The following principles reflect the Texas Chapter of the ACP's commitment to maintain the Web site visitor's rights to privacy and the confidentiality of personal information. In this context, privacy refers to the right of the individual site visitor to choose whether to allow personal information to be collected, by the host site (in this case, TXACP) or by third parties, and to know what type of information is collected and how that information is used. Confidentiality is the right of an individual to not have personally identifiable information disclosed to others without that individual's express informed consent.
The Internet has the potential to allow information about Web site use to be tracked in aggregate (which can help site developers understand site use and improve the experience of the viewer) and at the individual user level. Individual user information can improve the visitor's experience of the site by permitting personalization of the site related to the individual's particular interests or concerns. TXACP, however, takes extensive measures to ensure the safety and security of its Web site servers and to guard against divulging private information.
TXACP believes that all site visitors should have the opportunity to opt in or out of allowing personal information to be tracked. In addition, TXACP believes that Web site visitors should know who (i.e. the site organization or third party) is tracking personal information and the types of personal information that are tracked and should have the right to opt out of such information being collected at any time.
- The site does not collect name, e-mail address, or any other personal information unless voluntarily provided by the visitor after the visitor is informed about the potential use of such information. TXACP collects and stores the name of the domain and host from which users access the Internet (for example, aol.com or princeton.edu); the Internet protocol (IP) address of the computer being used; the browser software operating system used; the date and time users access the site; and the Internet address of the website from which they linked directly to the site. TXACP uses this information to measure the number of visitors to the different sections of the site, and to help make the site more useful.
- The process of opting in to any functionality that includes collection of personal information includes an explicit notice that personal information will be saved, with explanation of how the information will be used and by whom. The opt-in statement is not embedded in a lengthy document and is explicit and clear to the viewer.
- TXACP may collect, retain, and use personal information about site visitors when the TXACP believes that such information would be useful in providing site visitors with products, services, and other opportunities, provided such use adheres to these principles and is within bounds of current regulations and law. Individuals may agree to have such personal information collected or may choose not to, with the understanding that opting out of having such information collected prevents the site from being tailored to their particular needs and interests.
- Names and e-mail addresses of site visitors are not provided or released to a third party without the site visitor's express permission, in conformance with the policy established by the TXACP.
- E-mail information, personal information about specific visitor's access and navigation, and information volunteered by site visitors, such as survey information and site registration information, may be used by TXACP to improve the site but are not shared with or sold to other organizations for commercial purposes without the site visitor's express permission, in conformance with the policy established by the TXACP.
- TXACP will use e-mail addresses voluntarily provided by site visitors to notify them about updates, products, services, activities, or upcoming events. Site visitors who do not wish to receive such notifications via e-mail may opt out of receiving such information at any time.
- Names and office addresses of TXACP members are made available, in accordance with policy established by the TXACP, only for communications that are germane to the practice of medicine or of interest to physicians or medical students as consumers.
- Nonidentifiable Web site visitor data may be collected and used in aggregate to help shape and direct the creation and maintenance of content and to determine the type of advertisement to be seen by site visitors while on the TXACP site.
- A cookie is a small file stored on the site user's computer or Web server and is used to aid Web page navigation. Two types of cookies are commonly used. A session cookie is a temporary file created whenever a Web site is accessed and is self-terminated based either on an expiration date (i.e. 3 hours from creation of the cookie) or by closing the Web browser. A persistent cookie is a permanent file and must be deleted manually. Cookies referred to in the context of these Guidelines are persistent cookies. A cookie function may be used on the site to track visitor practices to help determine which site features and services are most important and guide editorial direction. The cookie makes it possible for the user to access the site without requiring entry of a user name, allows the user to view different restricted areas of the site without reregistering, and allows the user to personalize the site for future use. Users who do not desire the functionality created by the cookie have the option of disabling the cookie function on their browser.
- E-mail messages sent to a Web site may not be secure. Site visitors are discouraged from sending confidential information by e-mail. Site visitors sending e-mail accept the risk that a third party may intercept e-mail messages.
- Market research conducted by the site or its agent to enhance the site is clearly identified as such.
- E-mail alerts and newsletters contain an "unsubscribe" option.