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Privacy & Anonymity

Privacy and anonymity are critical underpinnings of The Open Source Census. We realize that companies and individuals may not want to publicly share information about the open source they use. To ensure complete privacy and anonymity of this data, The Open Source Census does not collect any identifying information as part of the registration, scan or data submission process.

The Open Source Census enables participants to use a tool called OSS Discovery to anonymously contribute scan reports that enumerate what open source software they use. Participants can visit The Open Source Census website to review their own open source inventory as well as benchmark data that shows how they compare to others with similar demographics. Any individual or company can participate in The Open Source Census.

How We Ensure Privacy and Anonymity

1. Registration is not required
You may submit data to The Open Source Census without registering. However, we do encourage you to register anonymously. Registering will enable contributors to review their personalized open source inventory and benchmark reports on The Open Source Census website, and to benchmark themselves against others with similar demographics. However, since no personally identifying information is collected at time of registration, anonymity is still maintained. See the Quick Start Guide for instructions on how to submit data without registering.

2. Registration is anonymous
If you choose to register, no personally identifying information is collected at time of registration in order to preserve your anonymity. You are not asked for your name, company name or email in order to register. You will set up a username and password for future access to your account. If you want complete anonymity, we recommend that you do not use your real name, company name or email address as your username. See the Quick Start Guide for instructions on how to register and submit data.

3. A Census Token is used to submit scans associated with your username
Once you register, you will be provided with a “token” which you must use when you submit data to The Open Source Census. This is simply a 30 character code used to uniquely identify data with your username and password.

4. No personally identifying information is collected by the scan
When you run OSS Discovery to scan a machine for open source, a text file named "scanresults-census.txt" is produced. This file contains the data that can be submitted to The Open Source Census. This file does not contain any pathnames, machine names, IP addresses or other identifying information. The file includes an anonymous machine ID that is used to avoid duplicate submissions. The machine ID cannot be used to identify you or your company.

5. OSS Discovery does not crawl your network
OSS Discovery does not “crawl” machines in a company, and only runs when you choose to begin a scan through a command line interface. OSS Discovery is non-invasive and can be easily removed once scanning is complete.

6. You can review scan results before you submit to The Open Source Census
For each machine scanned, a scan report will be produced, containing a list of open source software packages and versions found. By using command line options in OSS Discovery, you can decide whether to contribute scan reports at the time the scans are run, at a later time, or not at all. You can review these scan reports before deciding whether to contribute them to The Open Source Census. Scan reports submitted to The Open Source Census are completely anonymous – they do not contain any information that can be used to identify you or your company. No company names, email addresses, IP addresses, or pathnames are included.

7. No data is collected that could be of use to "patent trolls"
Since no identifying information is collected, there is no identifying information in The Open Source Census. Therefore, there is no risk of that data being accessed by “patent trolls” or anyone else.