DocAssemble Development

DocAssemble Development

DocAssemble Development

Data privacy policy

Note: docassemble is licensed under the MIT License. This policy does not modify that license or create any contract.

Data privacy and the application

docassemble is not software-as-a-service; it is just software. The docassemble software itself does not contain any code that surreptitiously “phones home” or tracks user activity. Jonathan Pyle is not aware that any of the dependencies do that, either.

Data privacy is the responsibility of the people who deploy docassemble. A lot depends on how it is implemented; for example, how the SQL server is set up may provide greater or lesser data privacy depending on the choices of the implementer.

docassemble contains a number of privacy features that benefit end user data privacy, such as:

  • Server-side encryption where the user’s interview answers are encrypted by the user’s password. The downside is that if a user forgets their password, they are locked out of their answers.
  • Password-based login system. There are also other authentication mechanisms, but they diminish the security of server-side encryption because the decryption key is stored inside the sever.
  • Role-based authorization system that allows administrators to assign varying levels of permission to users.
  • Automatic banning of any IP addresses that try to guess passwords.

docassemble contains a number of features that enable end users’ the right to be forgotten, such as:

  • Ability for the user to delete their own account in the user profile; and
  • Automatic session deletion after a period of time.

There are optional features that implicate end user privacy, such as:

  • Google Analyics and Segment cookie tracking;
  • Ability of administrators to turn off server-side encryption;
  • Ability of administrators to prevent users from deleting their own data;
  • Ability of administrators to access user data through the API and other means.
  • Social login features that diminish the security provided by server-side encryption by storing the decryption key on the server.

Unless the administrator takes steps to retain user data, a request by a user to delete their information will be effective, subject to the following considerations:

  • User information may continue to exist in logs and rotating backups, which can persist for a few weeks after the user has deleted their data.
  • User information may exist in temporary files, which by default are culled after a few hours.
  • A record will persist in a table indicating that a user with a given integer user ID once existed.

If Jonathan Pyle becomes aware of a security issue in a dependency, he will endeavor to fix the issue as soon as possible. Notification to users will be in the form of GitHub commit messages and changelog messages.

Data privacy and the development community

The docassemble community collaborates in a number of ways:


Jonathan Pyle created a Slack group for the the docassemble community to ask questions and help each other. The Slack group is on Slack’s free plan, which means that access to older messages is restricted. The group is open to the public. Slack contains private chats, group chats, and a member list containing names and e-mails.

If a user accidentally shares sensitive information on Slack, such as an API key, and Jonathan Pyle sees it, he will notify the user that they shared sensitive information.

Sometimes people write to Jonathan Pyle privately because they do not want to reveal details of their projects to the group. Jonathan Pyle will keep the content of those conversations private.

Jonathan Pyle is the sole administrator of the Slack group. He is the only one with access to the e-mail addresses of members. He does not back up or make copies of the e-mail addresses and will not share the e-mail address list with third parties.

A few APIs are enabled on the Slack group, such as an API that posts messages in Slack when there is activity on GitHub. If an intruder obtains unauthorized access to the Slack group through an API, Jonathan Pyle will make best efforts to block the intruder’s access.

If Slack itself suffers a data breach, such that e-mail addresses are exposed, Jonathan Pyle will post a message in the #general channel to let users know that it happened.


The Docacon conference is open to the public. Attendees sign up on Google Forms. Data about attendees and sponsors exists in Google Forms. Access to the sign-up list is limited to event organizers, which includes Jonathan Pyle and other people. Copies of the sign-up list may have been made.

If Google Forms suffers a data breach, Jonathan Pyle will take no action.

Mailing list

Jonathan Pyle created a mailing list on It was originally used the way the Slack group is used now, but once we switched to Slack, the mailing list does not get much use. The primary purpose of the mailing list is to communicate with people who sign up for the mailing list but have not joined Slack or do not check Slack. Jonathan Pyle is the sole maintainer of the list. The mailing list hosted on contains e-mail addresses and names of people who have signed up. Jonathan Pyle has not created a copy of the mailing list anywhere outside of

If’s mailing list system is compromised, Jonathan Pyle will make an effort to delete the mailing list.

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