We do collect some data about your visit to our website to help us better understand how visitors use the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our website. The NIDCD never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NIDCD mission and goals.
Types of Information Collected
You can visit our web pages without telling us who you are. Personally identifiable information (PII) is not collected about you unless you choose to provide that information to us.
We do collect statistics when you access and use our site, but we do not identify you personally. When you browse through our website, certain information is automatically collected about your visit.
The following types of non-personally identifiable information about your visit are collected:
- The domain from which you access the Internet.
- Your IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Web).
- The operating system and information about the browser used when visiting the site, including whether it is a mobile device.
- The date and time of your visit.
- The pages you visited.
- The address of the website that connected you to the NIDCD website (such as google.com or bing.com).
- The keywords you enter into our site's search engine.
We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and to help make our site more useful to visitors.
How Information Is Collected
The types of information cited above are automatically and continuously collected using a web measurement software tool called Google Analytics. No personally identifiable information is collected with this tool. To help us improve our site, we analyze this information by looking for usage trends rather than at individual visits. For example, we look at the total number of users and the parts of the site that are accessed most and least frequently. This information allows us to improve the way the site is designed, making it easier for you to find what you need.
The NIDCD occasionally uses online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors to the site. The surveys do not collect personally identifiable information. The NIDCD currently uses a survey to gather information about the format and usefulness of our health information newsletter, Inside. If you do not take the survey, you will still have access to the identical information and resources at the NIDCD website as those who do take the survey.
The NIDCD retains the data collected as long as needed to support the mission of the NIDCD website.
When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected. The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of web pages.
There are two types of cookies, single session—also called session—(temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.
The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies (105KB PDF; get Adobe Reader) allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.
Temporary Cookies: We use temporary or session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo M-10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1—Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies."
Persistent Cookies: The NIDCD website uses persistent cookies to enable us to differentiate between new and returning visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to the NIDCD website until they expire. The OMB Memo M–10–22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2—Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."
Cookies from the NIDCD web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you.
How To Opt Out or Disable Cookies
If you do not wish to have cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources on the NIDCD website. Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml.
Please note that by following the instructions to opt out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all websites, not just those from the NIDCD.
How Personal Information Is Protected
When inquiries are e-mailed to us, we store the question and the e-mail address so that we can respond electronically. Unless otherwise required by statute, we do not publicly identify people who send questions or comments through our website. We will not obtain information that will allow us to identify you personally when you visit our site, unless you choose to provide us with such information.
E-mail sent to the NIDCD may be seen by a number of people responsible for answering questions and responding to inquiries. Occasionally, an information specialist who opens the e-mail may forward your question to an NIDCD scientist or other staff member who may help provide information for the response.
If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information, that is, information that is personal in nature and which may be used to identify you through an e-mail message, request for information, paper or electronic form, questionnaire, customer satisfaction survey, epidemiology research study, etc., we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication.
We do not forward your mail to other organizations. You should be aware, however, that e-mail is not necessarily secure against interception. If your communication contains sensitive or personal information, you may want to send it by postal mail.
The NIDCD does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required for law enforcement or by statute.
Data Safeguarding and Privacy
All uses of web measurement and customization technologies comply with existing policies with respect to privacy and data safeguarding standards. Information technology (IT) systems owned and operated by the NIH are assessed using Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) posted for public view on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website: www.hhs.gov/pia. The NIH conducts and publishes a PIA for each use of a third-party website and application (TPWA) as they may have a different functionality or practice. TPWA PIAs are posted for public view on the HHS website: http://www.hhs.gov/pia/nih_pia_summaries_
fy12_q2.pdf (7.38MB PDF; get Adobe Reader).
Groups of records that contain information about an individual and are designed to be retrieved by the name or other personal identifier linked to the individual are covered by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a). For these records, the NIH Systems of Record Notices are published in the Federal Register and posted on the NIH Office of the Senior Official for Privacy website. For more information, please refer to the NIH Web Privacy Notice posted on the NIH.gov website.
Data Retention and Access Limits
The NIDCD will retain data collected using the above technologies long enough to achieve the specified objective for which they were collected. The data generated from these activities fall under the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule (GRS) 20-item1c "Electronic Records," and will be handled per the requirements of that schedule (www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/grs/grs20.html).
Links to Non-Federal Websites
The NIDCD is incorporating use of this graphic notice () to indicate that you are leaving the NIDCD (www.nidcd.nih.gov) website and going to a non-federal website. Additional information about NIDCD's external link disclaimer includes the following:
- The external website provides additional information that is consistent with the intended purpose of the NIDCD website.
- The NIDCD cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
- Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by the NIDCD or any of its employees of the sponsors, information, or products presented on the destination site.
For more information on exit notifications and disclaimers for non-federal websites, the following resources may be helpful:
Third-party websites and applications are web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by the NIDCD, such as non-Government-hosted applications and those embedded on an NIDCD web page that could cause personally identifiable information to become available or accessible to the NIDCD, regardless of whether NIDCD solicits or collects it.
As part of the Open Government Directive (www.whitehouse.gov/open/documents/
open-government-directive), the NIDCD uses new technologies and social media options to communicate and interact with citizens. These sites and applications include popular social networking and media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Below, we outline the applications the NIDCD uses and their purposes. If any applications collect your private information, we describe how the NIDCD protects your information.
Facebook: The NIDCD has one Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/NoisyPlanet. The NIDCD staff posts news and other items of interest about noise-induced hearing loss and It's a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing®, a health education campaign to citizens. If you have a Facebook account and "like" the NIDCD's Noisy Planet Facebook page, you can post comments or click on the "like" option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the "like" button, personally identifying information will be visible to NIDCD staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can completely avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments, and not clicking on the "like" options on the Noisy Planet Facebook page.
To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as name, user name, password, and e-mail address. Visitors have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location, or picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the Twitter.com website.
All NIDCD videos posted on YouTube are also posted on the NIDCD or Noisy Planet (www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/) websites.