Privacy Policy



Thank you for visiting the Department of the Interior website and reviewing our privacy policy.   How we handle information we learn about you from your visit to our website depends upon what you do when visiting our site.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically 

If you visit our site to read or download information, such as consumer brochures or press releases, we will automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  • The name of the Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you are connecting from a university's domain);
  • The IP address (a number that is automatically assigned to your computer when you are using the Internet) from which you access our site;
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
  • The date and time you access our site;
  • The Internet address of the web site from which you linked directly to our site;
  • The country and state from which you access our site;
  • The pages you visit and the information you request; and
  • Search terms used to get to our web site from an external search engine and terms used on our site using our search engine.

This information does not identify you personally.  We do not store any personal identifiers. The information collected is part of a systems log file, and is only used internally for site management purposes.

This information is primarily collected to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas. We use the information we collect to measure the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, and to help us make our site more useful to visitors.

If You Send Us Personal Information 

You do not have to provide personal information to visit our website.  If you choose to provide personal information, such as by sending an e-mail, submitting a form, or filling out a questionnaire or guestbook, we will use the information you provide to respond to you.

Please do not send us sensitive information, such as your credit card or social security numbers, via e-mail. It is possible that during transmission of your e-mail this information may be intercepted by a third party. We cannot guarantee its safety while in transit.

We use personally identifiable information to further our customer's protection and to provide better service. This may be to correct broken links that you have identified or provide additional information that you have requested.

Any information that we collect via a questionnaire or a guestbook may be subject to disclosure, but will be handled in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act to ensure the greatest protection of personal privacy.

We may transfer personal information to a third party only in the following cases:
  • To a bank or United States Department of the Treasury account, which must receive payment for a transaction that you initiated;
  • To a company that is contracted to assist us with specific services, including electronic commerce or donations, and which agrees not to sell or use personal information for other purposes;
  • To legal authorities if we suspect that you are attempting to change or otherwise damage this web site, or you are using it in violation of Federal or local laws;
  • or to Congress or a court in response to a subpoena.

The Department of the Interior does not collect information for commercial marketing purposes.

Information Collected for Tracking and Customization (Cookies)

A cookie is a small file that a website transfers to your computer to allow it to remember specific information about your session while you are connected. Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the website that provided it, and no other website can request it. There are two types of cookies, session and persistent. Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time.

DOI websites may use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site. A few DOI websites may also make use of persistent cookies to remember you between visits so, for example, you can save your customized preference settings for future visits. Each DOI site using persistent cookies identifies itself as doing so. If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can turn them off in your browser. However, this may affect the functioning of some Interior websites.

USA.gov provides instructions for "opting-out" of web measurement and customization technologies, through disabling cookies on your web browser.

Providing Information to Third Parties

DOI may share information with private organizations as part of a service that provides DOI users with increased capabilities or functionality on the site.

AddThis: The "Share" function on some DOI sites is provided by a third party, AddThis. The service provider uses cookies and collects information on visitors who use this feature to share DOI content on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds or other social media or social networking sites. As noted in their privacy policy, AddThis uses this information for its own business purposes, including marketing the information to other parties. AddThis does not collect information from users who do not use the feature.

Google Analytics: "Like many services, Google Analytics uses … cookies to track visitor interactions. These cookies are used to store information, such as what time the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before, and what site referred the visitor to the web page. Browsers do not share … cookies across domains" (from the Google Analytics privacy overview).  The Department of the Interior does not collect personally identifiable information from these third-party tools, nor provide them with additional PII.  We use IP masking in order to share only a portion of the IP address for geolocation.  In addition, Google provides an Opt-out Browser Add-on "to indicate that information about the website visit should not be sent to Google Analytics."  DOI does not endorse and makes no representation about the effectiveness of the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Livestream: Some of our live video is provided by Livestream.com.  It is labeled as such.  According to the Livestream privacy policy, Livestream uses cookies, "pixel tags," any user information that you may choose to provide, as well as other data.  More is available on Livestream's privacy policy page.

SlideShare: Some of our document presentation is provided by SlideShare.com.  It is labeled as such.  According to the SlideShare privacy policy, SlideShare uses cookies, any user information that you may choose to provide, as well as other data. More is available on SlideShare's privacy policy page.

YouTube: Some of our video presentation is provided by YouTube.com.  It is labeled as such.  According to the YouTube privacy policy, YouTube "may record information about your usage of the site, such as the channels, groups and favorites you subscribe to, which other users you communicate with, the videos you watch, the frequency and size of data transfers, and information you display about yourself as well as information you click on in YouTube (including UI elements, settings). If you are logged in, we may associate that information with your YouTube Account."  More is available on YouTube's privacy policy page.

We use information provided by third-party tools to improve our Web presence and the end-user experience.

Links to Other Sites

Our website has links to many other Federal agencies.  In some cases we link to private organizations.  Once you access another site through a link that we provide, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site.  The privacy policies and procedures described here do not apply to any external sites.  We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any site you link to from ours, especially if you share any personal information.

Social Media

The Department of the Interior participates on open forums offered by third-party commercial social media sites in order to increase government transparency, and promote public participation and collaboration with the Department.   Please note that while we encourage candid conversation and frank exchanges of ideas, the Department does not control or endorse the comments or opinions provided by visitors to these social media sites, and cannot attest to the accuracy of the information provided by these sites.

The essential information shared on these third party sites is available on DOI.govDOI.gov is the official source of information from the Department of the Interior.  If you use a site outside the Department of the Interior, you are subject to the privacy and security policies of that site.  

Please visit our DOI Social Media Page for a directory of Department of the Interior bureau and office social media presences, such as those on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.  The Department uses these social media sites as dynamic information sharing tools to access real-time information, for external relations, and to encourage public dialogue.  The Department posts videos, images, and news events on these sites to provide alternative opportunities to disseminate information and content to the public.  Policies related to content, such as videos, images, and audio are posted separately. The Department does not actively seek personal information and will only collect the information necessary for the proper performance of official Departmental functions, or to accomplish a purpose required by statute, executive order, or regulation.  If the Department receives your personal information through interaction with a social media site, it is required to maintain the information in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act to ensure the greatest protection of personal privacy.

In addition to our primary social media channels, each of which has its own privacy policy (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr), DOI uses the bit.ly URL shortener in Twitter and other postings. Bit.ly is “built in” to the Twitterfeed tool, in that it automatically shortens long URLs in Twitter posts. According to its privacy policy, bit.ly uses cookies (see Cookies above). Those cookies are invoked only if the shortened bit.ly URL is clicked.

For further information, please check our Social Media Policy.

Website Security

For site security and to ensure 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.  Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.  Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this site are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

We use virus protection measures on our computer systems and regularly update the software. These are computer security measure that, in addition to maintaining our computer systems, also ensure that all files that we develop and/or post on our web servers are virus-free. When you request a file for download from our site, it is possible, though unlikely, that the data may contract a virus and become corrupted before it reaches your computer. The Department of the Interior is not responsible for files that may become corrupted as the data travels the Internet.
 

For further information

Contact

If you have any questions or comments about the information presented here, please forward them to: 

U.S. Department of the Interior 
Privacy Office 
OS/OCIO, MS-7456 
1849 C Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20240 
Phone: 202-208-1605 
DOI_Privacy@ios.doi.gov