Our Privacy Pledge

Given the current climate around data privacy, We are formally announcing how we will handle data privacy for all of our users, regardless of what country or state that they are in. My hope is to set an example for how companies should handle people’s personal data.

I believe there should be ethical standards, not just legal standards. There is a balance that needs to be met. I constantly read about companies fighting to roll back or prevent certain privacy laws coming into place. Business models shouldn’t be built off of backs of people’s personal data in ways that they have not given permission. I believe if we as leaders of tech companies built trust and went out of our way to get permission there would be less need for regulation. We need to treat everyone’s data as we want every other company to treat ours.

I started IRL to bring forward a new way of using the power of social networking to help people form new and stronger ties to their friends and communities, and ultimately help people increase their collective happiness by participating in more real life experiences. I want to be a positive example in the evolution of consumer technology and how to create a healthy relationships with people and products.

As we are gaining more traction in the social networking space, we wanted to publicly take a  proactive stance on our user data privacy policy. We want you to know exactly how your data is being used, and give you complete control of it.. As we want to be on the right side of history, we are commiting to the following set of principles.

  • Full Transparency:
    • As I was doing my research on this space I came across more and more information that shocked me about how our data is being used. For example, it recently came out that US cell carriers have been selling our location data!       We should never be surprised by how any company is using our data. Regardless if we have agreed to the terms of service (which we never read). There is a difference between ethical and legal and now most companies focus on what’s legal and take advantage of the fact we don’t read the TOS. This is not ok.  
    • With this in mind, we will be releasing a set of features that will allow you to download all of your data that you have shared with us, and delete all of your data at any time. The features will include a personal data dashboard where visualize and manage your personal data with IRL. We plan to push this live before the end of 2018. If you have questions or would like more specifics of what we are working on you can contact our lead developer henry@irl.co
    • As we continue to walk the path of being the best type of company we want to see in the world, we commit to being available for conversation over many mediums (email, phone, social networks), listening to everyone’s feedback and quickly updating our policies as we learn of any new way for us to honor your trust and protect your data like it was our own.
  • Only Consent:
    • When it comes to respecting your data there are two key parts, managing your data and how you share your data. With respect to the latter, anytime we add a feature or onboard you to our app we will consistently have tools and screens that ask for your permission for every set of data that we ask you to share, clearly communicate how it will be used, and only share your information with express and prior permission from you.
  • Only Real People:
    • We have all experienced fake profiles adding us as friends and we have constantly learned to be wisely skeptical of people online. When all it takes is an email to sign up for an account it becomes incredibly easy to misrepresent yourself and create an unsafe space for people. We will require unique identifiers, like phone number, on sign up for every user. This will be key to keeping the integrity of our user base and prevent a lot of safety and trolling risk.

Our relationship with the internet is having a coming of age moment. For the longest time we have been very loose with how we give our information to companies online and it has felt like the wild west for the last 2 decades. As a collective we are finally realizing how powerful and risky it is to give our data and have it used in ways we never intended. Wehave reached an era where we entrust our entire personal information to a selection of services, and we believe it is time for companies to take a stand and be proactive in protecting the rights of everyone who has put their trust in them.

Note: This is just the beginning and if any company or person has any idea on how we can make this set of principles better we are open to hearing it. We would love to mold this into something we can all be proud of and to use as a standard going forward. Please email privacy@irl.co to share your thoughts and feedback.