We are committed to the privacy of our visitors. We collect no personal information about you when you visit our Web site unless you choose to provide that information to us.
Here is how we handle information about your visit to our Web site:
Information Collected and Stored Automatically: If you do nothing during your visit but browse through the Web site, read pages or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store information like the following concerning your visit.
- The Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from a university's domain);
- Your IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you access our Web site.
- The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
- The date and time you access our site;
- The pages you visit; and
- If you linked to our Web site from another Web site, the address of that Web site. We use this information to help us make our site more useful to our visitors by allowing us to learn more about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. If such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to appropriate law enforcement officials. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on this server are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act or other law.
Information That You Voluntarily Provide
We do not collect personally-identifiable information unless you choose to provide it to us. If you provide us with personally identifiable information, for example by sending an e-mail or by filling out a form and submitting it through our Web site, we use that information only to respond to your message and to help us provide you with the information and services that you request.
Submitting voluntary information constitutes your consent to the use of the information for the stated purpose. When a user clicks the "Submit" button on any of the Web forms found on our site they are indicating voluntary consent to use of the information they submit for the stated purpose. We do not collect or use information for commercial marketing.
How Information is Used
The information we collect is used for a variety of purposes (e.g., comments on proposed rules, license applications, to respond to requests for information about our regulations and policies and to fill orders). We make every effort to disclose clearly how information is used at the point where it is collected so that our users can determine for themselves whether they wish to provide the information.
Sharing of Information
We may share the information you give us with another government agency if your inquiry relates to that agency. In other limited circumstances, such as responses to requests from Congress and private individuals, we may be required by law to disclose information you submit. Before you submit personally identifiable information, such as on an online form, you will be advised as to the purpose and how the information will be used.
We may also share information collected during your visit with non-federal entities, but only if your inquiry requires accessing data from that external entity. All of our sites that require such external access will be clearly identified to help you make an informed choice.
Third-party Social Media Tools
We use third-party social networking/social media tools as a supplemental channel to promote awareness of National Ocean Service activities, events, news, and information. Those tools include:
Google™ Earth/Google™ Maps
Retention of Information
We destroy the information we collect when the purpose for which it was provided has been fulfilled unless we are required to keep it longer by statute or official policy. Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act and the regulations and records schedules approved by the National Archives and Records Administration, and in some cases information submitted to us may become an agency record and therefore might be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Links to Other Sites
"Cookies" are small bits of text that are either used for the duration of a session ("session cookies"), or saved on a user's hard drive in order to identify that user, or information about that user, the next time the user logs on to a Web site ("persistent cookies"). This Web site does not use persistent cookies or any other persistent tracking technology. One or more of our component sites may use session cookies to provide streamlined navigation. These session cookies are deleted from the component's server after your session ends and information from them is not collected or saved.
Interaction with Children
This Web site may offer educational content to children under 13. No personally identifiable information is collected from them unless voluntarily submitted as a request for information or services. The information collected is used to respond to user inquiries or to provide services requested by our users.
Rights under the Privacy Act
The Privacy Act of 1974 provides safeguards against invasion of personal privacy through the misuse of records by Federal Agencies.
The Privacy Act was passed in 1974 to establish controls over what personal information is collected, maintained, used and disseminated by agencies in the executive branch of the Federal government.
The Privacy Act guarantees three primary rights:
- The right to see records about oneself, subject to Privacy Act exemptions;
- The right to request the amendment of records that are not accurate, relevant, timely or complete; and
- The right of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasion of their privacy resulting from the collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information.
If you are a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, you may make a request for personal information on yourself under the Privacy Act.
Requests made under the Privacy Act will be processed under both the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ensure the greatest access to your personal records.