Updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Statement

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We regularly update our policies to reflect the evolution of our products, changing legal requirements, and user feedback. In this update, we’ve made some changes to our Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, and other site policies. We’ve also made some updates to the process for updating our site policies.

We welcome your feedback in our site-policy repository, where we’ve open sourced the policies that govern the use of GitHub.com. We periodically open pull requests in our site-policy repository to develop and make updates collaboratively with our community.

These updates will become effective on November 16, after a 30-day notice and comment period.

Updates to our site policies

We’ve proposed updates to our Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, Corporate Terms of Service, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Enterprise Service Level Agreement, Acceptable Use Policies, and Community Guidelines to make clarifications to our terms, harmonize language across policies, and reflect new products and features.

These site policy updates include:

  • Clarifications and alignment of the language across our Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, Corporate Terms of Service, and Enterprise Subscription Agreement regarding 
    • notice of changes
    • access to private content
  • Clarification that providing our Service includes use to improve the Service, and that third-party contractors may use content in connection with our Archive Program
  • Clarification, for greater license certainty, that the inbound=outbound license model applies to issues and comments submitted to a repository when changes are made in response to or including those issues and comments
  • Clarifications and additions to our Acceptable Use Policies and Community Guidelines related to disrupting other users’ experience on our platform
  • Clarification that section on information usage encompasses both scraping and the use of information obtained through our API
  • Updates to our service levels to better meet expectations on service reliability
  • Updates to our terms to account for scanning for child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery, as well as terrorist or violent extremist content
  • Updates to account for third-party terms that may apply for mobile app users

Updates to our process

We create and maintain our site policies as an open source project, and we continually review and modify the policies in this repository. Our review and modification process allows for discussion about upcoming changes before they go into effect and lets our community rely on our policies.

Until now, we had been grouping updates together in a semiannual review period with a 30-day comment period for changes, unless they were typos or related to a product ship. We did this to give our community time to provide feedback. Over time, we found that we tend to get feedback soon after we post the changes, and keeping the comment period open unnecessarily delayed shipping useful clarifications and updates to our users.

Going forward, in most cases, when we open a pull request to propose an update, we’ll leave it open for 24 hours before the changes go into effect. For material changes to our Privacy StatementTerms of ServiceAcceptable Use PoliciesCorporate Terms of Service, and Enterprise Subscription Agreement, we’ll post the updates 30 days before they go into effect, as stated in those documents.

Comments on and review of our pull requests are welcome, just like in any open source project.

Why we maintain our policies as an open source project

We update our policies in this way for a few main reasons:

  • To make it easy for users to review and understand changes by tracking and displaying the updates as diffs of the changed files
  • To make it easy for users to collaborate, engage with, and fork (reuse and adapt) our site policies by developing our policies in public repositories, where users can work with us on our site policies similar to how we work together on open source projects
  • To take a democratic approach to policy development by incorporating public notice-and-comment into our site policy project
  • To help familiarize policymakers and the public with open source by sharing a project that doesn’t require a technical background to understand

How you can get involved

We welcome input on the policies (in our site-policy repository) at any time. We’re open to your feedback to make our site policies the best versions they can be.

The comment period starts today and ends on November 16, at 5 pm PT. We’ll review any comments we receive and carefully consider making further improvements before merging any new changes. Updates will go into effect on November 16.

You can also repurpose our project for your team if you’re shaping policies for an organization. Since our policies in the site-policy repository are all licensed CC0, you’re welcome to fork a copy to adapt for your own use. If our project helped you create policy foundations for your organization, we’d love to hear about it as well.

Get involved here

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