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Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Website Policies

Privacy Policy

A Privacy Partnership

Your privacy with respect to the use of this website results from a partnership between the Commonwealth and you, the user. At this website, we do our best to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible. However, because some of the information that we receive through this website is subject to the Public Records Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10, we cannot ensure absolute privacy. Information that you provide to us through this site may be made available to members of the public under that law. This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at this site and what we do with it. Based on this information, you can make an informed choice about your use of this site. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the Commonwealth by making informed choices about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through this site. The policy that follows applies to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website and does not apply to other sites operated by the Commonwealth, which have their own policies.

Personally Identifiable Information

We use the term "personally identifiable information" to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you. This includes your name, address, e-mail address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any combination of information that could be used for identification purposes.

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This site collects voluntary information from you only through email or the forms you may fill out while accessing this site. This information is only used to fulfill requests for literature or to provide notification of upcoming events and only when you request such information. These emails and online forms do contain personally identifiable information.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Site

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does indefinitely collect and store your Internet Protocol (" IP") address. An " IP Address" is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. The IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information. The IP address provides information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file you have requested exists, and how many " bytes" of information were transmitted to you over the Web from this site. The IP address does not identify you as an individual. We use your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us with your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation.

Additionally, this site uses session " cookies". Cookies are small files that a web server places on your computer. A cookie file contains a unique identification code that is used to identify your session at a particular web site. The web server uses these cookies to maintain information identifying your session as you move from page to page. The cookies do not identify you as an individual and expire when your session has ended. Although you can prevent Web sites from placing cookies on your computer by using your browser's preference menu, disabling cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some web sites. If you set your browser to not accept cookies, you will still be able to use the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's public website.

Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information

We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this Web site. Once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us through e-mail or an on-line form however, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law, the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A (Fair Information Practices Act), Executive Order 504, and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a request for public records.

In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials with a " need to know" for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. They will only use the information to answer your questions, respond to any requests for assistance, and fulfill the Commonwealth's legal obligations. Where appropriate, we may provide the information submitted by you to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters referred to in your communication.

Your Access and Opportunity to Correct

The Public Records Law and the Fair Information Practices Act provide you certain rights regarding information about you that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you can get and correct this information, please click on the above references to these laws.

Security

This website does not encrypt incoming e-mail, so you should not send information that you consider highly sensitive through it. We use standard security measures to ensure that your personally identifiable information is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use 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 attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

When we collect sensitive information such as Social Security Number we use a technology called 'Secure Sockets Layer', (SSL). SSL technology protects data transferred over the Internet by encrypting information so it cannot be accessed or changed. You can confirm that you are on a SSL protected page. Check to make sure the URL begins with "https" rather than "http" and/or look for a padlock icon on the bottom left or bottom right of your browser.

There may be cases where your browser reports insecure items, the padlock is not displayed or is displayed with a red slash. This happens because the page also contains items which do not need to be encrypted such as images, or style sheets.

Nevertheless, if the URL begins with "https" you can be assured that sensitive information such as your account and credit card numbers remain encrypted and secure even though the padlock icon disappears.

Special Protections against Misuse of Personally Identifiable Information within Commonwealth Offices

In 1999, then Governor Cellucci issued Executive Order 412, which enhanced the privacy protection given to any information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 412 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Department. This site complies with Executive Order 412, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this site is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 412.

Policy Changes

We will post changes to this policy at least 30 days before they take effect. Any information we collect under the current privacy policy will remain subject to the terms of this policy. After any changes take effect, all new information we collect, if any, will be subject to the new policy.

Contact Information

For questions about your privacy while using this Web site, please contact the New Media Group, nmg@doe.mass.edu

Last Updated: June 20, 2001
 
Disclaimer: Reference in this web site to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
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