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Privacy and Security

General Information

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) respects the privacy of users of its Web site, www.cancer.gov. NCI does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about visitors to www.cancer.gov unless required to do so by law.

NCI is especially concerned about protecting the privacy of children. NCI encourages parents and teachers to stay involved and in control of children's Internet explorations. It is particularly important for parents to offer guidance to their children about providing personal information online.

NCI automatically collects a limited amount of information about the use of its Web site, primarily for statistical purposes (that is, to measure the numbers of visitors to various sections of the site). This information may also be helpful when considering changes to www.cancer.gov, to make the site more useful to visitors.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

The following information about users of the NCI Web site is collected and stored automatically:

  • The Internet domain from which a user has accessed the Internet. For example, if a user connects to the Internet through America Online, the domain is aol.com.
  • The Internet protocol (IP) address of the computer that was used to access the Internet. An IP address is a number that is assigned to a user's computer when he/she logs onto the Internet. When a Web page is requested, the user's IP address is included in the message, and the recipient of the request can respond to it by sending another message using that IP address.
  • The name and version of the user's computer operating system and Internet browser. For example, Windows 2000 (operating system) and Internet Explorer 6.0 or Netscape Navigator 7.1 (Internet browsers).
  • If a user comes to www.cancer.gov from another Web site, the Internet address of the "referring" Web site.
  • The date, time, and duration of the user's visit to www.cancer.gov, and the pages visited.

Cookies

When a user visits a Web site, the Web site's server generates a piece of information known as a "cookie" and places it on the user's computer. Some cookies remain on a user's computer after the user has ended his/her Web site visit. These types of cookies are called "persistent" cookies. They collect personal information about a user and allow the user's computer to be recognized in the future.

The NCI Web site, however, generates only non-persistent cookies or "session cookies." These cookies are erased by a user's Internet browser after a period of inactivity or when the user closes his/her browser. Session cookies do not collect any personal information about a user.

Session cookies serve technical purposes, such as allowing seamless navigation through a Web site. They are stored in memory and are only available during an active browser session.

Email Messages Sent to the NCI Web site

When inquiries are sent to the NCI Web site by email, the question(s) and the email address of the sender are stored electronically to allow time for a response to be researched, written, and sent. Unless otherwise required by law, NCI will not identify anyone who sends questions or comments to its Web site. NCI does not collect information that will allow users to be identified personally, unless they choose to provide such information.

If children send questions or comments to the NCI Web site and include their name and/or home mailing address as part of their message, the information will be used only to respond to them personally. Providing this type of information is optional, and NCI suggests that children obtain their parents' permission before providing any information online--to the NCI Web site or any other Web site.

Links to Other Web Sites from the NCI Web Site

The NCI Web site has links to many other Web sites. NCI cannot guarantee the privacy or security of information users provide to linked, external Web sites.

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