In order to improve the content and usability of this website, the City of New York (the “City”) automatically collects several categories of information from users. This information includes the following:
1. The apparent Internet Protocol (“IP”) address of your Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) and/or your computer, if your computer has an IP address assigned directly to it. 1
2. The apparent Fully Qualified Domain Name (“Domain Name”) of your Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) and/or your computer, if your computer has a domain name assigned directly to it. 2
3. The type of browser (such as, for example Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) used and the operating system resident on a user’s computer.
4. The date and time a user visited the site.
5. The web pages accessed at the site, as well as any applications used and forms data.
6. The Uniform Resource Locator (“URL”) of the site which a user visited prior to NYC.gov (if detectable), if such user did not connect directly to NYC.gov, or use it as a homepage or “Portal”.
The City uses this information to identify site performance needs; to ensure compatibility with the technology used by NYC.gov’s visitors, and to generally add and improve services offered on NYC.gov. In order to accomplish those goals, from time to time, the City may conduct statistical analysis of the data it collects.
7. The City does not collect data for commercial or marketing purposes, 3 and the City does not sell, exchange, or otherwise distribute the data collected by NYC.gov for commercial or marketing purposes.
Information Submitted to NYC.gov
During a session on NYC.gov, a user may affirmatively submit information to the City by, among other means, electronic mail (“e-mail”), filling in and submitting an on-line form, screening for benefits and services, or electing to personalize NYC.gov and use it as a customized portal. Such affirmatively submitted information is stored in a secure environment, and will be used by the City in furtherance of its duties and/or obligations to its citizenry (i.e., “governmental purposes”). 4
The governmental purposes to which your affirmatively submitted information may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Helping the City respond to a request for information not readily available from NYC.gov
2. Investigating a problem reported to the City via NYC.gov 5
3. Keeping lists of parties interested in some particular issue or facet of New York City life about which the City anticipates issuing further information in the future.
4. Sending informational updates and conducting outreach on topics such as, but not limited to, public benefits and services and upcoming City events.
5. Sharing information with other City agencies or offices or other government agencies for the limited purpose of facilitating services and benefits, in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
6. Disclosure of such information pursuant to a request made under Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) or court order, if such information is not protected by federal, or state, or local law. 6
The City does not rent or sell personally identifiable information (e.g., information such as name, address, phone number, e-mail, etc., or other information that identifies or could lead to the identification of a user as a particular person), nor would the City exchange or trade such information with third-parties without a user’s explicit permission. The City does not disclose credit card or other personally identifiable financial information other than as necessary to complete a credit card or other financial transaction, or upon explicit permission from the applicable user. All such use by the City of financial information shall be subject to the section of this policy on financial issues, set forth below.
If a NYC.gov user has elected not to receive further information from the City, NYC.gov will not send such information. If a NYC.gov user has elected to receive further communication from the City, NYC.gov will only send information in categories that are authorized by the user. If NYC.gov sends electronic mail (“e-mail”) to a user, such e-mail is NOT confidential, 7 and is identical in nature to that information generally available to the public and news media.
Security and Monitoring
1. In certain instances, a user may have the opportunity to receive or create a password to access or submit personally identifiable information. One should not divulge a password to anyone, and the City will never ask a user for a password in a telephone call, fax, e-mail or other form of unsolicited communication. When a user is finished with an application or applications that are password protected, such user should exit the relevant page(s). If the browser used to access said password protected pages is a publicly-accessible browser, users should close down the entire session and, if applicable or possible, flush any temporary caches or other areas where such a password might be stored subsequent to use, and log out of all applications.
2. The City has integrated industry standard or better security measures and systems into the design, implementation and day to day operation of NYC.gov and its underlying servers and networks. 8 Furthermore, the City maintains ongoing efforts to identify and/or block unauthorized intrusions into or onto NYC.gov, and to upload to or change information on or otherwise cause damage to NYC.gov or the information resident hereon or submitted hereto. 9
3. The act of using NYC.gov constitutes the User’s express consent to the City’s monitoring of all uses of the system. If such monitoring reveals possible evidence of criminal activity or any other unauthorized use, system administration personnel may provide your information to law enforcement or other officials, as authorized or required by law.
Cookies are text files, or entries in larger files, utilized to distinguish between visitors to a website, and to track information during multiple visits to a website. The City uses “temporary cookies” 10 on some parts of NYC.gov, and such temporary cookies expire upon the end of the browsing session. This website and NYC.gov generally, do not use “persistent cookies.” 11 However, if a user registers to use NYC.gov as a customized portal, the City uses a persistent cookie to facilitate such customization. The City may also use persistent cookies to understand the distribution and patterns of unique and repeat visitors for 311 Online and other sites on NYC.gov to enhance their accessibility.
