Revised: 7/7/2011

Welcome to the Mass.Gov Portal website. Your privacy is one of our top priorities. The following policy applies only to the use of the Mass.Gov Portal website. As you navigate the Portal, you will see links that, when clicked, will take you to other websites operated by state agencies. These websites have individual privacy policies tailored to the interactions available through each site. You may also see links that will take you to websites external to Massachusetts state government. In particular, please note that although some of the social media pages used by the Mass.Gov might appear to be part of this website or at a webpage under the Mass.Gov Portal control, some of these sites are actually hosted by a third party provider. Thus when visiting these third party social media sites, you are subject to different privacy policies and terms of service. Please review Mass.Gov Portal's Social Media Policy to review more detailed information on how the Mass.Gov Portal uses specific social media sites and for links to the relevant terms of service and privacy policies for those sites. We strongly suggest that you read the privacy policies for each Commonwealth website that you visit, and any external site that you visit through a link appearing at this site.

A Privacy Partnership

Your privacy with respect to the use of the Mass.Gov Portal results from a partnership between the Commonwealth and you, the user. At this website, we attempt 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, what we do with it, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. Based on this information, you can make an informed decision about your use of this site. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the Commonwealth by making informed decisions about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through this site.

Personally Identifiable Information

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

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This site collects voluntary information from you through surveys, e-mails, and any comments posted on social media pages hosted by this website (such as blogs or wikis). All such information, including comments and E-mails sent by you to this site will contain personally identifiable information.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Site

This website employs the use of "Persistent Cookies." The purpose of these Persistent Cookies is to collect and aggregate data regarding the site's visitor activity in order for EOHHS to continuously evaluate and update its website services. You may elect to disable the Persistent Cookies. Please be advised that disabling the Persistent Cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with this website. The site also collects and stores indefinitely your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, which does not identify you as an individual, as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file requested from your website exists, and how many "bytes" of information were transmitted to your website over the Web from this site. 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.

Data Usage

In addition, we use a tool called "Google Analytics" to collect information about use of this site. Google Analytics collects information such as how often users visit this site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this site. We use the information we get from Google Analytics only to improve this site. Google Analytics collects only the IP address assigned to you on the date you visit this site, rather than your name or other identifying information. We do not combine the information collected through the use of Google Analytics with personally identifiable information. Although Google Analytics plants a permanent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but Google. Google's ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Use and the Google Privacy Policy. The Google Analytics Terms of Use are available online at http://www.google.com/analytics/tos.html. The Google Privacy Policy is available online at http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser.

This site also uses a survey tool called ForeSee™ provided by ForeSee Results. ForeSee collects voluntary information from you through surveys posted at this website. Surveys may collect personally identifiable information you voluntarily submit, such as name, e-mail address or phone number, so that we may contact you for follow up to your question, concern or recommendation. We use the information we get from ForeSee only to improve this site. ForeSee also collects data such as browser information, operating system, and page views through the implementation of session cookies. We do not combine the information collected through the use of ForeSee with any other personally identifiable information not voluntarily provided by you through your survey responses. Although ForeSee plants a persistent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but ForeSee Results. ForeSee Results' ability to use and share information collected by ForeSee about your visits to this site is restricted by the ForeSee Results' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The ForeSee Results' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy are available online at http://www.foreseeresults.com.You can opt out of ForeSee collecting information via the survey by declining to participate in the survey when the invitation pops up on the site. If you do opt out of completing the survey or you have completed a survey, ForeSee uses a persistent cookie so that it does not offer the survey to you again when you revisit this website. You may prevent ForeSee from using persistent cookies by disabling cookies on your browser. Disabling cookies will in turn prevent ForeSee from recognizing you on return visits and thus ForeSee may present you with the survey questionnaire upon a return visit given that it will not have any means to recognize that you've opted out on a previous visit.

Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information

We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this website or submitted to the Commonwealth in conjunction with using functions on the website, and there is no direct or online public access to the information. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us related to your use of the Portal, its dissemination is governed by the "Public Records Law," the "Fair Information Practices Act (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A),  Executive Order No. 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 public records request. There are pieces of information, such as credit card numbers, TIN, username, or password that are not considered public for the purposes of a public records request. For more information on types of data exempted from disclosure under the Public Records Law, please read the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Public Records Law.

In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials, or those under contract with the Commonwealth, with a "need to know" for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. The information will be used for such purposes as; answering your questions, responding to any requests for assistance, generating summary statistics about usage, auditing applications and detecting fraud, aiding in the planning, design and development of the Mass.Gov Portal, and fulfilling the Commonwealth's legal obligations.

We will collect and aggregate the information you provide through surveys for purposes of market research to improve this Portal by making it more responsive to customer needs. Where appropriate, we may provide the information submitted by you through an e-mail 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 to get 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

Because information sent to the Commonwealth is not encrypted, you should not send messages containing information that you consider highly sensitive to this website. We use standard security measures to ensure that information provided by you, including your personally identifiable information, is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use software 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.

Special Protections Against Misuse Of Personally Identifiable Information Within Commonwealth Offices

In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 504, 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 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Department and requires Executive Department agencies to greatly enhance the security and integrity of such data. This website complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this website is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504.

Policy Changes

We will post substantive 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 website, please contact Susan Parker, Director of Portal Services, at susan.parker@state.ma.us.

Definitions

Cookies are files that a website can place on your computer. A cookie file contains unique information that a website can use to track such things as your password, lists of Web pages you have visited, and the date when you last looked at a specific Web page, or to identify your session at a particular website. A cookie file allows the website to recognize you as you click through pages on the site and when you later revisit the site. A website can use cookies to "remember" your preferences, and to record your browsing behavior on the Web. Although you can prevent websites 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 websites.

An "Internet Protocol Address" or "IP Address" is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An 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.

"Social Media". A social media website is a website on a social media application that is usually maintained by an individual and has regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. A social media identity is a specific user identity that has been registered on a third party social media site and is associated with the Agency. Government social media sites or identities typically provide forums for commentary or news on topics related to the government agency that hosts the social media site or has secured the social media identity. A typical social media site (whether hosted by the Agency or a third party) combines text, images, and links to other websites including blogs, wikis, and other media related to the topic and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.

"Weblog" or "Blog". A weblog or blog is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Government blogs typically provide commentary and news on topics related to the government agency hosting the blog. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.

"Wiki". A wiki is a website that uses collaboration software to enable the creation of a number of interlinked web pages. Many authors can contribute to the website and upload content to the site. Government wikis typically provide a venue for commentary and discussion regarding topics related to the government agency hosting the wiki. A typical wiki combines text, images, and links to other web pages outside the wiki also related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.