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 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 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.
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, 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 only through the e-mails that you send through this site and the blog entries that you will make at this site. All e-mails sent by you to this site and some blog entries that you make at 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.
Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information
We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this website. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us through an e-mail or blog entry, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law, the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A (Fair Information Practices Act), 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. Information that you submit voluntarily through the Department of Public Health blog, Commonwealth Conversations: Public Health, including your name, city or town, and substance of anything that you post may be disseminated further by being posted online at this website or be publicly discussed by a member of the administration. In addition, blog entries and part or all of the information you send us through e-mails may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. There are other Federal and State laws and regulations which govern the dissemination of personal information related to people seeking or receiving services through EOHHS and its agencies. Please direct any inquiries regarding these laws and regulations to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services at telephone 617-573-1600.
In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit through e-mails will be disclosed 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 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.
Because this site does not encrypt incoming e-mail, you should not send information that you consider highly sensitive through this Web site. We use standard security measures to ensure that your personally identifiable information sent via e-mail 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.
Special Protections Against Misuse Of Personally Identifiable Information Within Commonwealth Offices
In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 504, which enhanced the privacy protections given to any identifiable information about you 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 site complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this site is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504.
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 might 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.
"Weblog" or "Blog" A weblog or blog is a website, 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.