Privacy Policy

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Terms and Conditions for Using Our Web Site

Privacy Statement

Thank you for visiting the LINCS.ed.gov web site (“Web site”) presented by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and for reviewing our privacy policy. Our policy is simple: We collect no personal information about you unless you choose to provide that information to us. We do not sell any personal information to a third party. This policy explains how we handle the personally identifiable information (PII) that you provide to us. It also explains that we collect some technical information that does not include PII when you visit to make your visit seamless. If you want to know more about how we collect and record non-personal information about your visit or how we collect and use information that you voluntarily submit, read on.

Personal Information

Some of our web pages (such as our customization feature, and our registration for the LINCS Community of Practice) let you voluntarily submit personal information for increased convenience and functionality. In those cases, we will provide a specific Terms of Use notice before you begin submitting any personal information, explaining how your information will be safeguarded. Regardless, we will collect personal information only as necessary to identify individuals using the system, and the information will be used only for that purpose or as required by law. We will allow you to customize your LINCS account by submitting your name, e-mail address, zip code, and password. For sites that allow posting, such as the LINCS Community of Practice, a valid logon will be required to post content, to customize site features, and to respond to forum posts within the LINCS Community. This is entirely voluntary, and you will be able to fully utilize the functionality of this web site if you choose to not create an account.

If you include personally identifiable information (PII), such as name or email address, in feedback provided to us through the use of the web site, e-mail, social media or otherwise, because you want us to address issues specific to your situation, we may use that information in responding to your request. In other limited circumstances, including requests from Congress or limited other parties, we may be required by law to disclose information that you submit. At no time should account holders include sensitive PII such as a password or social security number in messages within these forums. We also may disclose your PII to our contractors that enter into non-disclosure agreements with us. Because e-mail is not necessarily secure against interception, please only e-mail us information that is necessary to help us process your request. The Privacy Impact Assessment for LINCS can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/notices/pia/index.html, under the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

Creation of Personalized Account by Registered Users

If you voluntarily register through the web site or the LINCS Community to create a user account, we will ask for your e-mail address, zip code, and secure password so that we can deploy technology that will remember a user’s online interactions through multiple sessions. This will allow you to create and modify e-mail preferences and to save these for future visits to the site. Other information is optional but may be needed to complete specific tasks within the site. Identification of users allows us to support content contributed by the public and to provide a more personalized experience of our web sites. Registration is not required to generate searches or for other read-only access to the site. You may opt out of the registration portion of the website simply by not registering.

E-mail Communications

Please do not send us sensitive information, such as your credit card, bank account, or social security numbers, via e-mail. LINCS personnel do not require this information, will never request it, and it is possible that during transmission of your e-mail this information may be intercepted by a third party. We cannot guarantee its security while in transit.
We use return e-mail addresses to answer the e-mails we receive.

Although questions, comments, and other communications that we receive generally are not retained as permanent records, please note that it is possible that any mail - electronic or paper - that we or any other Federal agency receive could be permanently retained by the agency, if the mail is part of a group of records determined to have permanent historical value.

Information You Provide to Us

You may affirmatively request and join (or subscribe) to our email lists by sending us your e-mail address using the subscribe feature of the service. Conversely, you may contact us to opt out (or unsubscribe) from the email list. We will not sell or rent your e-mail address.

Information Collected from Interactive Forms

On some of our web pages we offer interactive forms that let you voluntarily submit personal information (such as your e-mail address, name, or organization). We will use all submitted information only for the purposes of administering the LINCS outreach campaign and the information is only made available to LINCS web site management partners or as required by law.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If you visit our site to read or download information, the following information is collected and stored about your visit for statistical analysis and technical improvements to the site:

  • 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.

LINCS uses software programs to create summary statistics, which may be 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. This information is maintained as long as it is viable, and it does not include personally identifiable data. If you do nothing during your visit but browse through the web site, read pages, or download information, our web site's operating system will automatically record some general information about your visit for web site statistics and performance analysis. Visitors to this web site who have JavaScript enabled, which is typically a default setting in most browsers, are tracked using Google Analytics and single session cookies, Google Analytics is used to provide aggregated statistics on how the Web site is used so that we may optimize the performance of the web site for future releases. Google Analytics uses single-session cookies which are technologies, described below, that remember a user’s online interactions within a single session or visit and is not later reused and is deleted immediately after the session ends. Google Analytics collects IP addresses along with additional non-personal information. Google Analytics data is shared with Google as a condition of its use. To learn more about Google Analytics privacy, please visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/analytics/privacyoverview.html.

