Welcome to the Mass.gov website (“Mass.gov”). Your privacy is one of our top priorities. The following policy applies only to the use of Mass.gov. As you navigate Mass.gov, you will see links that, when clicked, will take you to other websites operated by state agencies (the “Other Commonwealth Websites”) or to other websites external to Massachusetts state government. The Other Commonwealth Websites have individual privacy policies tailored to the interactions available through each site. You may also see links that will take you to websites external to Massachusetts state government.
In particular, please note that although some of the social media pages used by Mass.gov might appear to be part of Mass.gov or at a web page under control of Mass.gov, some of these sites are actually hosted by a third party provider. Thus when visiting these third party social media sites, you are subject to different privacy policies and terms of service. Please review Mass.gov's Social Media Policy to review more detailed information on how Mass.gov uses specific social media sites and for links to the relevant terms of service and privacy policies for those sites. We strongly suggest that you read the site policies, including the privacy policies, for each Commonwealth website that you visit and any external site that you visit through a link appearing at Mass.gov.
A privacy partnership
Your privacy with respect to the use of Mass.gov results from a partnership between the Commonwealth and you, the user. At Mass.gov, we attempt to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible. However, because some of the information that we receive through Mass.gov is subject to the Public Records Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10, we cannot ensure absolute privacy. Information that you provide to us through Mass.gov may be made available to members of the public under that law. This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at Mass.gov, what we do with it, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. Based on this information, you can make an informed decision about your use of Mass.gov. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the Commonwealth by making informed decisions about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through Mass.gov.
Personally identifiable information
We use the term “personally identifiable information” to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, telephone number, email address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.
Information voluntarily provided by you
Mass.gov collects voluntary information from you through surveys, online forms, any emails sent to Mass.gov and comments posted on pages hosted by Mass.gov (such as blogs or wikis). All such information, including comments and emails sent by you to Mass.gov may contain personally identifiable information.
While Mass.gov is intended as a medium for disseminating information from state agencies, if you need to contact a state agency that is part of Mass.gov, you should use the contact information for that state agency posted on its Mass.gov website.
Information automatically collected and stored by Mass.gov
Mass.gov employs the use of "Persistent Cookies." The purpose of these Persistent Cookies is to collect and aggregate data regarding Mass.gov’s visitor activity in order for the Mass.gov Office to continuously evaluate and improve its website services, including on Mass.gov or affiliated websites such as sites hosted at http://blog.mass.gov (collectively, the “Offerings”). You may elect to disable the Persistent Cookies. Please be advised that disabling the Persistent Cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with Mass.gov.
Mass.gov does collect and store your “Internet Protocol (“IP”) address,” (which does not identify you as an individual) indefinitely, as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file you have requested exists, and how many “bytes” of information were transmitted to you over the Web from Mass.gov. We use your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to Mass.gov and the popularity of its various pages and functions. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us with your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation. The one exception is that when you fill out information in a form on Mass.gov, we do receive your IP address along with this submission. We do not use this form-related IP address information unless it may be relevant and material to a criminal investigation.
Usage data and known persistent cookies
Mass.gov uses (or may use) the following tools (each a “Tool” and collectively, the “Tools”):
Tool name: Google Analytics™
Purpose: Collect information about use of the Mass.gov
Data collected: Google Analytics collects information such as how often users visit Mass.gov, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to Mass.gov.
Express opt out: N/A
Special notes: N/A
Tool name: Google Tag Manager™
Purpose: Collect information about use of the Mass.gov website
Data collected: Google Tag Manager collects information such as how often users visit Mass.gov, what pages they visit, when they do so, and what actions they take while visiting the site such as clicking a link or filling out a form.
Terms of service: https://www.google.com/analytics/tag-manager/use-policy/
Express opt out: N/A
Special notes: N/A
Tool Name: Google Site Search™
Purpose: This is the tool that powers the search box on Mass.gov. It allows for better search results for users of Mass.gov.
Data collected: Google Site Search may collect and store certain information related to your searches of Mass.gov including: your search queries, links that you clicked on in search results, IP addresses, location information, and cookies.
Special notes: If you have a Google account (such as Gmail), Google may be able to link the information that it collects from Google Site Search with personally identifiable information from your Google account (such as your name or mobile phone number).
Tool Name: Google AdWords™
Data collected: Google Adwords tracks when a user completes a specified action, which could be a click, download, form submission, or other event.
Express Opt Out: https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated?hl=en
Tool Name: Facebook Pixel™
Purpose:The Facebook Pixel tool tracks actions of users after they are redirected to a third party website by clicking on a Facebook advertisement.This population level data will enable us to understand how effective Facebook advertisements are for market research purposes. The collected data remain anonymous to us. This means that we cannot see the personal data of any individual user. However, the collected data are saved and processed by Facebook. Facebook Pixel tracking also allows Facebook and its partners to show you advertisements. A cookie will be saved onto your computer for these purposes.
Data collected: Facebook Pixel tracks when a user completes a specified action, which could be a click, download, form submission, or other event.
Express Opt Out: www.facebook.com/ads/website_custom_audiences/
Tool name: ForeSee™ provided by Verint
Purpose: ForeSee is a survey tool that collects voluntary information from you through surveys posted at Mass.gov.
Data collected: Surveys may collect personally identifiable information you voluntarily submit, such as name, email address or phone number, so that we may contact you for follow up to your question, concern or recommendation.
