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Privacy Policy

Earthwatch is committed to protecting your privacy

Earthwatch Institute (Earthwatch)  ABN 25 875 253 851

Our Commitment

Earthwatch gives you a chance to make a valuable contribution to worldwide scientific research, which addresses the world's most urgent environmental issues. Earthwatch provides the opportunity to bring scientists, educators and the general public together to help uncover the facts necessary to make informed conservation decisions. It's rewarding, inspirational, and invaluable for the protection of species and habitats for generations to come. Since Earthwatch was founded, around 100,000 people from the general public have joined its activities in the field worldwide, contributing roughly 10,000,000 hours of data collection and making a real impact.

Earthwatch is committed to the highest levels of customer service. This includes protecting your privacy. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ("Privacy Act") when we collect and handle your personal information. The Privacy Act defines personal information as information or an opinion about an identified individual or an individual who is reasonably identifiable (such as name, address, telephone number and email address). Special provisions apply to the collection of personal information which is sensitive information. This includes health information and information about a person's race, ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of political, professional or trade associations, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual preferences and criminal history.

In this Privacy Policy, all references to personal information include sensitive information unless indicated otherwise.

About Earthwatch

Earthwatch provides a range of expeditions around the world for participants to work safely in the field. Earthwatch maintains a relationship with you in order to provide information to the research scientist (principal investigator), our Earthwatch International offices where you are travelling overseas to an expedition, and to provide medical information for your safety.

What Personal Information Does Earthwatch Collect and Hold?

The types of personal information collected and held by Earthwatch about you may vary depending on the nature of our interaction with you and may include:

Personal details (name, age, gender)
Contact details (address, email, phone numbers)
Research data (including sightings, photos, and GPS locations)
Credit card or bank account details
Depending on your interaction with us, Earthwatch may also collect and hold sensitive information. For example, Earthwatch requires certain health information and medical details to be provided if you are participating on an expedition. This information will be used for screening purposes and/or in the event of a medical emergency during the expedition.

As an Earthwatch donor you may elect to remain anonymous. However, if you choose not to provide your personal information, we will not be able to provide you with a tax receipt or send you information about your donation. If you otherwise do not provide us with the personal information that we request, we may not be able to provide you with the services you request or the level of services on which we pride ourselves.

How Does Earthwatch Collect Personal Information?

Earthwatch collects personal information in a number of ways, including:

  • Directly from you, when you provide information by phone, in expedition participant forms, on donation slips, on volunteering forms or on other forms provided by Earthwatch
  • From our own records of how you use our services and facilities
  • From your use of our Internet site

Earthwatch may also collect your personal information from third parties such as from:

  • An expedition participant if you have been nominated to be their emergency contact
  • A person who may be making a donation to us on your behalf
  • Your university or school if you are participating in one of our programs or services through your educational institution
  • Third party fundraisers which Earthwatch may engage to assist us with our fundraising activities

Earthwatch collects your payment card details in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

Privacy and the Internet

All financial transactions conducted through the Earthwatch website are encrypted. Earthwatch does not disclose your financial details to any third party, nor does it keep your credit card details for its records.

Earthwatch Australia's website contains links to other sites. Other sites may also have links to our site. In either case, we are not responsible for the content, privacy practices or business practices of any website or company except our own.

Earthwatch uses cookies to track your personal transactions while you are logged in to the Earthwatch website. These cookies are not made available to any third party, and are not used to track your activity beyond the Earthwatch site.

For What Purposes Does Earthwatch Collect, Hold, Use and Disclose Person Information?

The Privacy Act generally requires Earthwatch to use and disclose personal information only for the primary purpose for which it is collected, or for secondary purposes which are related (or directly related in the case of sensitive information) to the primary purpose.

In general, Earthwatch collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information for the following purposes:

  • To provide, evaluate and continue to develop and improve, our services to you
  • To determine your suitability for, enrol you in, administer and continue to develop and improve Earthwatch expeditions and other Earthwatch programs and events
  • To request and process donations and provide receipts
  • To send you information about, and invitations to, Earthwatch expeditions, events and newsletters and provide oportunities for you to get involved with us
  • To conduct customer satisfaction research
    To coordinate the provision of emergency response and medical services
  • To recruit Earthwatch personnel, expedition principal investigators and volunteers

Our range of services and our functions and activities may change from time to time.

