Information Collected and Stored Automatically
When you visit Data.gov, we may store some or all of the following: the Internet address from which you access Data.gov, date and time, the Internet address of the website from which you linked to Data.gov, the name of the file or words you searched, items clicked on a page, and the browser and operating system used.
This information is used to measure the number of visitors to the various sections of our site and identify system performance or problem areas. We also use this information to help us develop the site, analyze patterns of usage, and to make the site more useful. This information is not used for associating search terms or patterns of site navigation with individual users. Data.gov periodically deletes its Web logs. On occasion, Data.gov may provide this information to third party entities it contracts with for the purposes of research analysis.
When you visit some websites, their web servers generate pieces of information known as cookies. Cookies are commonly used to recognize your computer in the future.
Data.gov uses per-session cookies to serve technical purposes, like providing seamless navigation through Data.gov. These cookies do not permanently record data and they are not stored on your computer’s hard drive. Data.gov’s session cookies are available only during an active browser session. When you close your browser, the session cookie disappears.
Data.gov also uses persistent cookies to be able to track the number of unique visitors to the site.
Users can choose to disable cookies using their web browsers. It will not affect their ability to search for, review and retrieve data on the site.
Users are NOT required to provide any information to search, retrieve, download, filter and otherwise use the data available on Data.gov. There are some optional uses of Data.gov that require a user account. They include participation in some Data.gov Communities, commenting on blog posts or datasets, suggesting datasets, and saving specific views created by the user on the Data.gov platform. If you choose to use these options, you need to create a user account by providing an email address and user name. Email addresses are not made public and are used for authentication only. If you choose to provide us with personal information—like filling out a Contact us form with an email address and submitting it to us through the website—we use that information to respond to your message, and to help get you the information you requested. Your email address will not be stored or retrieved by Data.gov. We only share the information you give us with another government agency if your question relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law. Data.gov never collects information or creates individual profiles for commercial marketing.
While you must provide an email address and user name for the optional uses of Data.gov, you should NOT include any other personal information, especially Social Security numbers.
For certain Data.gov users who need access to administrative privileges in order to carry out Data.gov functions in their roles as official representatives of federal, state, local or tribal governments or certain non-governmental organizations, Data.gov collects additional information such as name, organization, job title, and business address, business telephone number and business email address.
Data.gov is NOT a Privacy Act System of Record. Submission of any information is voluntary, and the collection of email addresses is being done purely for the purpose of authentication.
User Profiles and Online Comments
Users creating accounts can pick any user name. It does not have to be the user’s real name or email address. Users have the option of uploading additional information such as an image, location, tags, and other social profiles. Providing additional information is entirely voluntary.
Any comments you provide are categorized as public information. Compilations of your comments may be provided to national leaders (without email address) and other individuals participating in Data.gov efforts. Comments may also be made available online to the public without the use of any optionally provided email addresses, but with the user name.
Moderation of Comments and Posts
Data.gov enables you to post your opinion on discussion topics. We encourage you to share your thoughts as they relate to the topic being discussed. Your posts will be publicly visible; therefore, the site utilizes a moderation policy to ensure that your posts are appropriate and not harmful to others. We review and moderate posts according to the policy below. The views expressed in posts reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views.
We want to publish your posts, but we expect posts generally to be courteous and on the subject matter of this site. To that end, we have established the following policy.
We reserve the discretion not to display posts that:
- contain obscene, indecent, or profane language;
- contain threats, or defamatory statements;
- contain hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability;
- reveal your own or others’ sensitive/personal information (e.g., Social Security numbers)
- contain information posted in violation of law, including libel, condoning or encouraging illegal activity, and revealing classified information, or posts that might affect the outcome of ongoing legal proceedings or
- promote or endorse services or products, including links to external commercial sites. (Note that non-commercial links that are relevant to the topic or another post are acceptable.)
Do not submit copyrighted, trademarked or other proprietary material in any form unless you clearly indicate that you have permission to do so. By submitting your posts or other work, you grant the government and anyone viewing the discussion forum web site irrevocable permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives, display or perform the poster’s work publicly and free-of-charge.
If you are a reporter, please send questions regarding this through normal agency channels rather than by submitting questions here as posts. It is our policy not to post reporter’s questions.
We recognize that the Internet is a 24/7 medium and your posts are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, we intend to review and moderate posts from 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. We intend to review and moderate posts submitted at other times as soon as possible on the next business day.
A user name and e-mail address is required to post comments and your comments will be associated with your user name. We ask for your e-mail address so that we can contact you if necessary. We will not publish your e-mail address.
To protect your privacy, please do not include information (e.g., an e-mail address or phone number) in the text of your comment that identifies you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion forum policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
If you have questions about this discussion forum policy or how we apply it, please contact us through the “contact us” link on the home page.
Browser Information Collected on the Website
Ratings of datasets are collected to track the usefulness of certain datasets and improve the value of Data.gov. Data.gov does not gather, request, record, require, collect or track any Internet users’ personal information through these processes.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs commercial software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.
Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration guidelines.
Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.
A variety of physical, electronic and procedural safeguards are maintained to protect information. For example, commercially reasonable tools and techniques are used to protect against unauthorized access to Data.gov systems. Data.gov has been Certified and Accredited (C&A) by the General Services Administration (GSA). Also, access to email received is restricted to those who need such access in the course of their duties for Data.gov.
Data.gov may contain links to websites created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. Data.gov provides these links as a service to our users. When users link to an outside website, they are leaving the Data.gov site and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside website(s). You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with these policies. The Data.gov linking policy is the same as the USA.gov Linking Policy.
Data.gov complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) that helps to protect the safety and privacy of children online. COPPA and its accompanying FTC regulation constitute United States Federal law that protects the privacy of children using the Internet. Personal information from children under 13 is not knowingly collected, nor are children under 13 knowingly contacted by Data.gov. Data.gov does not intend to solicit information of any kind from children under 13. It is possible that Data.gov may receive emails pertaining to children under 13. If Data.gov is notified of this, as soon as the information is verified, parental consent will be immediately obtained or the email will be deleted from the email box servicing Data.gov.
Data.gov will not link to any website that exhibits hate, bias, or discrimination. Data.gov reserves the right to deny or remove any link that contains misleading information or unsubstantiated claims, or is determined to be in conflict with Data.gov’s policies.
Disclaimer of Endorsement
The information posted on the Data.gov website includes hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. Data.gov provides these links and pointers solely for our users’ information and convenience. When users select a link to an outside website, they are leaving the Data.gov site and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners or sponsors of the outside website.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) and Data.gov do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on a linked website.
- GSA and Data.gov do not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites and we do not endorse the views they express or the products or services they offer.
- GSA and Data.gov cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked websites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked website.
- GSA and Data.gov are not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked websites.
- GSA and Data.gov do not guarantee that outside websites comply with Section 508 (accessibility requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.
Changes to this Policy
The full Privacy Impact Assessment for Data.gov is available on GSA.gov.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.