Web Bugs (a/k/a Web Beacons)
NYC.gov does not use web bugs 12 on its web pages or in any html e-mail generated by use of the portal, or otherwise sent from NYC.gov, for any purpose other than to identify site performance needs; to ensure compatibility with the technology used by NYC.gov’s visitors, and to generally add and improve services offered on NYC.gov.
No applications on NYC.gov specifically solicit information from minors or seek to determine whether the visitor is a minor. Consequently, because such information will not be specifically identified as being from minors, users of NYC.gov should be aware that personally identifiable information submitted to NYC.gov by minors will be subject to being treated in the same manner as information given by an adult and may become subject to FOIL.
The City strongly believes that parental supervision is an important factor in Internet use by minors. Therefore, NYC.gov asks parents to guide their minor children when children are asked to provide any personal information online. NYC.gov further asks that children ask for and receive their parent’s permission before providing any information online.
Health Care Information
Any agency subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its regulations (collectively, “HIPAA”) that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits via NYC.gov any Protected Health Information (“PHI”), as that term is defined by HIPAA, must comply with HIPAA’s Privacy and Security Rules. The agency must also require its Business Associates, as that term is defined by HIPAA, to comply with HIPAA when, on behalf of the agency, each such Business Associate creates, receives, maintains, or transmits PHI hosted by NYC.gov. Nothing stated herein shall be interpreted to diminish the compliance requirements imposed by any other applicable law or City policy.
Third Party Links
The content of NYC.gov’s webpages is copyrighted, and contains some third party images/graphics that are used with permission. Users are notified, therefore, that one should presume the need to obtain permission from the copyright holder before reproducing or otherwise using images/graphics from this website.
NYC.gov may change this policy from time to time, and reserves the right to do so without notice.
Privacy Statement Footnotes
1 An IP address is a numeric value assigned to an Internet Service Provider, a computer network, an individual computer or router, or a firewall (collectively, “users”) so that other computers on the Internet may direct Internet message or other traffic to such users. Until the IP addressing system is changed, an IP address will take the form of XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX, where the X’s are numbers between 1 and 9, and 0 for some positions. The term “user” may also refer to an individual who has created an account on NYC.gov and any of its subpages.
2 A Domain Name is an alphanumeric value that represents the plain language (English or such other local language as is relevant) translation of the IP address assigned to a specific user or collection of users. For example, if a user had an IP address of 22.214.171.124, the Domain Name that represented that address might be WWW.HOME.COM.
3 Commercial and non-commercial marketing purposes include, for the purposes of this policy, Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail (colloquially known as “SPAM” e-mail), targeted e-mail for the purpose of selling products, or the sale or exchange of personally identifiable information between parties that anticipate receiving value in exchange for such information.
4 The City of New York’s duties and obligations toward its citizens are set forth in the City Charter and in all applicable and relevant federal, state, and local law.
5 When the City is investigating a problem reported to NYC.gov, the information you have submitted through NYC.gov may be seen by various people. Among other City actions, we may enter the information you send into our electronic database to share it with our attorneys and investigators involved in law enforcement or public policy development. We may also share it with a variety of other government agencies enforcing consumer protection, competition, and other laws. You may be contacted by any of those agencies.
6 Pursuant to Article 6 of NYS Public Officers Law 87, certain categories of information may be exempt from such disclosure under FOIL including, but not limited to, records whose disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under 89(2) of Article 6, or might endanger the life or safety of any person.
7 E-mail is generally not secure against interception. If a communication is very sensitive, or includes personal information like a bank account, charge card, or other personal information, it is more prudent to send such communication by postal mail instead.
8 The City maintains user registration information behind a “firewall” and limits accessibility to such information to only those few employees that have special access rights to production systems. Sensitive information submitted by users is transmitted by Secure Socket Layer (“SSL”) technology and encrypted.
9 For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, the City employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act, and such other federal, state or local law as is applicable.
10 Temporary or “Session Cookies” are cookie files that last or are valid only during an active communications connection, measured from beginning to end, between computer or applications (or some combination thereof) over a network.
11 Persistent cookies are cookie files that remain upon a user’s hard drive until affirmatively removed, or until expired as provided for by a pre-set expiration date.
12 A web bug is a clear, camouflaged or otherwise invisible graphics image format (“GIF”) file placed upon a web page or in hypertext markup language (“HTML”) e-mail and used to monitor who is reading a web page or the relevant email. Web bugs can also be used for other monitoring purposes such a profiling of the affected party.
13 These third parties are computers, computer networks, ISPs, or application service providers (“ASPs”) that are non-governmental in nature and have direct control of what information is automatically gathered, whether cookies are used, and how voluntarily provided information is used.