Section A. Introduction
This policy addresses collection, use, and security of and access to information that may be obtained through the use of the City of Bellingham’s website (https://cob.org). It is provided for informational purposes only. The information presented here is not meant to be a contract of any type, either express or implied and should not be treated as such by site visitors. The information in this statement and/or the policies described here may change at any time, without prior notice to any visitor.
This notice covers the following topics:
Information collected if you only browse this site:
If you do nothing during your visit to our website but browse, read pages, or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:
- The Internet Protocol Address and domain name used. The Internet Protocol address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the Internet Protocol Address to direct Internet traffic to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider (e.g. xcompany.com or yourschool.edu). Generally, the City only determines visitor domain names if a security issue is suspected;
- 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.
For site management purposes, information is collected for statistical purposes. The City’s web site uses software programs to create summary statistics, which are 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.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, the City’s website employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations and the security purposes mentioned elsewhere in this notice, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction in accordance with public records retention schedules.
Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the state Computer Trespass law and federal statutes including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.
What we collect if you volunteer information:
If during your visit to our website you participate in a survey, send an email, or perform some other transaction online, the following additional information will be collected:
The email address, and contents of an email, for those who communicate with us via email.
Information volunteered in response to a survey.
Information volunteered through an online form for any other purpose.
Information volunteered by participating in an online transaction with the City.
The information collected is not limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us.
We use your email address to respond to you. Survey information is used for the purpose identified by the survey. Information from other online forms is used only for conducting City business related to the online form.
Information provided for a transaction is used only for the purpose of completing and recording the transaction. Information requested will be no more specific than if a visitor were engaging in the transaction by other means, including by telephone or in-person while visiting a City facility. In all cases, the City strives to collect the minimum information necessary to comply with applicable law or provide the service requested.
The City does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute visitor’s information, including electronic mail addresses, to any outside company or organization, unless legally required to do so. This applies to information that may be collected on the City’s site and on that of any third party with whom the City contracts to provide Internet-related services.
You may choose whether to provide personal information online. “Personal information” is information about a natural person that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes such things as an individual’s name, address, and phone number. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not considered personal information.
We collect no personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us by sending us an email, participating in a survey, completing an online form, or engaging in an online transaction. You may choose not to contact us by email, participate in a survey, provide personal information using an online form, or engage in an electronic transaction. However, some information available through this site is specific to individual users. Visitors interested in viewing this user-specific information are requested to sign up for a password-protected account. Your choice to not participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse, read, or download general information provided on the site. Information protected on this site by a password, which is subject to disclosure, may be obtained by contacting the City directly.
If personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, state law and the federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information is treated like any other information provided to the City, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not protected by federal or state law.
If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact the person identified in the Contact Information Section of this statement.
Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children online or by email will be treated the same as information given by an adult, and may be subject to public access.
In the State Of Washington, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by city government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public’s right to access public records that serve various needs including the privacy of individuals. Both state and federal laws provide exceptions. RCW 42.17.260(9) prohibits the commercial use of lists of individuals’ information (including address, phone, or e-mail) provided on this site.
In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or other law governing the disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or other applicable law will control.
You can review any personally identifiable information that you have chosen to provide us by using the information in the Contact Information section at the end of this Notice. You may recommend changes to or removal of your personally identifiable information by submitting a request that credibly shows the inaccuracy or authority to do so. We will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. If we are not satisfied with the identity verification supplied, the City reserves the right to refuse to send you the personal information.
The City has taken several steps to safeguard the integrity of its data and prevent unauthorized access to information it maintains, including but not limited to authentication, monitoring, auditing, and encryption. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation, and day-to-day practices of the entire operating environment as part of its continuing commitment to risk management. These measures are designed and intended to prevent corruption of data, block unknown or unauthorized access to our systems and information, and provide reasonable protection of private information in our possession.
This information should not be construed in any way as giving business, legal, or other advice, or warranting as fail-proof, the security of information provided via the City’s website.
Neither the City, nor any department, officer, or employee of the City warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. The City has collected this information for its own purposes from different agencies, businesses, and other sources throughout the City and region. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.
The City’s website has the option to use a computerized translation tool to view content in languages other than English to increase access to City information and services. This tool cannot translate all types of content and may not provide an exact translation. Anyone relying on information using this translation tool does so at their own risk. The City does not make any promises, assurances, or guarantees as to the accuracy of the translations provided. The City of Bellingham, its officials, employees, and/or agents shall not be liable for damages or losses of any kind arising out of, or in connection with, the use or performance of such information, including but not limited to, damages or losses caused by reliance upon the accuracy of any such information, or damages incurred from the viewing, distributing, or copying of such materials.
The City is made up of several departments. Each department is responsible for the applications it develops including applications that may gather personally-identifying information that you volunteer.
To access your personally identifiable information collected, if any, or request correction of factual errors in your personally identifiable information, contact the Department that requests the information.