Last Revised: June. 2016
INFORMATION COLLECTION & USE
Our primary goals in collecting, using and processing information via the Platform are to provide Consultants and Clients with access to and use of our Platform, to improve and further develop our Platform and to enable Users to enjoy and easily navigate the Site.
Personally Identifiable Information
In the course of using the Platform (whether as a Consultant or Client), we may ask you to provide us with, grant us access to and/or request permission to obtain certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to, your name, company name, email address, phone number, work experience, skills, capabilities, portfolio and education (”Personal Information“).
If you use the Platform to make or receive payments, we will also collect certain Personal Information such as credit card information, PayPal or other financial account information, and billing address.
We may collect additional Personal Information to validate your identity, such as your date of birth, place of birth and/or taxpayer identification number. We may request documents to verify this information, such as a copy of your government-issued identification or photo, and we may authenticate it against third- party databases or request a credit report.
You may register or input data onto our Platform directly via the Site or by logging into your account with certain third-party social networking services (including, but not limited to LinkedIn) (“SNS”) via our Site. If you choose to input data via an SNS, we will use the Personal Information you have provided to the SNS (such as your name, email address, gender, work experience/history and other information you make publicly available via the SNS) to modify and update your account. The information we extract may depend on the privacy settings you have with the SNS. Other than what we may share with the SNS as described below, the Personal Information an SNS has about you is obtained by the SNS independent of our Platform, and Bench SME is not responsible for its accuracy, legality or non-infringement.
You may link your Bench SME account to your SNS account, in which case the SNS may share certain information about you with other SNS users, as well as share certain information about other SNS users with you. You represent that you are authorized to use your SNS account for the purposes described herein without breach by you of any of the terms and conditions that govern the SNS, and without obligating Bench SME to pay any fees or making Bench SME subject to any usage limitations imposed by such SNS.
We also collect other information that you provide in connection with your use of the Platform (e.g., zip code (on its own) and individual preferences) (“Non-Identifying Information”). We collect additional Non-Identifying Information from Clients in the form of information related to jobs posted via the Platform (e.g., budget, location, history of job listings, timing of job performance and feedback/rating information). We also collect additional Non-Identifying Information from Consultants in connection with his/her profiles (e.g., information on work history, skills, certifications, hourly pay rates and feedback/rating information).
We use your Personal Information (in some cases, in conjunction with your Non-Identifying Information) mainly to support the Platform with accurate and updated information, complete your transactions and administer your inquiries.
Certain Non-Identifying Information is considered a part of your Personal Information if it were combined with other identifiers (for example, combining your zip code with your street address) in a way that enables you to be identified. But the same pieces of information are considered Non-Identifying Information when they are taken alone or combined only with other non-identifying information (for example, your viewing preferences). We may combine your Personal Information with Non-Identifying Information and aggregate it with information collected from other Bench SME Users to attempt to provide you with a better experience, to improve the quality and value of the Platform, and to analyze and understand how our Site and Platform are used, and to generate general industry analysis. We may also use the combined information without aggregating it to serve you specifically, for instance to deliver a product to you according to your preferences or restrictions.
When you register for the Platform, you will be opting-in to receive Bench SME emails, newsletters, marketing and/or promotional materials. We will also use your Personal Information to send this content to you. If you decide at any time that you no longer wish to receive such communications from us, you can opt-out or customize the type of messages you receive from Bench SME by emailing us at email@example.com. Please note that any such opt-out applies solely to marketing related emails. Bench SME will still need to communicate with you via email with regarding non-marketing related matters regarding the Platform and you acknowledge and agree that Bench SME has the right to do so.
Use of Personal Information
Bench SME uses Personal Information for the following general purposes:
- To provide our products and the Platform;
- For billing, identification authentication and fraud prevention;
- To analyze Site usage and improve our products and the Platform;
- To contact you to deliver administrative notices and communications relevant to your use our products and services;
- For internal market research, troubleshooting problems and detecting/protecting against error, fraud or other criminal activity;
- For distribution to third-party contractors that provide services to Bench SME, and partners of Bench SME, who are bound by confidentiality obligations with respect to any Personal Information that we share with them;
- To enforce our Terms and Condition;, and
We may employ third-party companies and individuals to facilitate our Platform, to provide the services of the Platform on our behalf, to perform Site-related services (e.g., without limitation, maintenance services, database management, web analytics, payment processing, fraud detection and improvement of the Siteʼs features) or to assist us in analyzing how our Site and Platform are used. These third-parties have access to your Personal Information only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose. Although we ensure that our the third-parties receiving your information are bound by confidentiality obligations. Bench SME is not responsible for and shall not be liable for any issues that may arise regarding the Privacy Policies of any of its agents, affiliates, advertiser and/or any other third- parties.
- When you submit information to Bench SME, it is collected, processed and maintained solely by us.
- We may share or otherwise use aggregated information that does not include Personal Information and we may otherwise disclose Non-Identifying Information and Log Data (defined below) with third-parties for industry analysis, demographic profiling, marketing and other purposes. Any aggregated information shared in these contexts will not contain your Personal Information.
