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Protecting your privacy is very important to us. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit unless you choose to provide it to us. NHGRI never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NHGRI mission and goals.

Information Collection

Types of Information Collected

When you browse through any website, certain information about your visit can be automatically collected. We automatically collect and store the following non-personally identifiableinformation about your visit:

  • Your domain or IP Address (a name or number that is automatically assigned to your computer's network when surfing the Web).
  • The date and time of your visit.
  • Your browser and operating system version, including whether it is a mobile device.
  • The pages you visited.
  • The referring address of the website you came from when you arrived at our site.
  • The keywords you may enter into our site's local search engine(s).
  • Any information you submit when you use our Contact Us form.
  • Demographic and Interest Data. Note: on some portions of our website we have enabled Google Universal Analytics (UA) to provide aggregate demographic and interest data of our visitors. This information cannot be used to identify you as an individual. While these tools are used by some websites to serve advertisements, HHS only uses them to measure demographic data. We have no control over advertisements served on other websites.

Methods of Collecting Information

Genome.gov uses Google Analytics and other off-the-shelf analytics measurement software to collect information from the above list automatically and continuously. We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to distinguish between new and returning visitors to help make our site more useful to visitors. However, no personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.

From time to time, NHGRI staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from these systems. The reports are only available to NHGRI website managers, members of their Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

NHGRI retains this data only as long as required by law or needed to support the mission of the NHGRI website.

Use of Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies [whitehouse.gov] allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected.

The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of Web pages. Cookies from NHGRI Web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site. They do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies: single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

  • Temporary (Session) Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as improving navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The "session" cookie is not permanently stored on your computer. The cookie and the information about your visit are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser to end the session. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1-Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies."
  • Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable Google Analytics to differentiate between new and returning NHGRI visitors. The OMB Memo M-10-22 Guidance allows Federal agencies to use persistent cookies, which remain on your computer between visits to a website until they expire. The Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2 - Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."

Opting Out/Disabling Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources on Genome.gov.

Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml. Please note that by following the instructions to opt out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from Genome.gov.

Protecting Personal Information

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NHGRI website. If you choose to provide us with additional information about yourself through an e-mail message, form, survey, etc., we maintain the information only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication.


NHGRI does not disclose, give, sell or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required for law enforcement or by statute.

P3P Compliance

NHGRI's public websites comply with P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences Project) protocols. Our machine-readable P3P policy can be viewed at http://www.genome.gov/w3c/p3p.xml. Questions about NHGRI privacy policies should be sent to the NHGRI webmaster at: Questions and Feedback.

Site Security

NHGRI websites are maintained by the U.S. Government. They are protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in Federal court.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we employ software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.

Data Safeguarding and Privacy

All uses of Web measurement and customization technologies will comply with existing policies with respect to privacy and data safeguarding standards. Information Systems (IT) systems owned and operated by NIH are assessed using Privacy Impact Assessments posted for public view on the Department of Health and Human Services website. Groups of records that contain information about an individual and are designed to be retrieved by the name or other personal identifier linked to the individual are covered by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a). For these records, NIH Systems of Record Notices are published in the Federal Register and posted on the NIH Senior Official for Privacy website.

Data Retention and Access Limits

NHGRI will retain data collected using the following technologies long enough to achieve the specified objective for which they were collected. The data generated from these activities falls under the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule (GRS) 20-item IC "Electronic Records," and will be handled per the requirements of that schedule (http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/grs/grs20.html).

Third Party Websites and Applications

Third-party websites and applications (TPWA) are Web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by NHGRI, such as non-.gov hosted applications and those embedded on NHGRI Web pages that could cause personally identifiable information (PII) to become available or accessible to NHGRI, regardless of whether NHGRI solicits or collects it.

As part of the Open Government Directive, Genome.gov uses a variety of new technologies and social media options to increase government transparency, enhance information sharing, promote public participation, and encourage collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of Health, and NHGRI. These sites and applications include popular social networking and media sites, open source software communities and more. The following list includes the websites and applications we use and their purposes. For any sites or applications that collect PII, this list also includes details on information collected and how NHGRI protects your private information.