In order to perform the above functions and activities, we may disclose your personal information to third parties. This includes the following:

  • Occasionally we may use external suppliers to help with mailing and emailing information to you, conduct market research, provide us with IT services and support or seek donations to Earthwatch on our behalf. These suppliers are required to sign an agreement to keep your personal information confidential.
  • When you are going on an expedition we may disclose your personal information to our affiliate offices, expedition principal investigators and other team members. We limit the use and disclosure of any personal information provided by us to them to the specific purpose for which we supplied it. With your consent, we may share your name and sightings/photos with the Atlas of Living Australia data portal conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
  • We may disclose your personal information to providers of emergency response services should they be required during an expedition.

Does Earthwatch Disclose Personal Information Overseas?

Some of the persons or organisations to whom Earthwatch may disclose your personal information may be located overseas. These include:

  • Our affiliates in the USA, UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil and India.
  • Expedition principal investigators and other team members from various overseas countries.
  • Associated international scientific institutions and universities from various overseas countries.
  • Providers of emergency response services from various overseas countries.
  • Other third party service providers for the purposes of assisting us to carry out our functions and activities including web hosting providers, IT systems administrators, electronic communication facilitators and data storage providers from various overseas countries. By way of example, Earthwatch servers are located in Germany and we use a bulk email provider located in the UK to facilitate the sending of emails.


Earthwatch believes that the relationship you have with us is one that should be comfortable and appropriate to your needs.

Earthwatch may use your personal information to contact you (including by post, telephone call, text message, or email) in relation to Earthwatch functions and activities that we think may be of interest to you (including to seek donations in relation to the same).

If at any time you do not wish to receive any communications or marketing materials from Earthwatch, please let us know so that your preferences can be registered by contacting us (please see the "Contact us" section of this Privacy Policy).

How Do We Manage Your Personal Information?

Earthwatch stores your personal information in hard copy documents or as electronic data in our software IT systems (and those of our service providers). Our IT servers and databases are located and accessible globally by our affiliates (which are located in the countries set out above).

To the extent required by the Privacy Act, Earthwatch will take reasonable steps to:

Make sure that the personal information that we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up to date.
Protect the personal information that we hold from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

How Can You Update or Correct Your Personal Information?

Earthwatch takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However the accuracy of that information depends to a large extent on the information you provide. That is why we recommend that you:

Let us know if there are any errors in your personal information by contacting us (please see the "Contact us" section of this Privacy Policy for our contact details); and
Keep us up to date with changes to personal information such as your name or address.

How Can You Access Your Personal Information?

You can, in most cases, access the personal information Earthwatch holds about you. All requests for access to your personal information should be directed to the Earthwatch Director of Business Operations (please see the "Contact us" section of this Privacy Policy for our contact details).

Earthwatch will deal with requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible and will endeavour to respond within 14 days of receipt of the request in writing. In certain circumstances Earthwatch is entitled to deny access. If access is denied, reasons for the denial of access will be given in writing.

What If You Have a Complaint?

If you have any concerns or complaints about the manner in which your personal information has been collected or handled by Earthwatch, please contact the Earthwatch Director of Business Operations (please see the "Contact us" section of this Privacy Policy for our contact details).

Earthwatch will consider and endeavour to respond to your complaint within 14 days.

It is our intention to use our best endeavours to resolve any complaint to your satisfaction. However, if you are unhappy with our response, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate your complaint further. Further information about the application of the Privacy Act can be found at the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at

Contact Us

If you have any questions in relation to our Privacy Policy, please contact our office by email, phone or letter, and direct your enquiry to the Director of Business Operations. You can contact us by:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Telephone: +61 3 9016 7590
Mail: Earthwatch Australia, Suite G-07, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia


From time to time it may be necessary for Earthwatch to review and revise this Privacy Policy. Earthwatch encourages you to periodically check our website where Earthwatch will post the most up-to-date version of this Privacy Policy.