Checkmate Data Principles and Privacy

Last Updated November 2022


Marriage Pact, n. \’mer-ij ‘pakt\

An informal agreement between two people—if both parties remain unmarried and without prospects after a certain period of time—to simply marry each other.

Based on your values, the Marriage Pact college matching event algorithmically “interviews” all other participants at your school on your behalf to find the best person with whom you could make a marriage pact. Checkmate is cut from the same cloth—by understanding what matters to you, Checkmate allows you to see your compatibility with anyone on demand. The following pages contain our data principles and privacy notice, which describes the information we process to make the Marriage Pact and Checkmate work.

Here, you can find specifics regarding the information we collect (what we collect, how we collect it, and how we use it), how we protect that information, whether or not we share that information, and how you can manage information about you. We also outline how participation is voluntary for Checkmate —and what you can count on when you participate, as a result.

When we use the terms “Marriage Pact”, “we”, “us”, or “our” in this Privacy Notice, we are referring to The Marriage Pact. When we use the term “Checkmate”, we are referring to the mobile application that posts or links to this Privacy Notice.

Privacy Notice Summary

What kinds of information do we collect?

Our questions ask about some sensitive things. Here’s why: the idea behind Checkmate is to provide you with a deeper understanding of yourself, your friends, and your community. When you look at what matters in any really long-term relationships (say, 50 years-long), it isn’t icebreaker questions like what music you listen to or what your favorite ice cream flavor is. It’s really about your core values—what you care about deep down—so Checkmate asks about the things that really matter.

But it isn’t all heavy stuff. In Checkmate, we ask three kinds of questions:

  1. Contact Information questions

  2. Demographic questions

  3. Values questions

In your answers, there are three main types of information:

  1. Contact information helps us to verify that you’re actually you. It includes your phone number during onboarding.

  2. Demographic information is simply your age. This allows us to verify that you’re over 13.

  3. Values information helps us understand your approach to life. This will include matters of principle and matters of preference.

Outside of the Checkmate app itself, we may ask you to answer other kinds of questions:

  1. Feedback questions

  2. Other questions

In your answers, we’ll find the following kinds of information:

  1. Feedback information helps us understand why and how you use Checkmate. This might include thoughts and comments on the scanning experience, or it could include your feedback on other experiences you have as part of Checkmate.

  2. Other information may be volunteered in response to other questions.

We use accounts in Checkmate, which are created for you in onboarding. We use artificial internal identifiers we assign to your account to allow our systems to connect account information stored in different databases and tables. When your account is made, we keep note of basic information to help us better understand how you use Checkmate, such as when you created the account, log in activity, account errors, and account deletion history.

We seek to collect pretty minimal information beyond what you volunteer directly in submitted responses to questions. For example, Checkmate does use your IP address to prevent abuse of our servers from bad actors. However, Checkmate doesn’t use cookies, and doesn’t correlate your information with information about you from third parties. See the section titled Your privacy is not for sale in Principles, below, for more of our perspective on this important topic.

How is this information collected?

Contact information and demographic information is received in onboarding. Values information is received when you answer questions from your questions tab next to the home screen. Your answers are only recorded when you tap your numbered response. Friends information is received by scanning; when you scan someone, they’re added to your friends list.

Some information is collected automatically that you wouldn’t provide yourself. For example, we collect log data, like how long you’re using Checkmate or whether you’re encountering any errors. We collect analytics data, like which links led you to Checkmate. Both of these are used to better understand how you’re using the app, to make improvements in the long run.

Right now, Checkmate is entirely free. One day, you may optionally be able to pay for additional features within the app. If that’s ever the case, we’d collect your payment information, which includes things like contact information, billing address, and card information. Our payment processors may share some or all of this information with us—for example, to confirm that your payment was accepted.

You’ll be able to identify Checkmate because it is clearly marked and associated with Marriage Pact. If anything seems unrelated to Marriage Pact, it’s likely not from us. Be careful with fake match emails, and especially be wary of fake requests for your information. If you aren’t sure if something is legit, please reach out to us via

How is this information used?

We touched on how the information is used when we outlined it above, but we’ll expand on how we use your information here:

  1. We use contact information in a few ways. First, it’s how we verify that you’re actually you (via your phone number).

  2. We use demographic information (your age) to verify that you’re over 13.

  3. We use values information to help us assess your compatibility with your friends. Sometimes, similarity in values is important. Sometimes, dissimilarity is important. Most often, there are much more complex interactions at play.

  4. We use feedback information to improve Checkmate. By understanding how and why you participate, we can make Checkmate better for you and for others.

