We know that maintaining your trust requires that we protect your privacy – so we are very sensitive to the privacy concerns of those who use our websites, our pages and applications on third-party social-networking services, our emails, and our mobile applications (collectively, our “Sites”).
Information we collect
We may collect information about you (and the computer or device you use to access our Sites) in a variety of ways:
– You may directly provide information to us
– You may choose to allow a social networking service to share information with us
– We may gather other information when you visit our Site or other services, or when you view our online ads
– We may obtain additional information about you from other sources where permitted by law
More detail on each of these is immediately below.
Information you directly provide
When you participate in our offers, programs, or Site features (or otherwise communicate with us), you may directly provide us with information, including (but not limited to) the following:
• Identifiers, such as name, email address, and postal address
• Username or password
• Phone number
• Age or birthdate
• Demographic information
• Credit card or other payment information
• Marital status and number of children
• Contact information of family members or others
• Other information about you, your household, your family, or others (such as commercial information like interests or product preferences)
• Other information you affirmatively allow a third-party service (such as Facebook) to provide to us
Information from social networking services
If you choose to access or make use of third-party social networking services (such as Facebook or Twitter), we may receive personal information about you that you have made available to those services, including information about your contacts on those services. For example, some social networking services allow you to push content from our Site to your contacts or to pull information about your contacts so you can connect with them on our Site. Some social networking services also will facilitate your registration or log-in for our Site or enhance or personalize your experience on our Site. Your decision to use a social networking service will always be voluntary. However, you should make sure you are comfortable with the information social networking services may make available to our Site by carefully reading and reviewing those services’ privacy policies.
Information we gather when you visit our Sites or when you view our online ads
The following are examples of the types of information we may collect in this way:
• Device type (such as desktop, tablet, or mobile device)
• Browser type (such as Internet Explorer)
• Operating system (such as Windows)
• IP address, MAC address, device ID, installed fonts, or similar information
• Websites or online services you visit before or after our Site
• Your interaction with our Site (such as the links you click and the pages and items you view)
• Whether you open or forward our emails or click on elements within these emails
Information we may obtain from other sources
We may obtain information about you, even if we don’t have a direct relationship with you, from other sources, such as public databases, other brands and groups within General Mills, data aggregators, and other commercially available sources. This information may include:
• Identifiers, such as name, email address, and postal address
• Social networking user IDs
• Phone number
• Demographic information
• Marital status and number and age of children
• Income level
• Purchasing behavior
• Interests, hobbies, and product preferences
• Interactions with media or advertising
• Publicly observable activities (such as blogs and online postings)
• Other information that has been collected by other brands or businesses within the General Mills family of companies
How we use this information
We use the information we collect (in combination with other information we or third-party service providers may have) to communicate with you regarding our products, services, and promotions, to provide you with other information, services, products, or other materials you request, to customize your interactive experience (including by providing you with relevant advertising on our Site and elsewhere), and/or to manage and improve our sites, products, and service offerings.
Some specific ways that we may use this information are as follows:
• To register you to receive emails or other information or materials you request
• To register you for a sweepstakes, contest, or other promotion
• To register you to receive rebates, coupons, premiums, product samples, or other materials
• To create and manage your account as a user or member of our Site (or as someone who may post content to our Site)
• To provide you with services or offers you have requested
• To respond if you contact one of our Consumer Services Representatives
• To process your payment for purchases or other services
• To better understand the audience for our Sites and services
• To conduct analytics services regarding how our products, services, and Sites are accessed and used
• To help us develop new products, services, and sites
• To provide advertising and marketing services, including by developing and delivering advertising and other communications more tailored to your interests
• To help us improve our advertising
• To detect security incidents; protect against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent or illegal activity; and to prosecute those responsible for that activity.
We will not send you any email marketing communication unless you expressly consent to receive such a communication from us. And if you do sign up to receive these emails, you will always have the opportunity to “unsubscribe” from further email marketing messages from that General Mills brand or group.
General descriptions of “cookies” and “web beacons”
“Cookies” are small files that are placed on your computer or device when you visit a website. Cookies may be used to store a unique identification number tied to your computer or device so that you can be recognized as the same user across one or more browsing sessions, and across one or more sites.
Some cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around our Site and use its features, such as accessing secured areas. Other cookies collect information about how visitors use the Site (for instance, which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages).
When combined with information collected when you register on a website, cookies allow us to welcome you back to the site or otherwise provide enhanced, more personal features. Cookies may also be used on our behalf by third parties managing our advertising on other websites to enable us to learn which advertisements bring visitors to our Sites and to otherwise improve or target our online advertising.
Most browsers accept cookies automatically but can be configured not to do so or to notify the user when a cookie is being sent. If you wish to disable cookies, refer to your browser help menu to learn how to disable cookies. Please note that if you disable cookies, you may be unable to access some customized features on our Site.
“Web beacons” and similar technologies are tiny or transparent images that, for example, allow us and third parties to count the number of users who have visited a particular web page or to access certain cookies. When you access a page containing a beacon, you establish a communication with a web server, which collects certain information about your computer or device. This information may include your IP address, browser type, operating system type, and identifiers that have been stored in cookies. We may use beacons on our sites to count the number of visitors to our sites and to recognize users by accessing unique identifiers stored in cookies that we have set on their computers or devices. Being able to access these identifiers enables us to provide a personalized experience on our sites. We may also include technologies like beacons in advertisements or in email messages to determine how these are acted on.
