Whistle Guidelines for Law Enforcement
This guide addresses InHerSight’s procedures for responding in accordance with U.S. law to legal process and requests for information about Whistle and Whistle users from U.S. governmental entities. This guide does not apply to legal process or requests from other domestic entities such as civil litigants or from foreign government agencies or litigants. InHerSight is committed to cooperating with law enforcement while respecting each individual’s right to privacy.
This Guide is published for InHerSight’s convenience and for informational purposes only. Whistle reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to depart from the practices and standards set forth herein, and nothing in this Guide creates a right or the basis for a claim by a third party, including a governmental entity, or is or should be construed as a promise or guarantee that InHerSight will act in a given way in any particular circumstance.
What is Whistle?
Whistle is a location-based reporting and tracking app for sexism. Whistle allows users to share incidences of sexism that they have observed, heard, or otherwise experienced without providing or disclosing their identities by posting content for public viewing.
What Information Does Whistle Collect?
Whistle users do not register for unique Whistle accounts and do not generally provide their names, email addresses, phone numbers, or similar identifying information. Because of the nature of Whistle’s service, InHerSight does not have information about users' names, email or physical addresses, phone numbers, or payment accounts.
Whistle does collect the following information when transmitted to the app: The date and time of the interaction with the app, beginning with installation of the app The IP address used to access the app The GPS coordinates of the device used to access the app The user-agent string associated with the device used to access the app
InHerSight retains different types of information for different time periods. Due to the real-time nature of Whistle, some information may be stored for only a very brief period of time.
InHerSight will not retain data for law enforcement unless it receives a valid preservation request. Preservation requests must be submitted in writing, on official law enforcement letterhead, and signed by the requesting official. Please include screenshots of the messages that you wish to be preserved, if available. Requests may be sent as an email attachment (our contact information is below).
Legal Process Requirements
InHerSight discloses user account information only in accordance with applicable law, including the Stored Communications Act (the “SCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq. InHerSight will only release non-public information about its users to law enforcement officials in response to appropriate legal process, such as a subpoena, court order, or search warrant – or in response to a valid emergency request, as described below.
Unless a more restrictive state law applies, InHerSight typically requires the following legal process prior to the disclosure of user information:
A valid subpoena (administrative, grand jury, or trial) issued in connection with an official criminal investigation or prosecution is required to compel InHerSight to disclose certain basic subscriber information. InHerSight’s records of basic subscriber information that may be disclosed in response to a valid subpoena will generally be limited to: (1) the date and time when the user installed the app, and (2) the IP address used at installation. InHerSight is also permitted to disclose these types of basic subscriber information in response to a search warrant and/or a court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d). A court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) is required to compel InHerSight to disclose additional non-content records associated with a user’s account. This may include: (1) the date and time of a user’s interaction with the app, (2) the IP address used to access the app, and (3) the user-agent string associated with the device used to access the app. InHerSight is also permitted to disclose these categories of non-content user records in response to a search warrant. A search warrant is required to compel InHerSight to disclose the GPS coordinates of the device used to access the app, when the device is used to interact with the app. Any legal process submitted to InHerSight should include a detailed description of the specific Whistle post(s) that you are seeking information about, including the exact language of the post, and if known, the approximate time, date, and location of the post. Please provide screenshots of the posts if available.
Under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2702(b)(8) and 2702(c)(4), InHerSight may disclose user account information to law enforcement – without a subpoena, court order, or search warrant – in response to a valid emergency when we believe that doing so is necessary to prevent death or serious physical harm to someone (for instance, in cases involving kidnapping, bomb threats, school shootings, or suicide threats). InHerSight evaluates emergency requests on a case-by-case basis.
Any information InHerSight provides in response to emergency requests is limited to what we believe would prevent the harm. This may include a user’s IP address, GPS coordinates, message timestamps, user-agent string, and/or the contents of other messages from the user’s posting history.
Law enforcement officers can submit an emergency request as an email attachment (our contact information is below). Emergency requests must be submitted on law enforcement letterhead, and must include the following:
a detailed description of the emergency; a description of the harm to be prevented; a detailed description of the Whistle post that you are seeking information about, including screenshots, if available; the specific information requested, including an explanation of why that information is necessary to prevent the harm; an explanation of why the information is needed without waiting for legal process; and the signature of the submitting law enforcement officer. Please note that InHerSight cannot review or respond to emergency requests sent by non-law enforcement officials. If you are aware of an emergency situation, you should immediately contact your local law enforcement officials.
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2706, InHerSight may seek reimbursement for its costs that are reasonably necessary and directly incurred in searching for, assembling, reproducing or providing user information or content in response to compulsory law enforcement process. Particularly broad and/or burdensome requests may increase the cost reimbursement that InHerSight is entitled to. In cases where InHerSight intends to request such reimbursement, InHerSight will provide a good faith estimate of such costs as part of our production or, upon request, prior to assembling, reproducing, or otherwise providing information in response a government request for user information.
Will InHerSight Notify Users About Law Enforcement Requests?
InHerSight reserves the right to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to notify users about law enforcement requests, unless Whistle receives a valid order precluding such notice pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2705.
U.S. governmental entities and law enforcement officials may send legal process or requests for records to Whistle at:
201 West Main Street, Suite 200
Durham, North Carolina 27701
This contact information is provided for use by law enforcement officials only and Whistle does not waive and expressly reserves its available objections. Users wishing to have a post removed should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Whistle will not respond to requests for user information sent by non-law enforcement officials.
InHerSight is a U.S. company, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina and responds to valid, legal process from U.S. governmental entities or courts.
Last updated 11/19/2016.