Revised: 7/7/2011

Welcome to the Department of Veterans' Services ("DVS") Web site. Your privacy is one of our top priorities. The following policy applies only to the use of the DVS Web site. Web sites operated by other state agencies may have different policies. We strongly suggest that you read the privacy policies for each Commonwealth Web site 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 this Web site results from a partnership between the DVS and you, the user. At this Web site, we attempt to utilize the maximum feasible measures reasonably needed to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of "personal information," as defined in Chapter 93H, and "personal data," as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A, maintained by state agencies. However, certain information that you provide to us through this site may be made available to members of the public under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, § 10. 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 DVS by making informed choices about the information you share us through this site. Declarations, affidavits and other papers filed by claimants and records kept by DVS are treated in accordance with M.G.L. c. 66, § 18 and are not public records. Requests for records of DVS should be directed to DVS as follows:

General Counsel
MA Department of Veterans' Services
600 Washington St., 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111

Applications for Veterans' Benefits

DVS does not accept applications for veterans' benefits. Rather, the Veterans' Service Officer (VSO) of the municipality (or district) within which the applicant for veterans' benefits resides is the person designated by law to accept and submit applications to DVS for the applicant. Therefore, if you communicate with DVS by the internet or via e-mail, then you should not reveal any confidential information about a pending application for benefits.

Personal Information and Personal Data

We use the terms "personal information," as defined in M.G.L. c. 93H, and "personal data," as defined under the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), M.G.L. c. 66A, to mean any information maintained by state agencies that could reasonably be used to identify someone, including any information concerning an individual which, because of name, identifying number, mark or description can be readily associated with a particular individual such as names, addresses, e-mail addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, or any combination of information that could be used to identify someone. The provisions of chapter 93H and the FIPA, apply to such personal information and personal data.

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This site collects voluntary information from you only through the e-mails that you send to us.

Special Protections against Misuse of Personal Information within Commonwealth Offices

On September 19, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 504 , which enhanced the privacy protection afforded to information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personal information within the Executive Department. This site complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personal information and personal data that you submit to this site is afforded the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504 section 18 of chapter 66 of the general laws, the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), and other applicable laws and regulations.

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 DVS and its parent agency, 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 Personal Information and Personal Data

We will not attempt to match any personal information or personal data 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 law enforcement investigation. We do not sell any personal information or personal data collected through this Web site. However, once you voluntarily submit personal information or personal data to us through an e-mail, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law, the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), 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 public records request.

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 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 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 personal information and personal data 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.

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

For questions about your privacy while using this Web site, please contact the DVS Webmaster at hkruckenberg@vet.state.ma.us.