If you take the survey from a mobile device, you will be asked to provide your phone number or email address so that a link to the survey can be sent to you after your visit. This contact information is discarded after 30 days and is not used in conjunction with your survey response.
Express opt out: You can opt out of ForeSee collecting information via the survey by declining to participate in the survey when the invitation pops up on Mass.gov. If you do opt out of completing the survey or you have completed a survey, ForeSee uses a persistent cookie so that it does not offer the survey to you again when you revisit Mass.gov.
Tool name: Twitter™ widget
Purpose: Display various Twitter feeds on Mass.gov
Data collected: The Twitter widget uses Twitter’s persistent cookie(s) to allow you to retweet from and access other Twitter functions related to your account. Twitter accesses this cookie on every page where the Twitter widget is displayed. This could allow Twitter to determine which websites you have visited.
Express Opt Out:
2) You are not required to log in to your Twitter account (if you have one) to use Mass.gov.
Special notes: Twitter may personalize your user experience on Twitter based on what pages you have visited that contain a Twitter widget.
Tool Name: Facebook™ “Like” widget
Purpose: Allows user to “Like” a web page and also displays whether user has already “Liked” the webpage.
Data collected: The Facebook widget uses Facebook’s persistent cookie(s) to determine whether you have “Liked” a page. Facebook accesses this cookie on every page where the Facebook “Like” widget is displayed. This could allow Facebook to determine which websites you have visited.
Express opt out: You are not required to log in to your Facebook account (if you have one) to use Mass.gov.
Tool name: Siteimprove
Purpose: Collect information about use of Mass.gov.
Express opt out: https://www.mass.gov/siteimprove-opt-out
Special notes: N/A
Tool name: Treejack™
Purpose: Determine whether Mass.gov is well structured and whether information is findable.
Data collected: Treejack is a voluntary testing activity that tracks how successfully users can navigate their way to the information they’re looking for.
Express opt out: You can opt out of Treejack testing by not clicking on the solicitation to test.
Special notes: N/A
Tool Name: InVision™
Purpose: InVision allows users to view and click through high-fidelity mockups of webpages.
Data collected: Invision is a voluntary preview activity that allows users to see samples of potential Mass.gov page designs, tracks user activity on these samples, and solicits feedback from users.
Special notes: N/A
Additional general information related to tools
Links to social media sites
Certain links on Mass.gov (whether integrated with Tools or otherwise) facilitate interaction with third-party social media sites. Accessing third-party social media functions (whether through a Tool or otherwise) may require you to log in to your social media provider, and that social media provider may plant a persistent cookie on your web browser to keep you logged in. Any interaction with any such social media provider (whether through a Tool or otherwise) is subject to such social media provider’s site policies, and such provider may plant one or more additional persistent cookies on your web browser as a result of your interaction with it.
Online forms on Mass.gov
Dissemination of your personally identifiable information
We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through Mass.gov or submitted to the Commonwealth in conjunction with using functions on Mass.gov, and there is no direct or online public access to the information. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us related to your use of Mass.gov, its dissemination is governed by the “Public Records Law,” the “Fair Information Practices Act” (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A), Executive Order 504, and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. There are pieces of information, such as credit card numbers, TIN, username, or password that are not considered public for the purposes of a public records request. For more information on types of data exempted from disclosure under the Public Records Law, please read the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Public Records Law.
In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials, or those under contract with the Commonwealth, with a “need to know” for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. The information will be used for such purposes as; answering your questions, responding to any requests for assistance, generating summary statistics about usage, auditing applications and detecting fraud, aiding in the planning, design and development of Mass.gov, and fulfilling the Commonwealth's legal obligations.
We will collect and aggregate the information you provide through surveys and through Mass.gov’s collection of non-personally identifying analytics data for purposes of market research to improve the Offerings by making them more responsive to customer needs. Where appropriate, we may provide the information you submitted voluntarily through an email to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters referred to in your communication.
Your access and opportunity to correct
The “Public Records Law” and the “Fair Information Practices Act” provide you certain rights to get information about you that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you can get and correct this information, please click on the above references to these laws.
Because information sent to the Commonwealth is not encrypted, you should not send messages containing information that you consider highly sensitive to Mass.gov. We use standard security measures to ensure that information provided by you, including your personally identifiable information, is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use software to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.
Special protections against misuse of personally identifiable information within Commonwealth offices
Executive Order 504 issued in 2008, which enhanced the privacy protection given to any information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Department and requires Executive Department agencies to greatly enhance the security and integrity of such data. This website complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to Mass.gov is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504.
For questions about your privacy while using Mass.gov, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
An “Internet Protocol Address” or “IP Address” is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information.
Social Media: A social media website is a website or a social media application that is usually maintained by an individual and has regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. A social media identity is a specific user identity that has been registered on a third party social media site and is associated with the Agency. Government social media sites or identities typically provide forums for commentary or news on topics related to the government agency that hosts the social media site or has secured the social media identity. A typical social media site (whether hosted by the Agency or a third party) combines text, images, and links to other websites including blogs, wikis, and other media related to the topic and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
“Weblog” or “Blog”: A weblog or blog is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Government blogs typically provide commentary and news on topics related to the government agency hosting the blog. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
“Wiki”: A wiki is a website that uses collaboration software to enable the creation of a number of interlinked web pages. Many authors can contribute to the website and upload content to the site. Government wikis typically provide a venue for commentary and discussion regarding topics related to the government agency hosting the wiki. A typical wiki combines text, images, and links to other web pages outside the wiki also related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.