- We do not collect personally identifiable information (PII) about you unless you choose to provide that information to us.
- Any personal information you chose to provide is protected by security practices.
- Non-personal information related to your visit to our website may be automatically collected and temporarily stored.
- HHS does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors unless required for law enforcement or by Federal law.
Health Information Privacy
For more information on your health information privacy and security rights, or on the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, visit the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
Privacy Act Information
You may also want to read information about the Privacy Act at HHS. If you have privacy questions or issues, contact an HHS Privacy Official. Also see the Privacy Act of 1974 (Department of Justice).
For more detailed information on HHS privacy, see these topics below:
- Personal information voluntarily given to HHS
- Interaction with children on-line
- Visiting an official HHS page on third-party websites
- Information automatically collected and stored
- Website measurement and customization data
- Website Security
Personal Information Voluntarily Submitted to HHS
If you choose to provide HHS with personal information -- for example by completing a “Contact Us” form, leaving a comment, sending email, or completing a survey -- we may use that information to respond to your message and/or help us get you the information or services you requested. Submitting personal information (name, address, telephone number, email address, etc.) is voluntary and is not required to access information on our website.
We retain the information only for as long as necessary to respond to your question or request, in most cases no longer than three months. Information submitted electronically is maintained and destroyed as required by the Federal Records Act and records schedules of the National Archives and Records Administration. It may be subject to disclosure in certain cases (for example, if required by a Freedom of Information Act request, court order, or Congressional access request, or if authorized by a Privacy Act System of Records Notice). It is subject to the Privacy Act if maintained in a Privacy Act system.
For more information, see:
Interaction with Children Online
The Department will take all reasonable steps necessary to protect the privacy and safety of any child from whom information is collected, as required by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). A child’s parent or guardian is required to provide consent before HHS collects, uses, or shares personal information from a child under age 13.
Information and instructions will be provided by the specific webpage that collects information about a child. The webpage will specify exactly what the information will be used for, who will see it, and how long it will be kept.
Visiting an Official HHS Page on Third-Party Websites
We maintain accounts on third-party websites, such as social media sites, as tools to better interact with the public. The security and privacy policies of third-party websites apply to your activity on those sites. Users of third-party websites often share information with the general public, user community, and/or the third-party operating the website. You should review the privacy policies of all websites before using them and ensure that you understand how your information may be used. You should also adjust privacy settings on your account on any third-party website to match your preferences.
Common third-party website privacy policies used by HHS include:
- Facebook Date Use Policy
- Facebook Privacy Page
- AddThis Privacy Practices
Information Collected and Used from Third-Party Websites
If you have an account with a third-party website, and choose to follow, like, friend, or comment on a third-party website managed by HHS, certain personal information associated with your account may be made available to us based on the privacy policies of the third-party website and your privacy settings within that website. We do not share personally identifiable information made available through these websites.
HHS conducts and publishes a Privacy Impact Assessment for each use of a third-party website. Each use of a third-party website may have unique features or practices. HHS sometimes collects and uses the information made available through third-party websites. To learn more, review the published assessments.
Information Automatically Collected and Stored
When you browse through our website, we gather and temporarily store technical information about your visit. This information does not identify who you are. The information we collect includes:
- The name of the domain you use to access the Internet (for example, aol.com, if you are using an American Online account, or stanford.edu, if you are connecting from Stanford University's domain);
- The date and time of your visit;
- The pages you visited; and
- The address of the website you came from when you came to visit.
We use this information to improve our website and provide a better user experience for our visitors. We use a tool, Google Analytics, to collect and summarize this information. This information is available only to web managers and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. It is retained only for as long as needed for proper analysis.
Web Measurement and Customization Data
We technologies, such as cookies, to help our website function better for visitors and to better understand how the public is using our website.
HHS uses “cookies” to test and optimize our website design and content. A cookie is a small text file automatically placed on your computer. We use two types of cookies on our websites:
- We use session cookies to gather data for technical purposes, such as improving navigation through our website and generating statistics about how the website is used. Session cookies are temporary text files that expire when you leave our website. When cookies expire, they are automatically deleted from your computer. We do not use session cookies to collect personal information, and we do not share data collected from session cookies.
- We use multi-session cookies, or persistent cookies, to customize our website for frequent visitors and to test variations of website design and content. Multi-session cookies are cookies that are stored over more than a single session on your computer. We do not use multi-session cookies to collect personal information, and we do not share data collected from multi-session cookies. Our multi-session cookies are set to expire two years after your last visit to our website. After two years, they are automatically deleted from your computer. HHS is unable to identify an individual by using such technologies.
You can take actions to block cookies by opting out. Blocking session cookies from your computer will not affect your access to the content and tools on our website. Blocking multi-session or persistent cookies may affect the personalization of the information on those sites.
This site is maintained by the U.S. Government. It is protected by federal laws. You can be arrested and prosecuted for violating these laws.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we use software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. In the event of law enforcement investigations and as part of any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.
Content last reviewed on June 10, 2014