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Privacy Policy

This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at this site, 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 whether and how to use this site.

Scope of this Policy

This privacy policy applies only to the use of this website. As you navigate this website, you may see links that, when clicked, will take you to other websites operated by other state agencies and, in certain rare instances, websites that are external to Massachusetts state government. These other websites have individual privacy policies tailored to the interactions available through those sites. We strongly suggest that you read the privacy policies for each website that you visit through any link appearing on this site.

The General Court website attempts to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible. However, users should be aware that the General Court may, at its discretion, share any information provided via its website with third parties. If you choose to provide us with personal information by completing the “Contact Us” form, creating a customized MyLegislature page, submitting a Service Request/Reservation form or even simply by sending us an email, we may use that information to respond to your message or to help us get you the information or services you requested. Submitting your personal information is voluntary and is not required to access information on the General Court website. The information you provide to us via this website may be retained for an indefinite period of time, is not encrypted and may be shared with third parties without notice or consent.

Information you submit through this site may also be subject to disclosure by subpoena or other lawful request for information. The General Court may not inform you of such disclosures.

Please think carefully and make an informed decision about whether to share personally identifiable information, such as dates of birth and social security numbers, through this site.

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This site collects information that you voluntarily provide through this website including email messages you choose to send to the General Court, contact forms you submit through the Contact Us feature, information you provide through the Service Request/Reservation Form, and log-in and other information you use to customize your MyLegislature page.

Any email messages, contact forms and other customizations that you create through this site will contain personally identifiable information including, but not limited to your email address and any other information you choose to provide to help us answer your inquiry.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Site

The General Court site uses temporary “session cookies” to create an enhanced visitor experience. For example, the General Court uses session cookies to support the MyLegislature features, which that allow users to view lists of the bills, hearings and legislators they are following and further customize their MyLegislature settings. These cookies are stored only in memory and are deleted when the user's browser is shut down.

The General Court site also uses “persistent cookies.” The purpose of persistent cookies is to collect and aggregate data regarding the site’s visitor activity, which allows us to continuously evaluate and improve our website services. For example the General Court site uses “persistent cookies” to support the “Keep Me Logged In” option on the MyLegislature page. You may elect to disable the persistent cookies. Please be advised, however, that disabling the persistent cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with certain features of this website.

This site also collects and stores 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 this site. We use this data to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions.

In addition, we may use third-party analytics tools to collect information about use of this site. These tools collect information such as how often users visit this site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this site. We use the information we get from these tools only to improve this site. The analytics tools we use collect only the IP address assigned to you on the date you visit this site, rather than your name or other identifying information. We do not combine the information collected through the use of the analytics tools with personally identifiable information. Although the analytics tools plant a persistent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but the third-party analytics provider. The analytics provider’s ability to use and share information collected by the analytics tools about your visits to this site is restricted by their terms of use. You can prevent the analytics provider from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser.

Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information

We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this website or submitted to the General Court through the use of this website’s personal customization features, such as MyLegislature. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information through this website, the General Court may, at its discretion, share your information with third parties. Although the General Court does not generally disclose such information to third parties, it may do so at its discretion. In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will also be disclosed to General Court employees or officials, or those under contract with the General Court, who have a "need to know" your information for the purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities and responding to your requests.

Security

The General Court website is encrypted and uses industry 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.

This website is monitored to ensure its proper operation, to verify the functioning of applicable security features and for related purposes. Anyone using this website expressly consents to such monitoring.

While we strive to ensure that information submitted through this site is protected, the General Court cannot guarantee the security of any data submitted via its website. Please do not send sensitive data, such as your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card information, through the General Court website.

Policy Changes

This policy reflects the General Court’s current practices, but is subject to change without notice.

The General Court will update this policy as new services and features are added or other changes are made to the website. Please check this policy regularly.

Contact Information

For questions about your privacy while using the General Court website, please contact mailto:webmaster@malegislature.gov.

Definitions

Cookies are files that a website can place on your computer. A cookie file contains unique information that the issuing website can use to store data such as your user name or email address track webpages you have visited, record the date when you last looked at a specific webpage, or to identify your session at a particular website, for example. A cookie file allows the website to recognize you as you click through pages on the site and when you later revisit the site. A website can use cookies to "remember" your preferences, and to record your browsing behavior on the Web. Although you can prevent websites from placing cookies on your computer by using your browser’s preference menu, disabling cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some websites.

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 generally identifies the computer or device 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.

“Personally Identifiable Information” is any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any additional information provided by you or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.

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