Gettysburg College's Internet and World Wide Web sites are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our site users. Among our goals is the intention to give the end user as much control as possible over personal information. Collecting information is an inherent part of the normal operation of our sites (and of practically all Internet sites). This statement describes what information is collected, how it is collected, why it is collected, and how it may be used. After reading it, users can make informed decisions about whether and how to make use of our various Internet services.
Like practically all Web servers, our Internet hosts collect and store information sent by the Web browser when it makes a request for Web content. Collected information may include the Internet Protocol (IP) address being used by a user's computer, or by the firewall or proxy server of the user's network; the hostname associated with that address; the date and time the browser made the request; what page or file was requested; the page the browser "came from" immediately before the request; and "User agent" information, which normally includes the browser software and operating system the computer is currently running. These logs are stored for the purpose of analyzing trends in how people are using our systems. With this information we identify heavy use periods, the most common Web browsers, the most popular content on our sites, and other related information that helps us improve the usefulness and performance of our Web sites.
When a user contacts a representative of Gettysburg using electronic mail (email) or an Instant Messaging service, information included in that message may be used to respond to the message or to provide a requested service or information. The message, or information in it, may be shared with other employees of the college for the purpose of providing requested information or a requested service. Information collected in this way, including email addresses and messaging usernames, is never distributed to persons or organizations outside Gettysburg unless absolutely necessary to fulfill a request. Gettysburg does not give or sell lists of email addresses for commercial purposes.
Some of our resources are made available using FTP. Many browsers are configured to provide the user's email address as the "password" for anonymous FTP requests. In those cases, the email address so provided may be recorded in the FTP server's request log. Gettysburg does not make any use of addresses stored in this way except to analyze FTP server usage.
Some of our sites create a "cookie", a record on your computer's own hard disk, which makes it possible for our sites to recognize that a specific computer has made previous requests. Our cookies are used exclusively for providing services requiring such a record. Gettysburg does not track cookies for any purpose other than the needs of such Web-based applications.
Gettysburg may occasionally conduct online surveys of its user base, which may include both campus community members and users who are not directly affiliated with Gettysburg. As part of such surveys we may, with the user's permission, collect personal and potentially identifying information. Any information gathered in this way is used for quantitative analysis of services, perceived qualities of the college, and users' attitudes towards Gettysburg or its Internet sites. If such information is to be made available to other organizations or to be published, that fact will be made known to users prior to participation, and their permission will be explicitly requested. Users can decline to participate if there is concern about the use of the collected information. Survey information will be released only in aggregate form, and not in connection with any identified individual user.
Gettysburg may collect information from a user, with the user's permission, for the purpose of providing various services and information, possibly including promotional materials, or periodic updates on offered services or the progress of a previous request. Information collected in this way may be shared with other persons or departments within the college, but will not be shared in any way with persons or organizations that are not part of Gettysburg, unless necessary to fulfill a user's request (for example, providing credit card information to a payment processor to complete a payment transaction).
Much of Gettysburg's Web content includes links to content on Internet servers belonging to other persons or organizations, and not to Gettysburg. Gettysburg cannot control or make any representation concerning those persons' or organizations' collection and use of personal information.
This statement explains how information collected from users is used by Gettysburg. However, it is not a guarantee of privacy. It is possible for collected information to be disclosed without the college's permission or knowledge (for example, if an Internet host is "attacked", or is compromised by a virus). For this reason Gettysburg disclaims any warranty or representation of privacy or non-disclosure of information collected through the use of our Internet sites.