Website Privacy Policy

Website Privacy Policy

This website is a function and participant in State and Federal programs that assists and helps meet community needs. At GulfCoastCenter.org, your privacy is one of our top priorities. This policy describes the privacy and security practices regarding information collected from GulfCoastCenter.org site visitors. The GulfCoastCenter.org Privacy and Security Policy apply only to the GulfCoastCenter.org site. This policy does not apply whenever visitors leave GulfCoastCenter.org domains by clicking a link to an external site.

Collection of Information

For online transactions conducted on GulfCoastCenter.org, individuals will be requested to enter information about themselves and/or the organization with which they are affiliated. When personally identifiable information is requested, there will be an indication of whether the disclosure of such information is mandatory or optional to continue the transaction. The type of information requested will vary based upon the type of transaction and the state agency or local government involved in the transaction with the individual. GulfCoastCenter.org will collect the same information as would be collected if the transaction was performed in person, over the telephone, or through the mail with the state agency or local government. Additional information may be requested if required by law, if such information is necessary to verify an individual’s identity and secure the transaction, or if the visitor voluntarily elects to receive information from state agencies, local governments, or GulfCoastCenter.org.

For general use or browsing of GulfCoastCenter.org, visitors are not asked for personally identifiable information, and none will be collected unless otherwise stated in this document. GulfCoastCenter.org uses server logs and persistent cookies to collect information about the number and types of visitors to GulfCoastCenter.org and how they use the website. This information includes the type of browser, operating system, and the Internet Protocol (“IP”) address used by each visitor and similar information about the computer network used. It also includes information verifying when and how pages of the website were accessed. However, no attempt is made to match this information with the identity of the visitor, except as is required to comply with a law enforcement investigation. For more information regarding cookies, see below.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Children under the age of 13 are not eligible to use services that require submission of personal information and should not submit any personal information to us. This includes submitting personal information to the website as part of a user profile or personalization profile. If you are a child under the age of 13, you can use these services only if used together with your parents or guardians. Seek guidance from your parents or guardians if you are under the age of 13.

If we decide to begin collecting personal information from children under the age of 13, we will notify parents that it is being requested, disclose the reasons for collecting it, and disclose our intended use of it. We will seek verifiable parental consent before collecting any personally identifiable information. If we do collect such information, parents may request information on the type of data being collected, view their child’s information, and, if they choose, prohibit us from making further use of their child’s information. We will not provide personal information about children to third parties.

Use of Information

Information collected during an online transaction is used for the following purposes:

  • To complete online transactions with the appropriate state agency or local government (such as the payment of sales tax or the renewal of a license or permit) and with the payment method selected during the transaction;
  • To send an email to or otherwise contact the individual using the online service confirming the transaction or identifying and resolving problems that may have resulted during the transaction, including in connection with the payment methods; or
  • To provide information about state agencies, local governments, or GulfCoastCenter.org to visitors who elect to receive this notification service.

Metrics from GulfCoastCenter.org server logs and persistent cookies are used for the following purposes:

  • Assessing the usability of GulfCoastCenter.org
  • Determining what information is of most interest to GulfCoastCenter.org visitors
  • Establishing technical design specifications
  • Measuring GulfCoastCenter.org system performance
  • Identifying potential issues associated with the interface or operation of GulfCoastCenter.org.

GulfCoastCenter.org works with contractors to provide various products and services required for the operation of GulfCoastCenter.org. Personally identifiable information may be shared with these contractors if necessary in connection with the transactions, in connection with maintenance and improvements to the GulfCoastCenter.org site, and to support the services and applications offered on GulfCoastCenter.org. Contractors and subcontractors of GulfCoastCenter.org are prohibited by contract from selling information from or about the users of GulfCoastCenter.org. Except as otherwise provided in this policy:
(1) GulfCoastCenter.org will not disclose the email addresses of members of the public who have communicated electronically with a governmental body without the affirmative consent of the affected individual; and
(2) Personally identifiable information contained in a question or comment sent to GulfCoastCenter.org in an email message or submitted in an online form is only used by GulfCoastCenter.org to respond to the question or comment. GulfCoastCenter.org may redirect the message to a specific state agency or local government if GulfCoastCenter.org staff believes that the state agency or local government may be more qualified to respond.

This website shares information with the State and Federal Government as part of the function in passing needed information to the proper departments and or organizations. The Department of Information Resources may be required by law enforcement or judicial authorities or applicable law to provide personally identifiable information to the appropriate governmental authorities. Additionally, GulfCoastCenter.org will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in identifying those who appear to be using our services for illegal activities. GulfCoastCenter.org reserves the right to report any information to law enforcement agencies, including personally identifiable information, in connection with activities that it, in good faith, believes to be unlawful.

