How We Protect Sensitive Data
All data served through BIEN is carefully vetted to ensure that endangered species and other sensitive information is not made publicly available.
We maintain two versions of the BIEN database, public and private. The public database is accessed through open-use applications such as RBIEN and biendata.org, while access to the private database is restricted and only available on a by-request basis. In the public database, locality information for endangered species (see below) is hidden. Locality information includes latitude, longitude, and narrative locality descriptions. In addition, datasets with restricted access are excluded from the public database (for example, plot datasets whose owners require access by request only). All information is present in the private database.
The following sources are used for embargoing sensitive species:
- CITES: All taxa listed in Appendices I, II or II
- IUCN: All taxa listed as "EN" or "CR" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Ver. 3.1, 2nd Ed.)
- US federally listed species: Observations of species listed as threatened or endangered at the US federal level are embargoed if the observation is within the United States.
- US state listed species: Observations of species listed as threatened or endangered (plus other state-specific categories indicating sensitive status) at the state level are embargoed if the observation is within that state
We also preserve any sensitive species embargoes present in the original data. Thus, in the public database, we embargo any records which the data provider embargoed on their website or data portal.
We are committed to doing our best to honor all our participants' data needs and security issues.