- Bench SME reserves the right to disclose Personal Information from both private and public areas of this website at our discretion, if required by law or if we are given reason to believe, in our sole discretion, that such disclosure is necessary in order to (1) prevent harm to our Platform or our Users, (2) to protect the rights of our Users, the general public and/or Bench SME and/or (3) to comply with a judicial proceeding, court order or legal process.
Consultant-Client Communication and Deliverables
As part of the Platform, we may collect information and communication transferred between Consultant and Client, including without limitation the Deliverables. Such data may include information input, sent or delivered by the Consultant or Client such as a memo, project details and timeline and responses to queries. Bench SME may use this information for statistical analysis, product development, marketing and research. Except as noted above, we do not treat information contained in these communications as Personal Information, but we may use such information in association with Personal Information, and we may aggregate, analyze and evaluate such information for the same purposes as stated above regarding other Non-Identifying Information.
When you visit the Site, whether as a registered or non-registered User, our servers automatically record information that your browser traditionally sends whenever you visit a website (“Log Data”). This Log Data may include information such as your computerʼs Internet Protocol (‘IP”) address, browser type, browser software version or the webpage you were visiting before you came to our Site, pages of our Site that you visit, the time spent on those pages, information you search for on our Site, access times and dates, and other statistics. In addition, we may use third-party services such as Google Analytics that collect, monitor and analyze this type of information in order to increase our Siteʼs functionality and user-friendliness, to better tailor the Platform to consumer needs and to detect suspicious activity. These third-party service providers have their own privacy policies addressing how they use such information. We do not treat Log Data as Personal Information, but we may use it in association with Personal Information, and we may aggregate, analyze and evaluate such Log Data for the same purposes as stated above regarding other Non-Identifying Information.
Identity theft and the practice known as ”phishing” are a grave concern to Bench SME. Safeguarding information to help protect you from identity theft is a top priority. We do not and will not, at any time, request your credit card information, your account ID, your login password or national identification numbers in a non-secure, unsolicited e-mail or telephone communication. For more information about phishing, visit the Federal Trade Commissionʼs website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishin....
If you choose to use the Platform as a Consultant, you will create a profile, which will be publicly viewable via the Platform. Such profile information may include, but not be limited to, a profile picture, first name or unique user identification number, location, information regarding work history, projects performed via the Platform, skills, capabilities, portfolio, education, certifications, hourly pay rates and feedback/rating information. You may edit your Contractor profile via your account. If you are matched as a Consultant to a project created by a Client via the Platform, we will share with the applicable Client information in your Consultant profile.
If you choose to create a project on the Platform as a Client, the contents of the Project will be viewable via the Platform. Project listings may include information such as budget, location, history of the job listing, timing of job performance and Client feedback/rating information.
We collect feedback from Users regarding performance other Users of the Platform, including but not limited to hard skills utilized on project, leadership, dependability, team orientation, project vision/strategy, communication/feedback and tasks/responsibilities were outline. Please note that any User feedback provided via the Platform will be publicly viewable on the Platform.
Compliance with Laws and Law Enforcement
Bench SME cooperates with government officials, law enforcement and private parties to enforce and comply with state and federal law. We will disclose any information about you to the government, law enforcement or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate to respond to claims and legal process (including but not limited to subpoenas) to (1) protect the property and rights of Bench SME or a third-party, (2) to protect the safety of the public or any individual person or (3) to prevent or stop activity we may consider to be, or to pose a risk of being, illegal, unethical or legally actionable.
Changing or Deleting Your Information
Users may review, update, correct or delete the Personal Information in their registered profile by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If all such information is deleted, your account may become inactive or not visible. We will use all commercially reasonable efforts to honor your request. However, Personal Information may remain in the Platform archives. We may retain an archived copy of all records as required by law or for legitimate business purposes. Please note, copies of information that has been previously shared cannot be deleted.
Securing and safeguarding User Personal Information is a high priority at Bench SME. However, no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100% guaranteed. Bench SME is a secure socket layer (“SSL”) certificate owner. When you enter sensitive information on our Platform (such as login information or engage in a data transfer) we encrypt the information using SSL. However, when you use the Platform to share Deliverables and Personal Information, those Deliverables and Personal Information will be made available to the Users with whom you agree to share such information. These Users, not Bench SME, will be responsible for the privacy and security of your Deliverables and Personal Information in accordance with the terms of any arrangement, including, without limitation, any non-disclosure agreement entered into with these other Users.
Links to Other Sites
The Bench SME site contains links to other websites. If you choose to click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third-partyʼs website. The fact that we link to a website is not an endorsement, authorization or representation of our affiliation with that third-party, nor is it an endorsement of their privacy or information security policies or practices. We do not exercise control over third-party websites. These other websites may place their own Cookies or other files on your computer, collect data or solicit Personal Information from you. Other websites follow different rules regarding the use or disclosure of the Personal Information you submit to them. We encourage you to read the privacy policies or statements of the other websites you visit.
This Site is not directed to persons under 18. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with Personal Information without their consent, he or she should contact us at info@lyghtning. If we become aware that a child under 18 has provided us with Personal Information, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to delete such information from our files.