ANY PERSONALLY-IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION (PII) THAT YOU PROVIDE WILL BE MAINTAINED AND PROTECTED ACCORDING TO FEDERAL PRIVACY REQUIREMENTS.
BASIC INFORMATION RELATED TO YOUR VISIT TO OUR WEBSITES MAY BE AUTOMATICALLY COLLECTED AND TEMPORARILY STORED.
Types of Information Collected
When you browse through any website, information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following information:
- The name of the domain you use to access the Internet (for example, aol.com, if you are using an American Online account, or stanford.edu, if you are connecting from Stanford University's domain);
- The Internet Protocol (IP) address (a number that is automatically assigned to a specific computer when connected to the internet) with which you access our site;
- The date and time of your visit;
- The pages you visited;
- The address of the website you came from when you came to visit; and
- The type of browser used to view our website (so we can ensure maximum compatibility).
We do not use this information for identification purposes, except as discussed in the “Intrusion Detection and Threats” section, below. We use analytical software to collect and aggregate this information to create reports and analyses, which we use to help us make our site more useful to visitors. These reports are only available to web managers and other OIG staff who require the information to perform their duties. We retain the data from analysis as long as needed to support our mission.
Session and Persistent Cookies
When visiting websites, a small text file called a "cookie" may be placed on your computer. This allows the website to collect non-PII data during your visit. We use two types of cookies on our website:
- Session cookies are temporary text files that expire when you leave our website. When cookies expire, they are automatically deleted from your computer.
- Persistent cookies are multi-session cookies that are stored on your computer and expire 2 years after your last visit to our websites. After 2 years, they are automatically deleted from your computer. Persistent cookies are used to collect non-PII data about users who visit our websites. In the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo 10-22 Guidance, our use of persistent cookies is defined as "Usage Tier 2 Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)," which "encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."
The OIG website uses only two cookies. One is from Google Analytics and the other is from AddThis. Neither cookie reveals your PII to the government. These two cookies are only used to collect anonymous information about how you use our site. You can learn more about these cookies below.
If you do not want cookies placed on your computer, you can set your browser to block them. Blocking these cookies from your computer will not affect your access to the content or tools in our website. Instructions on how to opt out of cookies are available at http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml.
Some of the Session or Persistent Cookies are stored on your machine by third parties when you use our website. While these cookies do not provide any PII about you to us, third parties may use these cookies once you leave our site. Why do we allow these third party cookies? They are necessary for us to analyze our web traffic and usage. By allowing these cookies, the third-party company provides us a service – analytics, for example. If you use the Internet, third-party cookies are common, but you can always opt out or block them without impacting your ability to use our site.
- Google makes data about visits to a website anonymous to help website owners analyze traffic to their websites and apps.
- The Google Analytics cookie stores users’ visits to our site and others to help develop browsing patterns. For instance, it might show that a majority of people come to our site from a particular page or search engine.
- Opt out of Google Analytics cookies here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout
- AddThis provides anonymous data about how many users are sharing content on a website.
- AddThis stores cookies which allow the social sharing functionality on social networks such as Facebook.
- AddThis tools may also collect data for the purpose of interest-based advertising.
- If you prefer that AddThis not collect non-PII about your website visits for the purpose of delivering targeted advertising, you may opt out here: http://www.addthis.com/privacy/opt-out
Personally Provided Information
You do not have to provide any personal information to access information on our websites.
However, note that all communications addressed to us are maintained, as required by law, for historical purposes. These communications are archived on a monthly basis. All communications addressed to OIG are protected by the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a), which prohibits us from sharing that information except in limited circumstances.
The OIG website does not intentionally or knowingly solicit or collect personal information from children under age 13. In accordance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) and the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations implementing COPPA, if the OIG becomes aware of any information received through its website from a child under the age of 13, the OIG will immediately obtain parental consent or otherwise delete the information from our servers.
Third-party applications and/or services may be embedded on our site to improve its functionality. Our integration of these products is intended to provide a seamless user experience. Where applicable, privacy policies particular to these applications are provided.
Twitter: We use Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters)—or tweets—to share information with the public. While visitors may read our Twitter feed without subscribing to it, visitors who want to subscribe to (or follow) OIG Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at www.twitter.com. OIG staff members do not take possession of the personal information belonging to Twitter followers. We respond to most direct messages and comments, and we monitor our number of followers, just like everyone else on Twitter.
YouTube: We post videos on YouTube to make them available to the public. You do not need to register with either YouTube or Google (YouTube’s owner) to watch our videos.
GovDelivery: We use GovDelivery to distribute email updates to the public. GovDelivery is not government-owned or government-operated. To receive email updates from us, you must voluntarily provide your email address via the subscription option on the uspsoig.gov website. GovDelivery collects and maintains the list of email addresses and distributes our email updates. We do not use email addresses for any purpose other than to distribute the email updates.
Go.USA.gov: We use Go.USA.gov to shorten long website links in external communications, including social media and e-mail updates. If a member of the public clicks on a Go.USA.gov link, certain technical information about their click-through will be gathered and stored. This information is the referring Internet domain (such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.) from which the user accessed the link and the date and time the user clicked on the link, and does not include any personal information provided by users to Go.USA.gov.
We disclose personal information about those using our website or social media only when consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Freedom of Information Act, and other federal privacy requirements.
Where electronic communications, such as tweets, email or other similar messages, convey (1) a threat of violence against OIG or the U.S. Postal Service, (2) suggest waste, fraud or abuse in a USPS program, or (3) otherwise suggest a violation of law, OIG may collect, maintain or disseminate the tweets/etc., as well as the name and profile information associated with the sender's account, for the purpose of the OIG meeting its obligations under the Inspector General Act of 1978, and as a law enforcement agency.
Intrusion Detection and Threats
This site is maintained by the U.S. Government. 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 employ 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 violators.