Privacy Policy

Protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ personal information is very important to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Our website privacy policy explains how we handle the personal information that you provide to us when you visit us online to browse or obtain information.

We do not collect any information that directly identifies you when you visit BOEM.gov unless you choose to provide that information to us. Submitting personally identifiable information (PII) through our website by either an email or a Web form is voluntary, but by doing so, you are giving BOEM your permission to use the information for the stated purpose.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines personally identifiable information as "information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual." For further details, see OMB Circular No. A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource July 28, 2016.

Information We Gather and Store Automatically

We may collect a limited amount of information about your visit for the purposes of website analytics and customization:

  • Name of the domain from which you access the Internet (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you are connecting from a university's domain);
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer when you are surfing the Internet);
  • Type of browser and operating system you use to visit our site;
  • Date and time of your visit;
  • Website (such as google.com or bing.com) or referral source (email notice or social media site) that connected you to our site;
  • Country and state from which you access our site;
  • Pages you visit on BOEM.gov;
  • Search terms you used to get to our website from an external search engine; and
  • Search terms that you enter into the BOEM.gov search tool.

We do not use this information to associate search terms or patterns of site navigation with individual users. We also do not share or sell visitor data for the purposes of advertising, marketing, or any other commercial purpose.

Information You Send Us

Many of our programs and websites allow you to send us email messages or submit Web forms. We will use the information you provide to respond to you. We will only send you general information via email. You should be reminded that email may not necessarily be secure against interception. Therefore, we suggest that you do not send sensitive PII (such as your Social Security number or bank account number) to us via email. If your intended email communication is sensitive, please send it by U.S. mail. Another alternative may be submission of data through a secure program website, if available.

Email messages that meet the definition of records in the Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. § 3101) are covered under the same disposition schedule as all other federal records. This means that emails you send us will be preserved and maintained for varying periods of time if those emails meet the definition of federal records. Emails that are not records are deleted when no longer needed.

If we store your PII in a record system designed to retrieve information about you by personal identifier (e.g., name, personal email address, home mailing address, personal or mobile phone number, etc.) so that we may contact you, we will safeguard the information you provide to us in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. § 552a).

The Privacy Act requires all public-facing sites or forms that request PII to prominently and conspicuously display a privacy notice. The notice must address the following criteria:

  • Legal authorization to collect information about you;
  • Purpose for which the information will be used;
  • Routine uses for disclosure of information outside of BOEM;
  • Whether your providing the information is voluntary or mandatory under law; and
  • Effects if you choose to not provide the requested information.

We only share the PII you give us with another government agency if your question relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law. We never create individual profiles or give your PII to any private organizations. We may transfer personal information to a third party only in the following cases:

  • To a bank or U.S. Department of the Treasury account, which must receive payment for a transaction that you initiated;
  • To a company that is contracted to assist us with specific services, including electronic commerce or donations, and which agrees not to sell or use personal information for other purposes;
  • To legal authorities if we suspect that you are attempting to change or otherwise damage this website, or you are using it in violation of federal or local laws; or
  • To Congress or a court in response to a subpoena.

Cookies and BOEM.gov

OMB Memorandum M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies, allows federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies. A cookie is a small file that a website transfers to your computer to allow it to remember specific information about your visit; they do not collect any personal information about you. 

Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time. A few BOEM websites may make use of persistent cookies to remember you between visits so, for example, you can save your customized preference settings for future visits. Each BOEM site using persistent cookies identifies itself as doing so. If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can opt out or disable cookies in your browser. You will still have access to all information and resources at BOEM websites.

Links to Other Sites

The pages on BOEM.gov may include hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. Once you access another site through a link that we provide, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. The Department of the Interior (DOI) linking policy is available at https://www.doi.gov/notices/linking.

Social Media

BOEM.gov is the official source of information from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. BOEM also uses social media websites and other kinds of third-party websites and applications to increase transparency, encourage public collaboration with BOEM, and in general make our content available in other formats or forums. Please note that while we encourage candid conversation and frank exchanges of ideas, BOEM does not control or endorse the comments or opinions provided by visitors to social media sites and cannot attest to the accuracy of the information provided by these sites. If you use a site outside of BOEM, you are subject to the privacy and security policies of that site. Policies related to content, such as videos, images, and audio are posted separately.

If BOEM receives your personal information through interaction with a social media site, we will maintain the information in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act to ensure the greatest protection of personal privacy. No PII will be disclosed, sold or transferred to any other entity outside BOEM, unless required for law enforcement purposes or by statute consistent with the Privacy Act.

In addition to our primary social media channels, each of which has its own privacy policy (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr), BOEM uses the bit.ly URL shortener in Twitter and other postings. Bit.ly is “built in” to the Twitterfeed tool, in that it automatically shortens long URLs in Twitter posts. According to its privacy policy, bit.ly uses cookies (see Cookies and BOEM.gov above). Those cookies are invoked only if the shortened bit.ly URL is clicked.

For further information, check out the DOI Social Media Policy. Privacy Impact Assessments for approved social media platforms that BOEM uses are available for review at https://www.doi.gov/privacy/pia.

Website Security

For site security and to ensure this service remains available to all users, this U.S. government computer system uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this site are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

We use virus protection measures on our computer systems and regularly update the software. These are computer security measures that, in addition to maintaining our computer systems, also ensure that all files that we develop and/or post on our Web servers are virus-free. When you request a file for download from our site, it is possible, though unlikely, that the data may contract a virus and become corrupted before it reaches your computer. BOEM is not responsible for files that may become corrupted as the data travels the Internet.

BOEM Website Privacy Policy Contact Information

BOEM’s privacy compliance materials are available on the BOEM Privacy Program website. For general inquiries or additional information about our website privacy policy, you may contact the BOEM Privacy Office at boemprivacy@boem.gov, 703-787-1739 or mail us at:

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
45600 Woodland Rd.
MS-OBPC
Attn: Associate Privacy Officer
Sterling, VA 20166

Updated on September 29, 2017