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Privacy Policy

General Information

This website is provided as a public service by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer personal information about visitors to http://www.niaid.nih.gov unless required to do so by law. Most information presented on this site is in the public domain and may be distributed or copied with some exceptions. For more information on image and text reuse, see Copyright and Reuse of Graphics and Text.

Protecting your privacy is very important to us. We do not collect personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to the NIAID website unless you choose to give it to us. We do, however, collect some data about visits to our website to help us better understand how the public uses the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our site. We never collect information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NIAID mission and goals. NIAID uses aggregated information only.

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How NIAID Collects Information

NIAID automatically collects a limited amount of information about the use of its website, primarily for statistical purposes (that is, to measure the numbers of visitors to various sections of the site). This information also may be helpful when we consider changes to the website to make it more useful to visitors. We make no attempts to identify individual users or their usage habits, except when it may be required for authorized law enforcement investigations.

NIAID also uses online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors. NIAID uses the Foresee Results’ American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) online survey to get feedback and data on visitors’ satisfaction with the NIAID website. This survey does not collect personally identifiable information (PII). Participation in the survey is voluntary. If you decline the survey, you still have access to the identical information and resources on the NIAID website as those who do take the survey. Answers to the survey help NIAID improve its website, making easier to use and more responsive to the needs of visitors.

NIAID staff analyzes and reports on the aggregated data from the ACSI survey. The reports are available only to NIAID website managers, members of their teams, and other designated staff who need this information to perform their duties.

How NIAID Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies, allows federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected. The cookie makes it easier to use some features of Web pages. Requests to send cookies from NIAID’s Web pages are designed to collect information about your browser session only; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies: single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

How Are Temporary "Session” Cookies Used?

We use session cookies for technical purposes such as improving navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The "session" cookie is not permanently stored on your computer. The cookie and the information about your visit are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser to end the session.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as “Usage Tier 1—Single Session.” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies.”

How Are "Persistent” Cookies Used?

The OMB Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies, allows federal agencies to use persistent cookies in addition to temporary session cookies.

We use persistent cookies to help us differentiate between new and returning visitors to the NIAID website. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to our site until they expire. We do not use this technology to identify you or any other site visitor.

NIAID is running the ACSI survey on its website, which uses "persistent" cookies to block repeated invitations to take the ACSI survey. We also use persistent cookies to enable NIAID to measure and understand how new and returning visitors use our site over time. NIAID uses the following analytic tools: WebTrends, Google Analytics and Crazy Egg.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as “Usage Tier 2—Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII).” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected.”

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all the information and resources on the NIAID website.

Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml. Please note that by following the instructions to opt out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from the NIAID site.

How Is Personal Information Protected?

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NIAID website.

If you choose to give us additional information about yourself through an email message, form, survey, conference registration, etc., we keep the information only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication.

Voluntarily Submitted Information

For further information about NIH privacy policy, please contact the NIH Senior Official for Privacy at privacy@mail.nih.gov, call 301-451-3426, or visit http://oma.od.nih.gov/ms/privacy/privacyact.html.

Disclosure

NIAID does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our website visitors, unless required for law enforcement or by statute.

Site Security

The U.S. government maintains the NIAID website. It is protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in federal court.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we use software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify a person.

Your Visit to NIAID Third-Party Websites

Third-party websites and applications are Web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by NIAID. These include applications hosted on non-government sites and those embedded within an NIAID Web page.

As part of the Open Government Directive, we use a variety of new technologies and social media tools to communicate and interact with our audiences. By using some of these applications, your personally identifiable information (PII) can become available or accessible to NIAID, regardless of whether we solicit or collect it. The table below lists the websites and applications we use. If any of these sites or applications collects PII, we describe what is collected and how NIAID protects your information.

Types of Third-Party Websites and Applications

Third-Party Website and Application How It Works
AddThis AddThis allows you to bookmark and share NIAID content on a variety of social media sites. You do not need to register or provide any personal information. AddThis service providers collect non-personal data, including aggregate and summary statistics on browsers and usage patterns.

AddThis also uses non-personal data to manage the service efficiently and diagnose server problems. Although AddThis offers some analytics and usage data to NIAID, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to NIAID managers, members of the NIAID Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff requiring this information to perform their duties. (See AddThis Privacy Policy.)

Facebook NIAID maintains a Facebook presence. The privacy policies for Facebook are located on their pages.

