This page describes how the FTC handles
information that we learn about consumers when consumers visit
the Web sites we operate (www.ftc.gov,
) or contact us by mail, phone, or email. We collect the
information under the authority of the FTC
Act and other laws we enforce or administer,
and we maintain it in accordance with the Privacy
Act of 1974, where applicable. Any personally
identifying information you provide is voluntary. We use it
to fulfill a request you make or to assist us in carrying
out our mission; it may be disclosed to others for such purposes.
you visit our Web sites to browse, read, or download information:
- We automatically collect and store: the name of the domain
and host from which you access the Internet; the Internet
protocol (IP) address of the computer you are using; the
browser software you use and your operating system; the
date and time you access our sites; and the Internet address
of the site from which you linked directly to our sites.
- We use this information only as anonymous aggregate data
to determine the number of visitors to different sections
of our sites, to ensure the sites are working properly,
and to help us make our sites more useful. We do not use
it to track or record information about individuals. Generally,
we delete this information after one year.
- We do not use persistent "cookies"
or tracking mechanisms that collect personally identifying
information on our sites. Our Do Not Call Web site (www.donotcall.gov)
uses session cookies to anonymously collect a visitor’s
IP address and the date and time of the visit. Session cookies
are temporary files that are erased when you close all browsers.
We use these session cookies for site management purposes.
Accepting session cookies on our Do Not Call Web site is
voluntary; you may still use the site if you decline cookies.
you choose to identify yourself when you call us, write to
us, send us email, or use our secure online forms:
- We collect any personally identifying information, such
as your name, street address, email address, and phone number,
and any other information you provide to us.
- In accordance with the
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
(COPPA), when a visitor files a complaint online
and indicates an age under 13, no personally identifying
information is collected in conjunction with that submission.
How We Use and
If you choose to provide personally
identifying information to us, we will use and disclose it
your name or other identifying information, it may be impossible
for us to refer, respond to, or investigate your complaint
or request. We may share your information with contractors
acting on our behalf, such as call center operators and redress
administrators, who are subject to confidentiality agreements.
- If you contact us to order publications,
we use the information you provide to fulfill your order
or contact you about your order.
- If you contact us to complain
about a company, individual, or a particular practice, or
to report that you have been a victim of identity theft:
- We make your complaint available to FTC employees
involved in law enforcement.
- We may share your complaint with a variety of government
agencies worldwide that enforce consumer protection,
competition, and other laws.
- We may share your complaint with certain private
entities, including companies you may have complained
about, to help address your complaint. If your complaint
concerns identity theft or the accuracy of your credit
report, we may share it with credit bureaus to help
address your complaint or identity theft-related concern.
- When you submit a complaint, you may be contacted
by the FTC, other law enforcement agencies, or any of
the private entities to which your complaint has been
- If you contact us by phone to
be included in the National
Do Not Call Registry, we will collect your
phone number and store it in the registry so that telemarketers
and sellers covered by the FTC's rules can remove your phone
number from their call lists. If you contact us via the
Internet, we also collect your email address to confirm
your registration request. We will store your email address
in a secure manner, separate from your telephone number.
We will not share your email address with telemarketers.
Telemarketers are required to search the registry every
three months and delete from their call lists phone numbers
that are in the registry. Phone numbers in the registry
may also be shared with law enforcement to assure compliance
with federal and state law.
- In other circumstances, including
requests from Congress, Freedom
of Information Act requests from private individuals
or companies, during litigation, for routine agency uses
subject to the Privacy
Act, or under our access
and public record rules,
we may be required or authorized by law to disclose the
information you provide.
you want to get information about you or your company that
may be in our records:
- Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy
Act of 1974, to the extent applicable, you have certain
rights to get information about you or your company that
may be in our records. For more information about the circumstances
under which you can get and correct this information, click
Act. To access information about you that the
FTC may have on file, contact our
FOIA office. You will get access to
any information that the FOIA and Privacy Act require us
to disclose to you.
what you should know about the security of the information
you provide to us:
- We use secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to protect
the transmission of the information you submit to us when
you use our secure
online forms. The information you provide to
us is stored securely.
- Email that you send us is not necessarily secure against
interception. If your email communication includes sensitive
information like your Social Security number, your bank
account number, or your credit or charge card numbers, contact
us through one of our secure online forms or by
mail or telephone.
how to contact us about:
Fraud, Misleading Advertising, Credit Cards, or other consumer
or Competition Matters
- If you have technical problems with the operation of
our Web sites, please report them to our Webmaster.
- If you have questions or complaints regarding our privacy
policy or use of your information, please contact us at
or by mail at
Privacy Steering Committee
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580
Attn: Deputy Director, Office of the Executive Director
Trade Commission Privacy Impact Assessments
- Our Web sites link to documents located on sites maintained
by other agencies and organizations. Once you access another
Thursday, April 22, 2004
A "cookie" is a small text file that a Web
site can place on your computer's hard drive in order, for
example, to collect information about your activities on the
site or to make it possible for you to use an online "shopping
cart" to keep track of items you wish to purchase. The cookie
transmits this information back to the Web site's computer
which, generally speaking, is the only computer that can read
it. Many consumers do not know that "cookies" are being placed
on their computers when they visit Web sites. If you want
to know when this happens, or to prevent it from happening,
you can set your browser to warn you when a Web site attempts
to place a "cookie" on your computer. [Back
2. Our Secure Online Forms:
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