The Mosquito Alert project (hereinafter, “the Project”, in any of the names that has had in the past or may acquire in the future) takes, amongst other things, data and images shared by volunteers and it makes this data available to third parties and the public. In order to protect the privacy of its volunteers, the Project aims to avoid collecting information from which any individual may be personally identified. Therefore, when sending data or pictures, participants are asked not to include names, addresses, passwords, or any other personal information. The Project collects the precise locations of volunteers’ observations when they submit reports, and these may be the volunteers’ actual locations at the time of sending the reports, but it links this information only to the report and to a randomly-generated user ID. It also collects rough locations of volunteers at random times (in order to assess the areas that its volunteers are monitoring mosquitoes), but these locations are again linked only to randomly-generated user IDs. Volunteers may include notes and photographs in the reports they submit, but it is their responsibility not to include in these notes and photographs any information that they wish to keep private or any information that violates the privacy rights of others or is inconsistent with the Project terms of use.

The Project has mechanisms to prevent personal data that users may send by mistake, despite anonymization measures, from being shared with the general public. However, if in a particular case these measures block the publication of personal data, we encourage those who detect it to notify the Project members so that they can remove this data from the public space, if possible. The Project cannot guarantee the removal of personal data that may be collected by the Project despite measures of anonymization, nor can it guarantee that such data is not visible to members of the Project or any of its employees or third parties with access to project data.

It is noted that in the case of observations (reports) shared by users in any public space, such as social networks, volunteers would be relating their observations with their personal data (e.g. personal account on social networks), voluntarily waiving their anonymity.

The full list of information collected is as follows:

  • All of the reports volunteers collect and submit on breeding sites, adult mosquito sightings, and missions. This includes the precise location of the observations submitted by volunteers and any photographs, notes or other information that the volunteer attaches to the report.
  • Rough information about volunteer locations at other times, sampled at random time intervals. This information is collected for scientific purposes in order to build a map of the geographic areas that volunteers are monitoring for mosquitoes (sampling effort, that is, in which areas there is participation or not and to what extent, to be able to relate this to the number of observations in the same area), and to learn more about the routes along which mosquitoes may be spreading and that are related to human mobility (to better understand the relationship between large scale human movement and mosquitoes dispersal). This information is of great scientific interest. In order to make it impossible to determine precise location information from this data, the latitudes and longitudes are rounded down to the nearest 0.05 degrees before the location is transmitted from the volunteer’s device. This makes it impossible to determine where the actual location was within a 0.05 degree latitude by 0.05 degree longitude area (~20 Km2, the size of a small city like Blanes). In any case, although this option is enabled by default, volunteers may deactivate it at any time.
  • Information about the phone model, battery power, language settings, and app installation (i.e. which version of the app is installed and which operating system and operating system version it is installed on). This information is used to help the research team improve the application.