On each of the NIAID Facebook pages, NIAID staff post news and other items of interest to users. If you have a Facebook account or “like” NIAID Facebook pages, you can post comments or click on the “like” option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the “like” button, personally identifying information will be visible to NIAID staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments, and not clicking on the “like” options in Facebook.

NIAID staff do not collect, use, or disclose any information about visitors who comment or “like” the NIAID Facebook pages. Facebook collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Facebook pages. This information is password protected and only available to NIAID managers and communications staff. (See Facebook Privacy Policy.)

Flickr NIAID maintains an image-sharing photostream on Flickr.com. NIAID communications staff shares and posts illustrations, research images, lab findings, educational images, event promotions, and campaigns on the NIAID Flickr photostream. We use Flickr analytics to demonstrate the frequency with which images are viewed. The information is used internally by NIAID communications staff. You can view Images in the Flickr photostream without creating a Flickr account. In this case, no personally identifiable information is collected. If you create a Flickr account, you must give some personal information to Flickr, such as your name, user name, password, and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location, or a picture. NIAID staff never access or use the personal information of Flickr members. NIAID does not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who subscribe to the NIAID photostream. The privacy policy for Flickr is available at http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/us/yahoo/flickr/details.html
go.USA.gov and Bitly NIAID uses go.USA.gov and Bitly to shorten URLs for use in email messages, Twitter feeds, and on Facebook pages. Go.USA.gov and Bitly collect and provide data on how often email recipients and Facebook and Twitter users click on the shortened URLs distributed by NIAID.NIH.gov staff. Go.USA.gov and Bitly analytics report on the number of clicks on shortened URL links. Go.USA.gov and Bitly analytics do not provide any personally identifiable information. The go.USA.gov Privacy Statement is available at https://go.usa.gov/privacy_statement. The Bitly Privacy Policy is at: http://bit.ly/pages/privacy
GovDelivery NIAID uses GovDelivery to send e-newsletters, alerts, and other messages to visitors who subscribe to them. To subscribe to an NIAID product, you must provide an email address and indicate your subscription preferences, including the items you want to receive. The email subscriber lists are password protected by GovDelivery. Only the NIAID managers who send newsletters, alerts, or memos via GovDelivery and staff members who monitor the results of email initiatives have access to the subscriber lists. GovDelivery never allows access to the subscriber lists to anyone outside NIAID or for any purpose. GovDelivery collects and provides non-identifying information about the number of messages sent, clicks, and open rates. This information is password protected and available only to NIAID. NIH.gov managers, members of the NIAID.NIH.gov Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who need this information to perform their duties. The GovDelivery privacy policy is available at http://www.govdelivery.com/privacy.
LinkedIn LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site focused on employment opportunities and discussions. The site provides a platform for companies to carry a message to people interested in the firm’s products and services. NIAID maintains a LinkedIn page as a means of connecting with our audience within that community. Additionally, the NIAID Careers office uses LinkedIn to promote job openings.

The LinkedIn Privacy Statement is available at LinkedIn Privacy Policy Highlights.

Twitter NIAID uses Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters) or “Tweets” to share information about the Institute with our audiences and respond to comments and inquiries sent via Twitter to NIAID. While users may read the NIAID Twitter feeds without subscribing to them, users who want to subscribe to (or follow) NIAID Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com.

To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as your name, user name, password, and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information, including a short biography, location, or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings on the Twitter website.

NIAID staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but they never use the personal information of NIAID Twitter followers. NIAID does not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who follow NIAID on Twitter. See the Twitter Privacy Policy at htttp://www.twitter.com/privacy.

WordPress NIAID.NIH.gov uses the WordPress blog platform. This enables visitors to respond to information posted by NIAID leaders by posting comments. Visitors who post comments do not need to register, give their names, or supply any other personal information. Comments are not collected, processed, or reported in any way. When visitors give their names or other identifying information, that information will appear along with their comments.

Although WordPress offers some analytics and usage data to NIAID, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to NIAID managers, members of the NIAID Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who need this information to perform their duties. The WordPress Privacy Policy is available at  http://wordpress.org/about/privacy

YouTube

NIAID videos introduce users to many different aspects of the research that NIAID supports and connect them to our research-based information resources. Some videos feature stories from researchers, patients, and caregivers. Others describe NIAID's major research programs. Most of these videos are available on the NIAID website as well. The YouTube privacy policy is available at http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy_at_youtube.

To be notified when NIAID adds new videos, users with YouTube accounts can subscribe to the NIAID channel. NIAID staff members monitor the number of subscribers and may respond to comments and queries on YouTube, but they do not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who follow NIAID on YouTube.

Last Updated January 10, 2012