Terms of Participation and Privacy Policy

We invite you to join the conversation to help evolve Data.gov. We created this Web site in order to engage people in a discussion around enhancing Data.gov, including your ideas about the document titled 'Data.gov Concept of Operations'. To foster interaction, visitors to this Web site may submit ideas, submit comments about ideas, and vote for the ideas they think are the most important.

We at Data.gov believe in the importance of openly sharing ideas. At the same time, we believe in mutual respect for the use of each other's private information. If you have questions about this policy, please let us know at datagov@gsa.gov.

We hope to receive comments from all viewpoints. This Web site will be moderated in order to retain focus on Data.gov and to ensure that the discussion remains appropriate for participants of all ages. Accordingly, we ask all participants to agree to the following Terms of Participation:

  1. To ensure a productive discussion, you agree to post only ideas or comments directly related to Data.gov and the Data.gov Concept of Operations document.
  2. To refrain from submitting obscene or threatening language; discriminatory language (including hate speech) based on race, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability; sexually explicit material; and other material that would violate the law if published here. We ask all those who elect to participate to conduct themselves in a civil manner.
  3. To refrain from submitting ideas or comments that promote services or products (not including non-commercial links that are relevant to this Web site); include private phone numbers, email addresses, or postal addresses; embed other media (not including hyperlinks to other media).

Ideas and comments will not be edited except to remove personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, other people’s names and information, etc. All comments will be archived following deletion of personally identifiable information, except your name should you provide it.

By participating in this online community, visitors also agree that ideas or comments they submit for posting may be rated by other members of the public through the use of up or down voting arrows. The rating score of comments is displayed next to the comment. A positive rating increases the score and a negative rating decreases the score.

We gather/publish information from you on this Web site in three ways. Please read below for more detail concerning these privacy terms.

  1. Information Entered by You upon Registration;

    You do not have to give us personal information to visit our Web site.

    To provide you with the opportunity to interact at this Web site, we require registration and request information upon registration that can be directly associated with you. We call this 'Personal Information.' It includes your name or pseudonym/alias of your choice, your email address, and/or another unique identifier, such as a password. You can change this Personal Information at any time.While you may use a pseudonym/alias and participate anonymously, we encourage you to identify yourself by your legal name as a means to creating a strong reputation for yourself as part of this online community.

    We collect no other Personal Information about you other than that which you choose to provide as part of the registration process.

    It is our general policy not to make Personal Information available to anyone other than members of the Data.gov Program Management Office unless it is required by law or is disclosed as otherwise described in this policy; e.g.,ideas and comments are displayed with the name or pseudonym/alias the visitor chooses to provide upon registration. The Data.gov Program Management Office does not sell, rent, exchange or otherwise disclose our mailing lists or information about our site visitors.

  2. Information you choose to Publish

    When you submit information for publication on this Web site, the submission will be published with that name or pseudonym/alias. Other Personal Information will not be published.

  3. Information Gathered indirectly to Analyze General Traffic Patterns

    In order to analyze general traffic patterns for the purpose of making our site more useful to visitors, we automatically log and temporarily store the following information:

    • IP addresses, which are the locations of computers or networks on the Internet;
    • The types of browsers and operating systems used to access our site;
    • The date and time of visits to our Web site;
    • The pages visited; and
    • The address of Web sites from which our visitors link to this Web site.

We do not gather, request, record, require, collect or track any user's Personal Information through these processes.


A cookie is a piece of data stored by a user's browser that helps a Web site or service recognize that user's unique computer. You can remove or block cookies by changing the settings of your browser.

Session specific cookies may be used to improve the user experience and for basic Web metrics. These cookies expire in a very short time frame or when a browser window closes and are permitted by current federal guidelines.

Links to Other Sites

This Web site has links to other government and non-government Web sites. Once you follow a link to a different Web site, your actions are no longer subject to this Terms of Participation and Privacy Policy.

Children's Privacy

Because we care about the safety and privacy of children online, we comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). COPPA and its accompanying FTC regulation establish United States federal law that protects the privacy of children using the Internet. We do not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under 13. Our site is not intended to solicit information of any kind from children under 13.

Internet Security

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Your Agreement

These are terms of an agreement between you and this Web site. By submitting an idea,submitting a comment, or voting for an idea, you acknowledge that you have read, understood,and agree to be bound by these terms and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

If you wish to communicate with the Data.gov Program Management Office but do not wish to register on this Web site or abide by the Terms of Participation, you can contact us at datagov@gsa.gov.

Changes to this Policy

We anticipate rolling out new participatory features to this Web site and will update the Terms of Participation accordingly.

We will also revise or update this policy if our practices change, or as we develop better ways to keep you informed about them. You should refer back to this page often for the latest information and the effective date of any changes. If we decide to change this policy, we will post a new policy on our site and change the date at the bottom. Changes to the policy shall not apply retroactively.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Terms of Participation and Privacy Policy. We encourage your participation in the discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at datagov@gsa.gov.

Updated: December 7, 2009