Cookies

"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"). Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the web site that provided it and no other web site can request it. The LINCS web site and its component sites may use persistent cookies. By default, we use cookies to enable more streamlined navigation and for statistical analysis to make improvements to our web site. A few of our web sites 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 LINCS site using persistent cookies identifies itself as doing so.

  • We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about visitors. We will not share any information we collect with anyone outside of LINCS.
  • The usage of cookies in this way is considered a Tier 2 under the Office of Management and Budget’s Memorandum 10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies.
  • If you wish to disable cookies and opt out of this process, you can find opt-out instructions on usa.gov. Disabling cookies will not restrict your access to the core content of the web site.

We use persistent cookies on LINCS for users that have set browsing preferences on the LINCS system to provide the functionality requested by the web user, across browser sessions. Cookies reduce the burden on visitors to the site by storing data that is used to re-authenticate the user to the web server software, eliminating repeated requests for login information and providing the state of the current session.

Cookies will:

  • Expire 60 days after being set
  • Store web user preferences, where individual accounts are not used
  • Collect any information about visitors
  • Track the web surfing activities of visitors
  • Indicate whether a visitor answered any questions

Opting Out of Google Analytics and Cookies

You may opt out of Google Analytics by disabling JavaScript within your browser or using the Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-On. Disabling Google Analytics or JavaScript still permits you to access comparable information or services. To disable JavaScript, refer to your vendor’s browser instruction guide (e.g., Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox).

To opt out of cookies, you should refer to http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml, which contains general instructions on how the public can opt out of some of the most commonly used web measurement and customization technologies.

Links to Other Sites

Our policy discloses the privacy practices for the LINCS web site. But ED provides links to other web sites. We provide links from our web pages to external web sites because they provide information that may interest our customers. External links do not constitute an endorsement by LINCS of the opinions, products, or services presented on the external site, or of any sites linked to it. LINCS is not responsible for the legality or accuracy of information on externally linked sites, or for any costs incurred while using externally linked sites.

When you leave the LINCS web site, you will be going to sites that are beyond our control. These other sites may send their own cookies to users, collect data, or solicit personal information. The privacy policies and procedures described here for LINCS do not apply to any external links. We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any site you link to from ours, before you share any personal information with them. Be informed. You are the person best qualified to protect your own privacy.

External links are intended to support LINCS’s mission. They are not intended to support private or commercial organizations or businesses. Links to .org, .gov, .edu, .mil or other non-profit sites that share educational and documentary interests inherent to LINCS’s mission are encouraged because of their general non-commercial, public-interest nature. Links to .com, .net, and other commercial domains are acceptable if supportive of customers’ needs and relevant to LINCS’s mission. In cases where LINCS links to external web portals, parties that wish to be included among the portal's links should contact the owner of the portal.

Links to external web sites may be removed if the web sites lobby or solicit the Federal government on positions of fiscal or political nature, or if they receive funds or revenue for volume of traffic delivered from LINCS to the external site where the site is not an official partner of LINCS.

LINCS reserves the right to review links and add or remove links at any time for any reason consistent with Federal policy or LINCS guidance.

Social Media

In accordance with the Open Government Directive, LINCS has a presence on several Web 2.0/social media platforms. Each of these sites provides visitors with a unique way to interact with LINCS and helps us to open our collections to the public. LINCS’ official presence on a social media platform is marked by the use of a LINCS logo.

We are using third-party social media sites to provide ED content in formats that may be useful or interesting. LINCS does not collect personally identifiable information through these social media platforms, as outlined in Privacy Impact Assessments. We will collect no PII about you using third party social media sites unless you choose to provide that information to us, and the LINCS team will review and monitor the PII that becomes available through these third-party social media sites. Any PII collected through the use of third-party social media sites will not be shared internally outside of the LINCS team. PII that becomes available through the use of third-party social media sites will be used solely by authorized individuals in the performance of their duties in responding to your feedback as part of a conversation.

We will mitigate the risk of using third-party social media sites by: (a) directly linking to this privacy notice from the social media site, if possible; (b) including links on the LINCS web site to our official social-media pages and accounts; (c) using the LINCS logo on our social media pages and accounts to make it clear that this is an ED site related to LINCS; and (d) providing comparable information and services through the LINCS web site or other official means. For example, members of the public will be able to learn about our activities and to communicate with us without having to join a third-party social media web site. In addition, if we use a third-party service to solicit feedback, we will provide an alternative government e-mail address where users can also send feedback.

