Privacy in the digital age: How Relay respects your data

Victoria S.
May 14, 2018
We built Relay for families. As parents ourselves, we understand wanting to keep your family’s information secure and private, especially in the internet age of targeted ads, location tracking, and social media. I know reading over long, complicated privacy policies can be a daunting prospect. However, our policies are full of valuable information that’s entirely worth knowing. On top of that, they’re a pretty easy read and aren’t trying to trick you with legal-ese. We promise. As a preview of what you’ll find there, this is the run-down on our privacy policy, the things we do, and the things we won’t do.

Protecting kids and putting parents in control.

We all want to protect our children, and we took several measures to make sure that your kids’ data stays private and safe. We created Relay to be COPPA-compliant with that in mind. That means that we are in-line with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which provides privacy regulation for kids under 13 years old. We are dedicated to protecting your children’s privacy and keeping you, the parent, informed and in charge. If you’d like to learn more about COPPA, you can read about it on the Federal Trade Commission website. Relay is an evolving product; we will be releasing new features and channels. We are adopting an opt-in approach for these new channels—the account owner has the power to enable and disable specific channels for specific Relay devices through the Relay app. So if a channel is right for your older child but maybe not for your younger child, you can add the channel to one and not the other. To help parents make decisions about these channels, we will always provide privacy information for each new feature to help parents make informed choices about what is right for their families. We do everything we can to make sure that you are in control of all of your personal data with Relay, and there are things you can do to preserve your family’s privacy as well. It is worth keeping in mind that much of Relay’s content comes from communication between people. We don’t have control over what people say through Relay, nor who to whom they say it. With that in mind, we urge parents to help their kids practice internet safety at all times, such as avoiding disclosing personal information to anyone except a trusted adult. You can learn more about internet safety for kids in the Relay Neighborhood.

The data we see.

Of course, we have to know some information about you, the account owner, so that we can provide you with your Relay, your account, and your service. You provide this information to us; it's not something we collect on our own. We know the email address you signed up with—that’s how we communicate with you. We have to know certain billing information so that we can provide you with Relay service. Only authorized agents are allowed to see that information, and only for business purposes. We don’t keep any personal information about your kids or other users on the account without your permission—that’s off-limits. There is some information, like cell signal, WiFi connectivity, and the amount of use Relay gets, that we do collect and use. But your name, account, and all personal information is disassociated from this data; it’s completely anonymized. This anonymized data is like our progress report for Relay. It lets us know what we can do to make a better product and improve our technology and our user experience.

And the data we don't see.

We have done several things to improve data security through Relay, and that’s important for families. But we also deliberately exclude some practices so that your family can feel safer using Relay. We do not keep your messages recorded anywhere in our system—there is no record of your conversation, your voice, or your family’s voices. As well, we do not keep a record of your location history. If you enable the GPS feature on a Relay, only the last known location is saved in our system so that we can share that information with your Relay app. The current location overwrites all previous location data, and we do not share your location information with anyone but you. If GPS is turned off, no location information is stored in our system and we’ll delete what we have. This is a summary of some of our important privacy information—your family’s safety and peace of mind are important to us, and we will always be honest and transparent about what’s happening to your family's data. We highly encourage you to learn more and stay informed by reading our full privacy policy and children’s privacy policy.    

Notable Replies

  1. Is Relay planning on being GDPR compliant?

  2. This is a good question, there is a lot on the news lately about Europe’s new data and privacy regulations. We will follow all regulatory requirements that apply to us. We do not have plans to take on additional out of jurisdiction regulations unless they apply to us.

  3. Given that Republic doesn’t operate in Europe I don’t see why they would take on the cost and effort to be GDPR compliant.

  4. What happens if you take your relay to Europe and use WiFi?

    It was a reasonable question directed to Republic/Relay.

    SeanR nailed the answer

  5. That’s not the way GDPR works. It applies to organizations doing business in the covered region. A consumer can carry any item in to any region and if that was the standard every product would literally have to comply with every standard in every place, worldwide.

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