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Information Collected and Stored Automatically
When you browse or download information during a visit to the USPSTF Web site, certain information about you can be collected and temporarily stored. This information is the following standard data collected by all Web server software:
- The Internet Protocol (IP) address and domain name used for the user's connection (but not the user's personal E-mail address).
- The type of browser and operating system used to access the site.
- The date and time the user visited the site.
- The Web pages or services the user accessed at this site.
- The Web site the user visited prior to coming to this Web site. (Note: this information is included so that summary analysis can be done on how visitors get to this site—i.e., from a search engine, from a link on another site, etc.)
We do not track individual user navigation choices. We do, however, summarize the information listed above to determine:
- Types of browsers being used to access this site to ensure the site pages are developed for compatibility (item 2 above).
- How often our pages are being visited (item 4 above).
- The traffic from organization names such as search engines that direct people to the site (item 5 above).
Collection and Use of Personal Information
We do not collect personal information on this site for any purpose other than to respond to the user (for example, to respond to your feedback or questions).
If you choose to provide us with additional information about yourself through an E-mail message, form, survey, etc., we use that information only to respond to your message or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. The information provided is handled on a confidential basis.
Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act* and regulations and guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration and in some cases may be subject to the Privacy Act.* If information that you submit is to be used in a Privacy Act system of records, there will be a Privacy Act Notice provided. However, E-mail is not necessarily secure against interception. If your message is sensitive, you may prefer to send it by postal mail instead.
When you visit certain Web Sites, your Web servers generate pieces of information known as cookies. Some cookies collect personal information to recognize your computer in the future; this is not the case at the USPSTF Web Site, which uses only non-persistent cookies or "per-session cookies." These cookies do not collect personal information on users and they are erased as soon as you leave our site. Per-session cookies serve technical purposes, like providing seamless navigation through the USPSTF Web Site. These cookies do not permanently record data and they are not stored on your computer's hard drive. Our site's cookies are stored in memory and are only available during an active browser session. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this site may monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. If security monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, system personnel may provide the results of such monitoring to appropriate officials. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.
Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the State law and Federal statutes, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996.
The USPSTF Web site contains several layers of security. Any data that comes to your computer or leaves your computer through the USPSTF Web site is protected by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Encryption is the process of scrambling the contents of a file so that the file is completely unreadable. This double encryption follows the data from your computer to the application server to the database where it is stored in its protected state. The data remains on the USPSTF database until it is accessed by its intended recipient, at which time it is automatically decrypted or unscrambled.
Links to Other Web Sites
* Because the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is mandated by the U.S. Congress to provide administrative, research, technical, and dissemination support to the USPSTF, the information provided by and submitted to the USPSTF is subject to Federal regulations regarding privacy, accessibility, retention, and dissemination.
Current as of July 2010