Globus Software Privacy Statement


The following statement describes data collection, use, and sharing practices within the Globus community in regard to use of Globus software, including but not limited to the Globus Toolkit. A related statement covers practices related to data collection, use, and sharing in regard to use of Globus online services (websites, email lists, anonymous FTP service).

Data That Is Collected

Globus software is largely aimed at enabling distributed computing at the community level (Grid computing). Security is a key consideration in many user scenarios, so most Globus tools have provisions for identifying users and even authenticating user identities. The PKI mechanisms used for Grid security typically include some form of user identification, which typically includes the user's full name, an organization with which he/she is affiliated, and possibly membership in other groups or teams. When you use a Globus-based service remotely and security is involved, your identifying information is transmitted to and verified cryptographically by the remote service. This information may be logged on the server that hosts the service. It will certainly be reviewed by the service code and used for authorization decisions.

Most Globus-based services log transactions on the system that hosts the service. These log files are typically accessible to the administrators of the hosting system and the service. These logs typically include data on what service was requested, what actions were taken in response, and whether the request succeeded or failed and why. Logs may include information that can be used to identify the user who requested the service.

Many Globus software tools are capable of transmitting usage reports to remote listener services. These reports contain anonymous information about the use of the tool. The reports typically identify the action(s) that were performed iwth the tool (e.g., a file transfer or a job submission) and some data about options and settings used for that action. At the current time, none of these reports include data that could identify the user, although the origin of the report (originating IP address) is known. The default configuration for Globus software that has this capability is to send usage reports to a global listener service operated by the Globus community.

Details on usage statistics are available in the GT Release Manuals starting with version 4.0.

Administrator Choices

The administrator of the installed/deployed Globus software chooses how to configure local logging behavior of the software. The administrator can choose to disable all logging or direct logging data to a place where it is not stored (e.g., a display console or /dev/null). The administrator can typically configure the detail of logs (the types of information included in logs). The administrator chooses what to do with the logs once they are created: who has access to them, how long they are kept, and whether they are permanently archived or not.

The administrator also chooses where usage reports are sent for Globus tools that have the usage reporting capability. The administrator may disable usage reporting to the Globus community listener service, allow usage reporting to the Globus community listener service, enable reporting to one or more additional listener services, or any combination of these. If the administrator elects to direct usage reports to additional listener services, the use of those reports will be in the hands of the operators of those services. At this time, the administrator has no choices in regard to the content of usage reports, only whether they are sent or not and where they are sent.

User Choices

Users of Globus software tools choose which Globus software tools to use, which remote services they use, and what identifying credentials they use with the software. If the tools have usage reporting capabilities, the user also chooses how to configure those capabilities as described above in the section on administrator choices.

When a user chooses to use a remote service, he/she should be aware that that remote service may or may not collect and record data about his/her use of the service, including his/her identity infomation if security is enabled. Ideally, the remote service will have a privacy statement available to describe how data is collected and used and the user can use this statement to decide whether to use the service or not, but this may not be the case. The user should be aware of whether security is enabled or not and if so, what identity credential is being supplied to the remote service.

When a user chooses to use a Globus software tool directly, he/she should review the documentation to learn whether the tool has usage reporting capabilities or not, and if so, how the tool is configured with regard to where usage reports are sent.

Certificate Authorities

Grid security often involves Certificate Authorites (CAs) that vet users and provide them with X.509 certificates for use with Globus. CAs typically collect information about users to whom they issue certificates. The Globus community does not operate a CA, nor do we stipulate any particular policies for CAs operated by others, so the CA process falls outside the scope of the statement. Users should consult the policies of any CAs that provide them with credentials for details on how they collect and use their personal information.

How We Use This Data

The logs generated by Globus-based services are not available to the Globus community. Use of service logs is entirely the responsibility of the service host. This includes all data used in the mutual authentication process for services with security enabled.

Usage reports that are sent to the Globus community listener service are stored in a database hosted by the Globus community. This database is secured such that only authorized members of the community may access the database. Our intention is to archive the data permanently. We routinely generate summary reports on aggregate use of Globus software based on this data, and share those reports publicly. (See for examples of these reports.) There are two purposes for these reports: (1) to inform ourselves and our sponsors about the impact of Globus software on the community, and (2) to identify ways that we can improve the software and its supporting documentation and training materials.

Members of the Globus community routinely access the Globus community usage report archive and use the data to carry out the purposes noted above. They do not use the data to monitor use by individuals or specific organizations, and in most cases the data itself would not contain enough information to support such activities.

In rare instances, data received from a particular organization (if it can be demonstrated reliably by the originating IP address) is made available to that organization for its own use. This is not common because it requires verification of the source of the data and the legitimacy of the request and the human labor required is more than the community can typically spare. We do not intend to do this often. Service providers who wish to obtain usage data from their own services should operate a local listener service and configure their services to send reports to a local listener service. (Instructions for doing this are available from the Globus Metrics incubator project.)

Members of the Globus community may share data from the Globus community usage report archive with third parties for the express purpose of helping us to analyze the data. These third parties agree to observe all of the terms of this privacy statement.

Changes To This Statement

We may occasionally revise the Globus Software Privacy Statement. Changes to the statement will appear on this page. Please note that our practices with respect to data collected and used in connection with Globus software are governed by this statement as amended from time to time, and not the privacy statement in effect at the time the data was collected.

How to Contact Us

The Globus community takes all complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. Please direct all issues in this area to the email address