Web server activity logs
Like most web servers on the Internet, our servers collect and store all of the
information that your web browser sends when it requests a web page, including:
- the name, domain, and numerical internet address of the "host" computer (typically
a computer belonging to your Internet Service Provider and not your personal computer)
from which you access the Internet;
- the date and time you accessed our site;
- the Internet address of the web page that you came from;
- the page you requested from our site and the number of characters sent to your computer;
- the information your web browser software sends as its so-called "User Agent," which
typically identifies the browser software and may also indicate the operating system
and type of CPU used in your personal computer.
It is impossible to determine the actual identity of an individual user from this
The logs are periodically summarized and analyzed in order to study site usage over
time and to perform other studies to help us improve the site's organization, performance,
When you send us personal identifying information via e-mail (that is, in a message
containing a question or comment, or by filling out a form that e-mails us this
information), we use it to respond to your requests. We may forward your e-mail
to other Government employees or contract personnel who are better able to answer
your questions. We do not retain or distribute lists of e-mail addresses to any
parties outside of the USGS except as necessary to conduct official U.S. Government
business. In no event, do we distribute lists of e-mail addresses to non-Government
File transfer protocol (FTP)
Many USGS sites using the file transfer protocol may also store your e-mail address
if your web browser is configured to provide it. By default most web browser software
does not send your e-mail address; this option is configured through your browser
preferences. In Netscape Navigator, for example, this option must be set by you
through the Advanced preferences category by the item labeled, "Send email address
as anonymous FTP password."
When you voluntarily provide us with personal information as part of an online survey,
we use it to perform various quantitative and qualitative analyses to improve customer
service and satisfaction. We may forward the information collected to other Government
employees or contract personnel to perform the actual analysis. You are under no
obligation to participate in such surveys. Non-participation will not inhibit your
use of our web site in any way. If you provided the information to us in error,
you may request its removal at any time.
When you voluntarily provide us with personal information such as name, shipping
and billing address, and credit card number when ordering products online, we use
the information to fulfill your order. We may forward the information collected
to other Government employees or contract personnel or to other computer systems
(such as secure electronic commerce servers) to complete the requested transaction.
We may collect information from you, with your permission, that will allow us to
provide various customer services, such as promotional materials and product availability
notices. We may forward the information collected to other Government employees
or contract personnel to provide specific marketing services. We will remove such
information at your request.
Collection and release of gathered information
We want to make it clear that we will not obtain personal identifying information
about you when you visit our web sites, unless you choose to provide such information
to us. Except in the course of officially authorized law enforcement investigations,
or in the event of a suspected attempt to deliberately circumvent our system's security
with the intent to gain unauthorized access or to do physical damage (for example,
an attack by hackers), we do not attempt to identify individual users or share any
information we receive with any parties outside of the USGS. In the latter case,
collected information associated with a suspected intruder might be shared through
the USGS's Bureau Information Resources Security Administrator with an incident
response service such as the CERT®
Retention of collected information
Cookies - Some applications may save a "cookie" on your computer's hard disk
to provide a temporary history of actions taken. A common example is the tracking
of items placed in an online "shopping basket." We do not retain any record of "cookies"
beyond what is necessary for running the application.
Web server activity logs - Monthly extracts of the log files are archived
and stored off-line at our discretion for an indefinite period of time. Some statistical
summaries derived from these data may be retained online or off-line at our discretion
for an indefinite period of time.
E-mail - Information collected via e-mail will be retained at our discretion
in a directly readable form for as long as necessary to complete our response. The
e-mail itself may be retained in an archival form as required by Federal laws and
regulations governing the retention of historical records of government agencies.
For more information, please refer to the National Archives and Records Administration's
Online surveys - Information collected via online surveys may be maintained
at our discretion for an indefinite period of time.
Marketing information - Such information may be maintained at our discretion
for an indefinite period of time.