The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines PII 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.
We do not require you to register or provide PII to visit our website. How we handle information we learn about you from your visit to our website depends upon what you do when visiting our site.
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
We do not collect any information that directly identifies you when you visit BOEM.gov unless you choose to provide that information to us. For example, you may provide PII to BOEM when you send us an email message or complete a Web form. Submitting PII through our website is voluntary, but by doing so, you are giving BOEM your permission to use the information for the specific, stated purpose for which you provided it.
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.
Email may not necessarily be secure against interception. Therefore, please do not send us sensitive information (e.g., credit card numbers or Social Security numbers) via email. If your intended email communication is sensitive, please send it by U.S. mail.
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.
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).
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 session while you are connected. Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the website that provided it, and no other website can request it. 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.
BOEM websites may use session cookies for technical purposes, such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site. 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. However, this may affect the functioning of some BOEM websites.
Links to Other Sites
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. 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.
Social media sites may require you to submit some PII while registering to use their services. BOEM does not generally have access to, and will not seek, your registration information. Information that you voluntarily submit or publish on a BOEM page on a third-party site may be treated as public information and archived in order to comply with applicable laws. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, do not include any PII (e.g., Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, and e-mail addresses) in your comments or responses. 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 to ensure the greatest protection of personal privacy. BOEM will not disclose, sell, or transfer PII to any entity outside the bureau, unless required for law enforcement purposes or by statute consistent with the Privacy Act.
While BOEM encourages candid conversation and frank exchanges of ideas, please note that BOEM moderates comments posted to its third-party site pages in accordance with DOI social media guidelines. Additionally, the views expressed by members of the public on official pages maintained by BOEM on third-party social media websites and applications do not reflect the official views of BOEM or the U.S. Government and BOEM cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information posted by members of the public on those websites.
For further information about BOEM’s official use of social media and social networking tools, 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.
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.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
45600 Woodland Rd.
Attn: Associate Privacy Officer
Sterling, VA 20166
Updated on February 8, 2018