Cookies used for online behavioral advertising – and your choice to opt out
These third parties may use the information gathered through these cookies to show you advertising they believe to be most relevant to you when you visit other websites not belonging to us. This practice is called “online behavioral advertising.”
Other uses of local storage and unique identifiers
We (and the third parties that provide content, advertising, or functionality on our Sites) may also use other kinds of local storage technologies that operate similarly to cookies, such as local shared objects (also known as “Flash cookies”) and HTML5 local storage. These technologies are similar to cookies in that they make use of storage on your device for the purpose of identifying the device across different services and sessions. Please note, however, that these technologies may make use of different parts of your device from cookies, and so you might not be able to control them using standard browser tools and settings.
How we may share information with others
We may share the information we collect with the following types of entities for business purposes:
• Affiliates. We may share information freely within General Mills among our various businesses, and within our family of affiliated companies.
• Service providers. We may share information – including information that personally identifies you – with companies that provide services on our behalf. These parties may use the information solely in conjunction with the specific services they provide for us. Some service providers may be involved in administering or supplementing our databases and will need to have access to your information in order to do so. For example, we may retain a third party to verify the accuracy of information within our databases or to gather additional information about individuals within our databases from commercially available sources. As another example, we may provide information from our databases to third parties who help us direct specific advertising communications to you when you visit other sites.
• Other parties when required by law or as necessary to protect our users and services. We also may disclose information – including information that personally identifies you – to third parties in order to: – Protect our legal rights, as well as the rights of the users of our Site or others – Protect the safety and security of the Site, its users, or others – Prevent fraud – Comply with the law or respond to legal process or a request for cooperation by a government entity, whether or not legally required.
• Other parties in connection with a corporate transaction. We reserve the right to transfer any information we have about you in the event that we sell or transfer all or a portion of our business or assets to a third party, or in the unlikely event of a bankruptcy.
When we disclose data for business purposes as discussed above, we disclose the following categories of data: all categories of data listed in the first section of this Policy above, under the heading “Information we collect,” including the subsections entitled “Information you directly provide,” “Information from social networking services,” “Information we gather when you visit our Sites or when you view our online ads,” and “Information we may obtain from other sources.”
Third parties may provide content, advertising, or functionality on our site Some of the content, advertising, and functionality on our Site may be provided by third parties that are not affiliated with us.
• We may enable you to share certain materials on the Site with others through social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter.
One of the third parties that provides services on our Site is Google Inc. Like many websites, we use Google Analytics, a service that provides information about how many users visit our Site, when they visit, and how they navigate the Site once they are here. Google offers a browser add-on that enables users to opt-out of having data about their visits reported to websites by Google Analytics.
We also may use other Google Analytics tools, such as Demographics and Interest Reporting, which enables us to learn more about the characteristics and interests of the users who visit our Site, and Remarketing with Google Analytics, which enables us to provide relevant advertising on different websites and online services.
Security for credit card data and transaction information
We are committed to keeping your online transactions safe and secure. We have put procedures in place to safeguard other information we collect from you. Please note, however, that we cannot absolutely guarantee the security of any information you provide online; you provide it at your own risk.
Links to other sites
User-generated content and public profile features
Our Site may, from time to time, contain interactive areas where Site users might submit comments or other content (including information about the user that might be displayed in the user’s public profile within an online community) that may be visible to others. Users should be aware that when they voluntarily disclose personal identifiers (e.g., name, email address, etc.) or other personal information in content submitted for posting or publication, the information can be read and used by others. This may result in unsolicited messages from other posters or parties. We make no representations and undertake no obligations as to the security or use of information you voluntarily include when submitting content.
This Site may, from time to time, include a send-to-a-friend application that makes it easy for you to forward information or materials from our Site to friends or family by email. In order to address your email message, the application may ask you to input the recipient’s email address and/or similar information (including your email address). This information is used by the application to address your message so that it can be properly sent. We may temporarily maintain a log of this information for troubleshooting and fraud-prevention purposes. In the event that we are offering you some form of referral award for encouraging an action on the part of the recipient (for example, if you are to earn a reward if the recipient chooses to register for one of our offerings after receiving the email from you), we may also retain the information as necessary to establish that the referral award was earned.
Do-not-track signals and similar mechanisms
Some web browsers may transmit “do-not-track” signals to the websites and other online services with which a user communicates. There is no standard that governs what, if anything, websites should do when they receive these signals. General Mills currently does not take action in response to these signals. If and when a standard is established and accepted, General Mills may revisit its policy on responding to these signals.
This Site is not directed to children and we will not request any information from children under 13 at this Site. General Mills does have other sites that are geared in whole or in part to a child audience. Our commitment to the privacy of children is described more fully in the privacy policies of those sites. General Mills and its affiliated companies take special care to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13. We have developed our child privacy practices to comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (“COPPA”) as well as the guidelines established by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU). We also recommend that parents monitor their children’s Internet activities and learn and employ software or other tools that can help their children enjoy the fun and entertainment of an online experience without compromising their personal safety or allowing them to use the Internet in a manner inconsistent with their parents’ preferences.