box 1144, New York, NY 10159.
For media inquiries, please email email@example.com.