  5. We use log and analytics data in order to better understand how you’re using Checkmate and what errors you might encounter so we can improve the experience as a whole. By aggregating what we learn from analytics, we can better understand what improvements we can make.

  6. We use friends information to show you who you’re connected with, both in your friends list and your feed.

  7. We don’t currently use payment information, but we may in the future. We’d use this information to allow you to purchase features that add value to your Checkmate experiences.

  8. At this point in time, we can’t know what questions we’ll ask in the future, so we can’t know how we might use other information. That said, take a look at the last paragraph in

    what kinds of information do you collect? (above) and the section titled we do not share this information (below) for details and for our beliefs, and message us if you have any questions (our contact info is in Closing Words, below).

How is this information protected?

Because there are sensitive questions involved here, privacy is super important—so we’ve worked hard to design it into the system anywhere and everywhere we can. Compatibility scores are discovered purely via algorithm, so nobody looks at individual answers to questions to do it. The algorithm also uses unique IDs for each person, so it’s agnostic as to anyone’s name or contact info.

The security of the Marriage Pact as a whole depends on the security of each of our sub-systems. We use Mailchimp to send feedback emails; they outline their security here. We use OneSignal to support notifications; they outline their security here. We’ve set up the algorithm to run on Amazon Web Services, which many other organizations use to house their data; they outline data privacy and security here. We use Mixpanel to measure basic analytics, they outline their security here. Just in case, we minimize the information we send whenever possible—that means sending as little information as possible.

The data itself is protected via both access controls and encryption. Data in transit is encrypted using TLS protocols. We also do the un-sexy parts of security that are still important, like avoiding public wifi, using long and unique passphrases, and using multi-factor authentication everywhere we can.

Checkmate isn’t meant for children under 13, which is why we ask for your birthday. If you’re under 13, please hold off from using Checkmate—we’ll delete all information associated with accounts of children.

We do not share this information.

We’re not about advertising, so your information stays with us. And beyond sharing your first name with your match, we’ll never share information about you in a way that could let you be individually identified by it. The “why” here matters, too—take a look at the section called Your Information is not for sale in the Data Privacy Principles below, for our views on this topic.

Because your values information and demographic information may be unique to you, we recognize that removing contact information from your responses alone does not qualify as “anonymizing” it. This is why we strive to follow a standard of protecting personal information broadly (rather than the more narrowly scoped “personally identifying information”).

Note: There are a couple obvious cases in which parts of your information may be seen by others:

  1. Your names and compatibility scores are shared when you’ve scanned someone, and your friends can see who you’ve scanned (or who’s scanned you) along with accompanying scores.

  2. An employee at Marriage Pact may have access to your data if they’re building or debugging the services that use it.

  3. We may be forced to share information with legal advisors and law enforcement if required by the law—for example, to help prevent fraud or criminal activity, comply with any lawful requests or legal processes, or protect our users’ safety.

  4. We lean on service providers for critical infrastructure like email, and hosting our servers. That means that, as part of running Checkmate, those infrastructure providers will necessarily handle your data on our behalf. Take a look at “How is this information protected?” to learn more.

How can I manage information about me?

If at any time you’d like to update your information, you can do so in settings. Your question responses are recorded when you submit them. If at any time you’d like to delete your account, you can do so in settings, as well.

Data Privacy Principles

Participation is Voluntary.

Participating in Checkmate is entirely voluntary, and you may withdraw from the experience at any point in time. If you do decide you want a clean break, just delete your account in two taps from the settings menu in the app.

Your Information is Not for Sale.

The information you share with us is not for sale. We’re not about advertising, and we’re especially not about propaganda, so we don’t do advanced population segmenting and we don’t sell access to you (or to your attention) to advertisers (state-sponsored or otherwise).

Further, we’re about determining marital backup plans—not social credit scores—so your Marriage Pact information is self-contained. We don’t correlate your responses with information about you from third parties, and we don’t give third parties access to Marriage Pact information to correlate with external data about you.

Who We Are

The Marriage Pact was first created in Autumn of 2017 by Liam McGregor and Sophia Sterling-Angus as part of a class project for ECON136: Market Design, at Stanford University. That fall, 53% of everyone at Stanford participated. The next year, 63%. The next, 73%. As of February 2021, a Marriage Pact has now happened at 30 schools, with more than 90,000 people participating and 45,000 matches.

Making the Marriage Pact, we are a small (but growing) team composed almost entirely of full-time students. Checkmate is one of the first new experiences made by the team. We hope it will be a fun way to create the kind of connection we’re all missing right now.

Closing Words

We’ve outlined the data policies above because we think it’s the right thing to do. It is our best-faith effort to do the right thing! If you have questions about any of this, you can DM us on Instagram @marriagepact or email us at