GulfCoastCenter.org does not sell and does not generally release (other than as provided in this policy) personally identifiable information to third parties; however, information provided to any governmental body may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act and applicable federal and state legislation. Information about theTexas Public Information Act is available from the Office of the Attorney General and at Texas Government Code, Chapter 552. Additionally, certain state agencies or local governments whose sites are accessible through GulfCoastCenter.org may have different policies concerning the sale or release of personally identifiable information. Upon leaving GulfCoastCenter.org and linking to an external site, the policies governing GulfCoastCenter.org no longer apply and users are subject to the external site’s policies. Questions and concerns regarding the information or services provided by a linked site must be directed to the entity or individual responsible for that site, rather than to GulfCoastCenter.org. In addition, postings from the public on GulfCoastCenter.org social media sites become public records and may be posted on GulfCoastCenter.org, and once posted, are available to be viewed and copied by other users. This information may be subject to public information requests. Neither GulfCoastCenter.org, nor its licensors or contractors performing services in connection with the social media sites are responsible for any actions of third parties who access information posted on any GulfCoastCenter.org social media site.

For more information about public information requests, please refer to the GulfCoastCenter.org Public Information Request Policy.

Security

To protect the security of its employees, GulfCoastCenter.org users, and hosted applications and services, GulfCoastCenter.org complies with the following standards and codes as applicable:

Government Agency / Title
ISO 27002 International Organization for Standardization
COBIT 4.1 Control Objectives for Information and related Technology
PCI DSS Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards
FFIEC Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
GLB Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
SOX 404 Sarbanes-Oxley Act Section 404
TAC 202 Texas Administrative Code Title 1, Part 10, Chapter 202
FERPA Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 99)
IRS 1075 Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075: “TAX INFORMATION SECURITY GUIDELINES FOR FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES AND ENTITIES”
OWASP Top 10 Open Web Application Security Project Top 10 Vulnerabilities

In addition, GulfCoastCenter.org uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for secure transmissions, which are identified as such on the site. SSL applies encryption between two computers, in this case the individual’s personal computer and the GulfCoastCenter.org server. GulfCoastCenter.org utilizes 128-bit and or 256-bit encryption, which is one of the stronger standard encryptions currently in the marketplace. At a minimum, the following information will be encrypted when transmitted to GulfCoastCenter.org during a secure transmission:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • All credit, debit, and charge card numbers
  • Bank account and electronic check information
  • Transaction payment information
  • Driver license number
  • Personal identification numbers (PIN) and passwords
  • Email addresses

A web browser will automatically activate the appropriate security features when initiating a transaction on GulfCoastCenter.org. On most browsers, an unbroken key or locked padlock icon at the bottom of the browser screen indicates that a secure connection is in place.

Cookies

Some of the services hosted on GulfCoastCenter.org use cookies. A cookie is a small text file that a website stores on a visitor’s personal computer to track specific information about that visitor’s interaction with the website. The services hosted on GulfCoastCenter.org use both session cookies and persistent cookies. A session cookie is temporary and only exists during a single session during which a visitor uses GulfCoastCenter.org. GulfCoastCenter.org session cookies are used to keep track of a particular online transaction and are destroyed after successful completion of a transaction, after a few minutes of inactivity, or when the browser is closed.

Persistent cookies continue to exist after a few minutes of inactivity, after the browser is closed, or after a visitor completes a single session. GulfCoastCenter.org uses persistent cookies to track visitor activity on the site to structure content and make the GulfCoastCenter.org websites easy to use. All persistent cookies from GulfCoastCenter.org will expire within twenty-five months.

GulfCoastCenter.org cookies do not contain or collect personal identifiable information about visitors. Moreover, GulfCoastCenter.org will not match visitor activities with personally identifiable information, unless required by law or by law enforcement agencies, or as necessary to enforce the terms of use of the site. If an individual’s web browser does not accept cookies, he or she may not be able to conduct online transactions on GulfCoastCenter.org. However, this will not hinder normal browsing of the website. GulfCoastCenter.org does not currently utilize web bugs or any other technology to track user activity other than those stated in this policy. However, as technology evolves, GulfCoastCenter.org may change the technology in use, and will post changes to this policy on the site from time to time to reflect any such changes.

GulfCoastCenter.org Privacy and Security Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns about the GulfCoastCenter.org Privacy and Security Policy, please contact us at (409) 763-2373 or (281) 488-2839.

If you have any questions or concerns about how state agencies and local governments handle personal information, please contact them directly.

Additional: New technology is now coming online with New Online Security, and Privacy Policies. This new technology is simply called Do Not Track. At this time this website does not respond to the DNT signals. In accordance with our stated policy however we will not track user activity and or use personal or private information in anyway other than stated in this policy.

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