The State of California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) is committed to promoting and protecting the privacy rights of individuals, as enumerated in Article 1 of the California Constitution, the Information Practices Act of 1977, and other state and federal laws.
“Personal information” is information about a natural person that identifies or describes an individual, including, but not limited to, his or her name, social security number, physical description, home address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, and medical or employment history, readily identifiable to that specific individual. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not considered personal information; however, it is considered “electronically collected personal information.”
According to Government Code § 11015.5, “electronically collected personal information” means any information that is maintained by an agency that identifies or describes an individual user, including, but not limited to, his or her name, social security number, physical description, home address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, medical or employment history, password, electronic mail address, and information that reveals any network location or identity, but excludes any information manually submitted to a State agency by a user, whether electronically or in written form, and information on or relating to individuals who are users, serving in a business capacity, including, but not limited to, business owners, officers, or principals of that business.
“Electronically collected personal information” that we automatically collect includes your domain name or Internet Protocol address, and statistical information about which web pages you visit. If you voluntarily participate in an activity that asks for specific information (i.e., completing a request for assistance, personalizing the content of the website, sending an e-mail, or participating in a survey) more detailed data will be collected. If you choose not to participate in these activities, your choice will in no way affect your ability to use any other feature of the website.
If any type of personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, State law, including the Information Practices Act of 1977, Government Code Section 11015.5, and the federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information may be a public record once you provide it, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not otherwise protected by federal or State law.
CHHS adheres to the following principles in connection with the collection and management of personal information:
- CHHS collects personal information on individuals only as allowed by law. CHHS limits the collection of personal information to what is relevant and necessary to accomplish the lawful purpose of CHHS and its Departments and Offices. For example, CHHS may need to know an individual’s home address, e-mail address, or telephone number, in order to answer the individual’s questions or in order to provide requested assistance.
- CHHS does not collect home, business or e-mail addresses, or account information from persons who simply browse CHHS’s internet website. CHHS collects personal information about individuals through CHHS’ website only if an individual provides such information to CHHS voluntarily through e-mail, registration forms, or surveys, for example. The information that CHHS automatically collects when user(s) visit the website includes, but may not be limited to, the client internet protocol address, the date and time when the website is visited, web pages displayed, and any forms that are uploaded. CHHS uses encrypted and unencrypted session cookies, text files stored temporarily on a visitor’s computer by a web browser, to enable easy movement through the site. The information collected in this manner is not subject to requests made pursuant to the Public Records Act, and site visitors may request to have their information discarded without reuse or distribution.
- CHHS endeavors to tell people who provide personal information to CHHS the purpose for which the information is collected. CHHS strives to tell persons, who are asked to provide personal information, about the general uses CHHS’ Departments and Offices will make of that information. This is done at the time of collection. With each request for personal information, CHHS provides information on the authority under which the request is made, the principal uses CHHS intends to make of the information, and the possible disclosures CHHS is obligated to make to other government agencies and to the public.
- CHHS’ use of your email. You may choose to provide us with personal information, as in email with a comment or question. We use the information to improve our service to you or to respond to your request. Sometimes we forward your email to other State employees who may be better able to help you, and this staff may be employed by a different agency within the State. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations or, as required by law, we do not share our email with any other organizations. We use your email to respond appropriately. This may be to respond to you, to address issues you identify, to further improve our website, or to forward the email to another agency for appropriate action. Submission of an email to CHHS, CHHS staff and/or communication through the website does not create any attorney-client, physician-patient, or other privileged or confidential relationship. Accordingly, do not disclose any information to us that you wish to remain private or confidential.
- CHHS provides people who provide personal information with an opportunity to review that information. Individuals, who provide personal information, are allowed to review the information and contest its accuracy or completeness.
- CHHS uses personal information only as specified and consistent with those purposes; unless CHHS obtains the consent of the subject of the information, or as required or allowed by law. The Public Records Act exists to ensure that California government is open and that the public has a right to have access to appropriate records and information possessed by many state and local government agencies. At the same time, there are exceptions that recognize the public’s right to access records. These exceptions serve various needs, including maintaining the privacy of individuals. In the event of a conflict between this Policy and the Public Records Act, the Information Practices Act or other law governing the disclosure of records, the applicable law will control.
- CHHS uses information security safeguards. Reasonable precautions are taken to protect the personal information of individuals collected or maintained against loss, unauthorized access, and illegal use or disclosure. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption software for the CHHS Security Tool protects the security of each individual’s personal information during transmission through CHHS’s website. Such personal information is stored by CHHS in secure locations. CHHS’s staff is trained on procedures for the management of personal information, including limitations on the release of information. Access to personal information is limited to those members of CHHS’s staff whose work requires such access. Confidential information is destroyed according to CHHS’s records retention schedule. CHHS conducts periodic reviews to ensure that proper information management policies and procedures are understood and followed.
- How CHHS collects and uses your information. We do collect personal information directly from individuals who volunteer to use some of our services. Collection of this information is required to deliver the specific services, but use of these services is voluntary.
If you do nothing during your visit to the website but browse or download information, we automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:
- The type of browser and operating system you used;
- The date and time you visited this site;
- The web pages or services you accessed at this site;
- The website you visited prior to coming to this website;
- The website you visit as you leave this website; and
- If you downloaded a document, the document that was downloaded
The information we automatically collect or store is used to improve the content of our web services and to help us understand how people are using our services. This information does not identify you personally and is used for gathering website statistics. The information we automatically collect and store in our logs about your visit helps us to analyze our website to continually improve the value of the materials available. Our website logs do not identify a visitor by personal information, and we make no attempt to link other websites with the individuals that browse the State’s website.
Participation in the Listserve program (periodic updates of CHHS Open Data Portal)
You have the option of receiving automatic updates of open data and related data news. The intention of the listserve program is to obtain and share contacts within California communities to build a network of interested users who want to use CHHS Open Data. We need certain minimal amounts of information to connect users who wish to be informed of and participate in open data activities with State, local communities, and partners. Information collected, such as first and last name, when submitted for updates will be used and shared only for the purposes of that program and as explained here.
Government Code § 11015.5 prohibits all state agencies from distributing or selling any electronically collected personal information, as defined above, about users to any third party without the permission of the user. The State does not sell any “electronically collected personal information.” Any distribution of “electronically collected personal information” will be solely for the purposes for which it was provided to us.
The State may provide or distribute certain lists and statistical reports of regulatory information as provided by law, but no personal information is sold or distributed, and all relevant legal protections still apply to the State’s websites.