ASL Now (aslnow.org), not to be confused with CSD’s hotline directory (aslnow.com), is a new petition platform that was established to rally around requesting “President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other leaders of the COVID-19 Taskforce to please include American Sign Language interpreters in their daily press briefings.” 

On ASL Now’s front page, it says that roughly one million Deaf people are missing out on current COVID-19 information. ASL Now is asking that people “JOIN US in making our hands and voices heard” and for readers to sign the petition and share it with the world. 

ZP Better Together claims to be a leader of social change with a passion for making our country a better place for all of us, our children, and future generations. So far, so good. But not so fast…

While a petition is a fantastic idea, you need to take some time to review the terms of use before signing anything. With ASL Now’s petition, you would have to give your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Don’t forget, you also have to check off the box that says: “By signing this petition, you consent to terms of our privacy policy (effective 4/6/2020).” 

There is no way to view ASL Now’s privacy policy unless you scroll down to the very bottom of the webpage and look for the grey text titled “Privacy Policy” on the bottom left corner of the screen. When you look at the “About” page, you see that ASL Now is under ZVRS and Purple Communications, both divisions of ZP Better Together, LLC. [henceforth called ZP Better Together].

What information is ZP Better Together going to collect about you if you sign this petition, exactly? An account will be created for you that includes your “name, e-mail address, IP address (browser and device information), postal address, and phone number.” You also will be encouraged to include your social media account usernames, comments, and images on the platform if possible.

While it is understandable for ZP Better Together to verify the authenticity of signatures just so stakeholders know real people are signing the petition, you need to take a closer look at the “Privacy Policy” webpage and read it carefully.  ZP Better Together plans to collect your information into a database for the benefit of their “business purposes.” Your information will be shared with ASL Now affiliates (ZVRS and Purple Communications), their subcontractors, their business partners, and other possible affiliates under the ownership of their parent companies, such as Kinderhook.

What does this mean? 

If you use Sorenson or Convo or you do not own a VRS account at all, ZP Better Together can use your information to send advertisements about their ZVRS/Purple products to your inbox at your e-mail address, your Facebook account, and/or your Instagram account. ZP Better Together could even send advertisements in the mail to your home, and they could have sales staff call your VP number if you shared your VP number on the petition, or send you text messages if you put down your cell phone number on the petition.

ZP Better Together can even go so far as to collect your age, your gender, your racial identity, and other basic demographics to figure out your background and try to tailor their services, products, and marketing messages to you the best they can. Why? To try and keep existing ZVRS/Purple customers, and also to get new ZVRS/Purple customers.

Ask yourself: Are you really comfortable with ZP Better Together knowing your personal information and using it for their profits? If you already signed ASL Now’s petition and you wish you didn’t, it is not too late. There is still a chance for you to delete your personal information from ZP Better Together’s database.

What can you do?

Contact ZP Better Together’s Customer Care at 866-932-7891 or [email protected]. Tell the Customer Care representative what personal information (i.e., VP number, text number, e-mail address, postal address, social media accounts) you want them to delete. You have the right to ask the representative for proof that your personal information has been deleted.

Of course, ZP Better Together emphasizes that if you prefer them not to know your personal information, then you should not sign the petition. The reality is, how often do Deaf community members review and understand the “Privacy Policy” content? Not many. Not many know or realize that companies can use or even sell their personal information for profit, such as the examples shown in the Privacy Policy webpage on ASL Now’s website. 

Even though ZP Better Together’s staff can “remove” your personal information, there is never really a way to truly purge it because a permanent information trail (similar to a “paper trail) happens when you share your personal information on the petition. The same is true for any other online space, so always exercise caution and think twice before you sign up for anything on the Internet.