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Web Privacy Notice and Disclaimer

A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Whatcom County web site and reviewing our Privacy Notice.
This notice addresses the collection, use and security of and access to information
that may be obtained through use of the Whatcom County Web. This notice covers the
following topics:


B. Information Collected and How it is Used

What information we collect if you only browse this site.

If you do nothing during your visit to our web site but browse and read web pages, our
web server will record certain information about your visit. None of this information is
tied to your personal identity; you can browse our site anonymously. We collect and
store the following information about your visit:

1.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. This address translates into the domain
name of your service provider. (e.g. xcompany.com or yourschool.edu);
2.The type of web browser software and operating system software you used;
3.The date and time you visited this site;
4.The web pages or services you accessed at this site; and
5.The web site you visited prior to coming to this web site.

The information Whatcom County automatically collects is used only to help us
understand how people are using our services. Whatcom County analyzes this
information to determine how our web site is being used, so that we may continually
improve the site's usefulness to the public.

What information we collect if you volunteer it.

If during your visit to our web site you participate in a survey, send us email, download
any files or documents, or perform some other transaction on-line, the following
additional information will be collected:

1.The email address, and contents of email, for those who communicate with us
via email.
2.Information volunteered in response to a survey.
3.Information volunteered through an on-line form for any other purpose.

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 to respond directly to you, to address issues you identify in your
email, to further improve our web site, or to forward to another agency for appropriate
action. Survey information is used to continually improve our services. Information
from other on-line forms is used to provide you with a particular service.


C. Personal Information and Choice

You may choose whether to provide personal information on-line.

"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 do not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us
by sending us e-mail or completing an on-line form. You may choose not to contact us
by email or to provide any personal information using an on-line form. Your choice not
to participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse Whatcom County
Web and view the information provided on the site.

If personal information is requested on the web site or volunteered by the user, state
law and the federal

Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information is a public record once
you provide it, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not protected by
state or federal law.

If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than
what was intended when submitted, you may contact us as shown in the

Contact Information section of this notice.

Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or
volunteered by children on-line or by email will be treated the same as information
given by an adult, and may be subject to public access.


D. Public Access to Information

In Washington, laws exist to ensure that state or local government is open and that the
public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by state
or local 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.
Exceptions are provided by both state and federal laws.

All of the information collected at this site becomes public records that may be subject
to inspection and copying by members of the public, unless an exemption in law
exists. The provisions of

RCW 42.17. 260(1) state that:
"Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public
inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within the specific
exemptions of subsection (6) of this section [RCW 42.17.260(6)], RCW 42.17.310,
42.17.315, or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific
information or records. To the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion
of personal privacy interests protected by RCW 42.17.310 and 42.17.315, an
agency shall delete identifying details in a manner consistent with RCW 42.17.310
and 42.17.315 when it makes available or publishes any public record; however, in
each case, the justification for the deletion shall be explained fully in writing."

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or
other law governing the agency's disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or
other applicable law will control.


E. Nondisclosure of Certain Information

Whatcom County may require you to provide certain personal information in order to
complete a specific transaction. The information is required in order to provide you
with specific services. You may choose not to provide this information, but if you
choose not to provide it we will be unable to provide these services, and you will have
to complete your transaction either in person or by mail.

Although information collected at this site may be subject to public inspection,
members of the general public do not have a right to inspect your credit card numbers,
debit card numbers, electronic check numbers, card expiration dates, or bank or other
financial account numbers that are supplied to an agency for the purpose of electronic
transfer of funds, except when disclosure is expressly required by law. RCW

42.17.310(1).


F. Review and Correction of Personally Identifiable
Information

You can review any personally identifiable information we collect about you by using
the information in the

Contact Information section at the end of this Notice. You may recommend changes to
your personally identifiable information you believe to be inaccurate by submitting a
written or email request that credibly shows the inaccuracy. We will take reasonable
steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. (RCW
43.105.310)


G. Cookies

The Whatcom County Web site does not use "cookies" at this time, however, some of
our partner web sites may use them. When you link to another web site, you are
subject to the privacy policy of that new site. Cookies are simple text files stored on
your computer by your web browser. These text files allow for customization of your
browsing experience on a web site by using the cookie feature to store a randomly
generated identifying tag on your computer that identifies your computer as a returning
visitor to that web site.


H. Security

Whatcom County takes precautions to safeguard the personal information you provide
through our web services.

This 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 Whatcom County web
sites.


I. Disclaimer

The Whatcom County Web has many links to other sites on the World Wide Web.
These include links to sites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit
organizations, and private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no
longer on the Whatcom County Web and this Privacy Notice will not apply. When you
link to another web site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new site.

Neither Whatcom County, nor any agency, officer, or employee of Whatcom County
warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published by this web
site, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this web
site, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy,
reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be
incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained
from this web site does so at their own risk.


J. Whatcom County Contact Information

You may contact Whatcom County as follows:

To review your personal information, or request correction of your personal
information, or if you believe that your personal information is being used for a
purpose other than what was intended when submitted, contact:

Whatcom County Information Services
311 Grand Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone 360-676-7684
it@co.whatcom.wa.us

To offer comments about Whatcom County's Web services, contact:
Webmaster
webmaster@co.whatcom.wa.us


Last updated March 7, 2001