Whenever a user interacts with the County’s Web Portal, the County’s Web Portal servers automatically collects and logs the user’s Internet domain (i.e. www.exampledomain.com), Internet Protocol (IP) address, referring web address, browser type, screen resolution, date and time of the visit, and the content or web pages visited. This information is used primarily for statistical reporting and web design purposes in applications such as Google Analytics.
The County also collects information when a user fills out a form, or otherwise provides information, for the County to provide services. The data a user provides may be stored in County data bases. By providing information, a user authorizes the County to collect the information. If a user does not wish the County to collect his or her information, a user should not provide the information to the County. However, the County may be unable to provide the service if a user does not provide required information.
The MPIA defines “personal information” as information collected that identifies an individual, including an individual’s address, driver’s license number, or any other identification number, medical or disability information, name, photograph or computer generated image, Social Security number, or telephone number. However, “personal information” expressly does not include an individual’s driver’s status, driving offenses, 5-digit zip code, or information on vehicular accidents.
Similarly, the MPIA defines a “personal record” as a public record that names or, with reasonable certainty, otherwise identifies an individual by an identifying factor, such as an address, a description, a finger or voice print, a number or a picture.
Under the MPIA, personal information, resulting in a personal record, may be collected only when the information is appropriate and relevant to the County services requested. The MPIA restricts the County's ability to create "personal records" to those circumstances under which the County clearly establishes the need for that information.
The MPIA generally requires the County, as a political subdivision of the State of Maryland, to disclose all public information, including personal information. The MPIA, however, specifically exempts certain categories of information from this public disclosure requirement. The MPIA also expressly recognizes that other laws prohibit certain categories of information from public disclosure. The County complies with all applicable laws that protect certain categories of information from public disclosure.
The County collects, retains and uses personal information only where the County believes it is essential (and allowed by law) to perform the County’s mission of providing products, services, information and other opportunities requested by Web Portal visitors. The County does not sell or rent Web Portal users’ information to any company or organization.
Consistent with applicable laws, County employees have access to a user’s personal information only to the extent necessary for the employees to perform their work on behalf of the County.
When visiting a County Web Portal web page, a “cookie” or small text file may be downloaded from a County Web Portal server to a user’s computer to collect and store non-personally identifiable information. The information stored in the cookie is used by County Web Portal servers to successfully recognize a user and retain user browsing preferences, so that Web Portal web pages can more efficiently serve users in future visits. County Web Portal server-generated cookies will include information identifying itself to the user’s computer.
Cookies are not executable programs that can be used to spread a virus or read a user’s computer hard drive. However, some users may choose to set their browser to block cookies, to eliminate the risk of third-party web site cookies to accessing their computer. By doing so, this may affect access to and functionality of some County Web Portal applications which use temporary cookies to manage an application’s session state. Temporary cookies are stored in a user’s computer's memory during a browsing session, are not used to collect user preferences, and are typically removed when the browser is closed.
The County is dedicated to the proposition that users have a right to data security on the County’s Web Portal consistent with applicable law. The County sets and meets high security standards and follows rigorous procedures to prevent unauthorized access to or disclosure of user information and to prevent unauthorized removal or alteration of data.
The County provides its Web Portal users with a secure online experience by using a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information, including the creation of a user identification and password to limit access by others to a user’s information in certain County applications.
The County responds to user requests to correct or update inaccurate information in a timely manner. In the event the user believes his or her information needs to be modified, the user must notify the County. Furthermore, for the resolution of any security issues, including misuse or corruption of information, or user identification and password concerns, the user must contact the County immediately.