Protecting your privacy is very important to us. We do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to NEI Web sites unless you choose to provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about your visit to our Web site to help us better understand how the public uses the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our Web site. NEI never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NEI mission and goals.
When visitors send email messages containing personal information through the Contact Us form or e-mail, NEI staff responds to these queries and files them. Only designated staff members requiring access to the emails to respond may view or answer them.
Types of Information Collected
When you browse through any Web site, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following type of information about your visit:
- Domain from which you access the Internet
- IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Web)
- Operating system and information about the browser used when visiting the site
- Date and time of your visit
- Pages you visited
- Address of the Web site that connected you to an NEI Web site (such as google.com or bing.com)
We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to help make our site more useful to visitors.
How NEI Collects Information
NEI Web sites use a variety of different Web measurement software tools and specific information regarding information collection can be found on their respective Web sites.
NEI uses Webtrends measurement software to collect the information in the bulleted list in the Types of Information Collected section above. Webtrends collects information automatically and continuously. No personally identifiable information is collected. The NEI staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from Webtrends. The reports are only available to NEI managers, members of the NEI Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.
NEI retains the data from Webtrends as long as needed to support the mission of the NEI Web site.
The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.
When you visit any Web site, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected.
The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of Web pages. Cookies from NEI Web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you.
There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.
Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site, or for using the text-size tool. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1-Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies."
Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable Webtrends to differentiate between new and returning NEI visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to NEI until they expire. The persistent cookies that block repeated survey invitations expire in 90 days. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2 - Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."
How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies
If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources at NEI. Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml. Please note that by following the instructions to opt-out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from NEI.
How Personal Information Is Protected
You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NEI Web sites. However, if you choose to receive news feeds or e-newsletters, we collect your email address to complete the subscription process.
If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information, that is, information that is personal in nature and which may be used to identify you, through an e-mail message, request for information, paper or electronic form, questionnaire, customer satisfaction survey, epidemiology research study, etc., we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. If we store your personal information in a record system designed to retrieve information about you by personal identifier (name, personal email address, home mailing address, personal or mobile phone number, etc.), so that we may contact you, we will safeguard the information you provide to us in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a).
If NEI operates a record system designed to retrieve information about you in order to accomplish its mission, a Privacy Act Notification Statement should be prominently and conspicuously displayed on the public-facing website or form which asks you to provide personally identifiable information. The notice must address the following 5 criteria:
1. NEI legal authorization to collect information about you
2. Purpose of the information collection
3. Routine uses for disclosure of information outside of NEI
4. Whether the request made of you is voluntary or mandatory under law
5. Effects of non-disclosure if you choose to not provide the requested information
How the NEI Web site uses Third-Party Web sites and Applications