The privacy policies and procedures described here for LINCS do not apply to any social media sites (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn). We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any site that you link to from ours, before you share any personal information with them. Be informed. You are the person best qualified to protect your own privacy.

Embedded Applications

On occasion, LINCS will embed media in its sites. For example, embedded videos and slideshows are most common on blogs providing online and interactive instructional content. When we embed media from a third party, it is to enhance the visitor’s experience. Where possible, we embed the media in a way that minimizes the use of cookies. Third party hosts of the embedded media do not collect personally identifiable information (PII) on behalf of LINCS. Any PII they collect on their own behalf is not shared with LINCS.

Disclaimer of Endorsement

Reference to specific commercial businesses, products, processes, or services by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, on any web site administered by LINCS does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or by the U.S. Department of Education. Recognition of commercial businesses, institutions, and organizations mentioned on any web site administered by LINCS that relate, for example, to our development initiatives and partnerships does not imply endorsement by the Government.

LINCS’s presence on any third party web site, including any social media platform, does not constitute or imply its endorsement of the site. Nor does LINCS endorse any social media provider when embedding media from a third-party site. LINCS’s presence on these sites enhances the public’s ability to access to our collections and allows individuals to more easily obtain information about our programs and services.

Copyright, Restrictions, and Permissions Notice

Generally, materials produced by Federal agencies are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission. However, not all materials appearing on this web site are in the public domain.

If you have copyright information about an item you've seen on our web site, or if you are the copyright owner and believe our web site has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please email info@lincs.ed.gov with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

We recommend that you contact the United States Copyright Office at The Library of Congress to search currently copyrighted materials.

Please note that because we cannot guarantee the status of specific items, you use materials found in our holdings at your own risk.

Links may be made to our web site from other personal and organizational web pages. We request that you link to our site rather than downloading portions of it to another web server, so that viewers will see our most up-to-date information.

It is possible that our site will provide you an opportunity to go to a software manufacturer's web site so you may download a related plug-in that will enable your browser to show you a part of our web site. At the time that we create and post the web pages that require these software plug-ins for viewing, they are provided by their manufacturer for download and use free of charge. We cannot, however, guarantee that the plug-in will remain free, or that the manufacturer will not collect personally identifying information about you when you elect to download the software from their site. If you choose to visit the manufacturer's web site to obtain the plug-in, please carefully review their posted policies for details about personal privacy and use of downloaded plug-ins.

Security

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. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that 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 by law, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996.

Virus Protection

We use virus protection software on our computer systems and regularly update the software. This is a computer security measure that, in addition to maintaining our computer systems, also ensures 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. LINCS is not responsible for files that may become corrupted as the data travels the Internet.

Acceptance of LINCS Privacy Policy

By using this web site, you agree to the terms and conditions within this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions, please do not use the web site.

Terms of Use:

Please make sure to read LINCS’s Terms of Use to understand the additional terms and conditions which apply to your use of this web site.

Changes to this policy

The LINCS privacy policy will be revised or updated if our practices change or if we develop better ways to keep you informed. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of this policy at any time. Your continued use of LINCS following the posting of any changes to these terms indicates your acceptance of those changes. You should refer to this page often for the latest information and the effective date of any changes. If changes are made to this policy, a new policy will be posted on our site and the date at the bottom of the page will be updated. Changes to the policy will not apply retroactively.

Information Surety

We work hard to ensure the information provided to you is accurate and complete. However, it is possible that information may change prior to updating. We welcome your suggestions on how to improve our web sites and correct errors, please contact us at info@lincs.ed.gov.

Please use the information on this web site based on your evaluation and analysis of any risks. It is your responsibility to ensure that the information you use (including software, images, audio files, artwork, and documents) are free of any violations of intellectual property rights.

Some of the documents on the server may contain live references (or "pointers") to information created and maintained by other organizations. LINCS does not control and cannot guarantee the relevance, timeliness, or accuracy of the outside materials.

Because we do not know how you are using information found on our web site, we do not make any express or implied warranties about the information contained in this web site for your particular use. Except as to segments of this web site specifically identified as authoritative guidance, we disclaim these warranties to the full extent provided by state and Federal law, including, but not limited to the warranties for merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement of proprietary rights. All indirect, consequential, implied, punitive and special damages are deemed waived if you use the information on this web site in any manner.

Questions?

If you have questions about this policy, please contact info@lincs.ed.gov