PRIVACY POLICY

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Personally Identifiable Information

As a general rule, the Department does not collect PII about you when you visit our website, unless you choose to provide such information to us. Submitting PII through our website is voluntary. By doing so, you are giving the Department your permission to use the information for the stated purpose. However, not providing certain information may result in the Department’s inability to provide you with the service you desire.

If you choose to provide us with PII on a Department website, through such methods as completing a web form or sending us an email, we will use that information to help us provide you the information or service you have requested or to respond to your message. The information we may receive from you varies based on what you do when visiting our site.

Generally, the information requested by the Department will be used to respond to your inquiry or to provide you with the service you request. When this information is requested, the reasons for collecting it, a description of the Department’s intended use of the information, how to grant consent to use mandatorily provided information, and how to grant consent for other than statutorily mandated uses will be fully described in a separate customized “Privacy Notice.” This customized Privacy Notice will either appear on the web page collecting the information or be accessible through a hyperlink (link) prominently displayed immediately above or below the information request.

Email

Many of our programs and websites allow you to send us an email. We will use the information you provide to respond to your inquiry. We will only send you general information via email. You should be reminded that email may not necessarily be secure against interception. Therefore, we suggest that you do not send sensitive personal data (such as your Social Security number) to us via email. If your intended email communication is very sensitive, or includes information such as your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number, you should instead send it by U.S. mail. Another alternative may be submission of data through a secure web page, if available.

Automatically Collected Information

We collect and temporarily store certain information about your visit for use in site management and security purposes only. We collect and analyze this information because it helps us to better design our website to suit your needs. We may also automatically collect information about the web content you view in the event of a known security or virus threat. This information includes:

1. The Internet domain from which you access our website (for example, “xcompany.com” if you use a private Internet access account, or “yourschool.edu” if you connect from an educational domain);

2. The Internet Protocol (IP) address (a unique number for each computer connected to the Internet) from which you access our website;

3. The type of browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome) used to access our site;

4. The operating system (e.g., Windows, Mac OS, Unix) used to access our site;

5. The date and time you access our site;

6. The Universal Resource Locators (URLs), or addresses, of the pages you visit;

7. Your username, if it was used to log in to the website; and

8. If you visited this website from another website, the URL of the forwarding site.

We may share the above information with our employees or representatives with a “need-to-know” in the performance of their official duties, other Federal agencies, or other named representatives as needed to quickly process your request or transaction. This information is only used to help us make our site more useful for you. Raw data logs are retained temporarily as required for security and site management purposes only.

Security

The Department takes the security of all PII very seriously. We take precautions to maintain the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the information we collect at this site. Such measures include access controls designed to limit access to the information to the extent necessary to accomplish our mission. We also employ various security technologies to protect the information stored on our systems. We routinely test our security measures to ensure that they remain operational and effective.

Interaction With Children Online

The Department is committed to the protection of children’s online privacy. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) governs information gathered online from or about children under the age of 13. Verifiable consent from a child’s parent or guardian is required before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from a child under age 13. If a Department website intends to collect information about children under 13 years old, COPPA-required information and instructions will be provided by the specific web page that collects information about the child. The web page will specify exactly what the information will be used for, who will see it, and how long it will be kept.

Visiting Other Websites

Our website contains links to international agencies, private organizations, and some commercial entities. These websites are not within our control and may not follow the same privacy, security, or accessibility polices. Once you link to another site, you are subject to the policies of that site. All Federal websites, however, are subject to the same Federal policy, security, and accessibility mandates.