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County of Santa Clara Information Privacy Policy

Last modified: 5/7/2012 9:42 AM

1.      PRIVACY

Purpose of Policy

This policy addresses: what personal information about visitors is collected on this site; how private information is held; how it will be used; and under what conditions this information may be shared or released to another party.

Santa Clara County (County) policies exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate data/information possessed by County government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the disclosure of data/information provided by County policies, and State and Federal laws. These exceptions include the privacy of individuals. Information collected at this site becomes public record and may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless an exception in law exists.

During your visit to the County's website, information that is not readily identifiable to an individual may be automatically collected and stored. The following sections of our Web Privacy Policy explain these uses:

A. Information That May Be Collected And How It May Be Used

B. Personal Information and Choice

C. Public Disclosure

D. Access To and Correction of Personal Information

E. Cookies

F. Security

G. Disclaimer

H. Feedback

1.1.   Information That May Be Collected & How It May Be Used

If you do nothing during your visit to the County website but browse or download information, we may automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  • The Internet Protocol (IP) address and domain name used, but not the email address. The IP address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet Service Provider or directly to your computer. We use the IP address to direct Internet traffic to you;
  • The type of browser and operating system you used and your connection speed;
  • The date and time you visited this site;
  • The web pages or services you accessed at this site; and
  • The website you visited prior to coming to this website.

The information we collect or store is used to improve the content of our Web services and to help us understand how people are using our services. Additionally, the data we collect helps us route Web traffic and track down viruses and attacks against our site. Our website logs do not identify anyone personally, and we make no attempt to link them with the individuals that browse the County website.

If during your visit to the County website you participate in a survey or send an email, the following additional information will be collected:

  • E-mail correspondence: The e-mail address and contents of the e-mail;
  • Surveys: Any information you volunteered in response to a survey.

The information collected may not be limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us. The information is retained in accordance with the County's policies. Santa Clara County may use your email to respond to your message, to assist in obtaining information you have requested, to address issues you identify, to further improve our website, or to forward the email to another agency for appropriate action. Survey information will be used for the purpose designated.

If you choose to become a registered user you must supply an email address and password. The email address will serve as your user ID, and it will be displayed in any messages you post on message boards. You should not register with an email address you do not want the public to see.

1.2.   Personal Information and Choice

"Personal information" is information about an individual that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes personal identifiers such as an individual's name, address, and phone number. A domain name or IP address is not considered personal information.

We will not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily participate in an activity that asks for information (i.e. sending an e-mail or participating in a survey). If you choose not to participate in these activities, your choice will in no way affect your ability to use any other feature of the County's website.

If you choose to provide the County with personal information, such as sending an e-mail to a County employee or by filling out and submitting an online form located on the County’s website, the County will treat such e-mails and submitted online forms the same way it treats letters to a Board member or to a County department.

The collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children on-line or by email will be treated the same as information provided by an adult.

1.3.   Public Disclosure

We strive to protect personally identifiable information by collecting only information necessary to deliver our services. All information that may be collected at this site becomes public record that may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless an exemption in law exists. For instance, if personal information is requested or volunteered, County rules and regulations or the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it from disclosure.

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Policy and any applicable law governing the disclosure or protection of information, the governing law will dictate the action to be taken by the County.

1.4.   Access to and Correction of Personal Information

You can submit a written request to review any personal information we collect about you. You may recommend changes to your personal information you believe is in error by submitting a written request that credibly shows the error. If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact us. In all cases, we will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections.

1.5.   Cookies

1.5.1.        What Is A Cookie?

A cookie is a small data file which may include an anonymous unique identifier that is sent to your browser from a website's computers and may either be used only during your session (a "session" cookie) or may be stored on your computer's hard drive (a "persistent" cookie). Cookies can contain data about user movement during the visit to the website. If your browser software is set to allow cookies, a website can send its own cookie to you.

1.5.2.        Why Are Cookies Used On Websites?

Cookies are a mechanism for maintaining continuity during a user's visit to a website. They allow data to be maintained for users' benefit as they navigate a site. This is referred to as "session" or "management" cookie. These cookies go away when you terminate your visit to the website as they are maintained only in your browser's active memory during your session.

Cookies also may be stored on your computer so that you can be recognized by a website on subsequent visits. They are read by the website that set them whenever you re-visit the website. They are often used on websites that require you to login so that you can avoid having to enter all of your login information every visit. They may store information on your unique identifier and the areas of the website you have visited before. These cookies are stored on your computer's hard drive after you have left your website visit and consequently are often referred to as "persistent" cookies.

1.5.3.        Choices About Cookies

You can configure your browser to accept all cookies, reject all cookies, or notify you when a cookie is set. (Each browser is different, so check the "Help" menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences.)

1.5.4.        Regarding Cookies

Presently, the County uses persistent cookies on some of its Web applications.

1.6.   Security

The County has taken several steps to safeguard the integrity of its telecommunications and computing infrastructure. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation and day-to-day practices of the entire operating environment as part of its continuing commitment to risk management. Nevertheless, in all fairness the County does not guarantee the absolute security of information it maintains.

Please see the County’s Security Policy for more information.

1.7.   Disclaimer

Santa Clara County has links to other websites. These may include links to websites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no longer on the County website and this Privacy Policy will not apply. When you link to another website, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new site. 

Please see the County’s Links Policy for more information.

1.8.   Feedback

To offer comments about Santa Clara County websites, or to comment about the information presented in this Privacy Policy, email the County’s webmaster at: webmaster@isd.sccgov.org.  The County may choose to amend the information privacy policy without notice.  Any substantial change in the way identifying information is used by the County will be prominently displayed on the County’s web site.