Genome.gov uses the AddThis service to allow visitors to bookmark and share site content on a variety of social media sites. Visitors who use the AddThis service to share content do not need to register or provide any personal information. The AddThis service providers collect non-personal data, including the aggregate and summary statistics on browsers and usage patterns. AddThis also uses non-personal data to manage the service efficiently and diagnose server problems. Although AddThis offers some analytics and usage data to NHGRI, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to Genome.gov site managers, members of the Genome.gov Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff requiring this information to perform their duties. The AddThis Privacy policy is available at: http://www.addthis.com/privacy.


NHGRI uses goo.gl (a URL shortening service) as a linking tool on Genome.gov. From the Genome.gov home page, users can click on hyperlinked icons for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where they will be taken to the corresponding social media site via the goo.gl-shortened hyperlink. Goo.gl collects and provides data on how often users click on the shortened URLs. Goo.gl analytics do not provide any personally identifiable information about the visitors who opened the shortened links. Google's Privacy policy is available at: http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy/privacy-policy.html.


NHGRI uses bit.ly (a URL shortening service) as a linking tool on its social media sites Facebook and Twitter. Bit.ly collects and provides data on how often users click on the shortened URLs. Bit.ly analytics do not provide any personally identifiable information about the visitors who opened the shortened links. Bit.ly's privacy policy is available at: http://bitly.com/pages/privacy.


NHGRI posts videos on its YouTube channel, GenomeTV, to make them available to all Genome.gov visitors. You do not need to register with either YouTube or Google (YouTube owner) to watch NHGRI videos. When visitors watch videos, YouTube may record non-personally identifiable information about its site usage, such as channels used, videos watched and data transfer details to improve its services. If you log on to the YouTube site before watching NHGRI videos, YouTube may associate information about your site use with your YouTube account. If you log on to YouTube and comment on an NHGRI video, any personal information you included when registering for your account will be visible to visitors who click on the comment. If you do not log in before watching NHGRI videos posted on YouTube, your site use will not be associated with you or a YouTube account. The YouTube privacy policy is available at: http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy.


NHGRI has three Facebook pages - Genome.gov | National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)National DNA Day and ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements). The privacy policies for the Facebook pages are located on these sites.
On each of the NHGRI Facebook pages, NHGRI staff posts news and other items of interest to users. If you have a Facebook account or "Like" NHGRI Facebook pages, you can post comments or click on the "like" option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the "like" button, personally identifying information will be visible to NHGRI staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments, and not clicking on the "like" options in Facebook.
NHGRI staff does not collect, use, or disclose any information about visitors who comment or "like" the NHGRI Facebook sites. Facebook collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Facebook pages. This information is password-protected and only available to NHGRI managers, members of the NHGRI Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. The Facebook Privacy Policy is available at: http://www.facebook.com/policy.php.


NHGRI has three Twitter feeds - @Genome_gov@DNAday and @ENCODE_NIH. We use Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters) or "tweets" to share information about NHGRI with our audiences and respond to comments and inquiries sent via Twitter to NHGRI. While users may read the NHGRI Twitter feeds without subscribing to them, users who want to subscribe to (or follow) NHGRI Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at www.twitter.com.
To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as name, user name, password and e-mail address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the Twitter.com website.
NHGRI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but the staff never uses the personal information of their Twitter followers. NHGRI does not collect, maintain disclose, or share any information about people who follow NHGRI on Twitter. The Twitter privacy policy is available at: http://twitter.com/privacy.


NHGRI has a Livestream page - GenomeTV. Livestream is a platform that allows NHGRI stream its live events over the internet, allowing users to watch the video from their computers, via a web browser, or their mobile devices. Livestream also enables NHGRI to embed streaming video on the genome.gov website. Users do not need to register with Livestream to view the streaming video. However, if users want to participate in the moderated chat room that accompanies a live streaming event, they will need to register and create an account. Users can register with either an e-mail address and password or an existing Facebook account.
If you log on to the Livestream site before watching NHGRI videos, Livestream may associate information about your site use with your Livestream account. If you log on to Livestream and participate in the chat, any personal information you included when registering for your account might be visible to to other users. If you do not log in before watching NHGRI videos on Livestream, your site use will not be associated with you or a Livestream account. Livestream's privacy policy is available at: http://livestream.com/terms/privacy.


NHGRI uses MailChimp to send email communications to people who voluntarily sign up to receive them. To subscribe, you must provide an e-mail address and indicate which subscriptions you'd like to receive.MailChimp provides NHGRI with non-identifying, aggregate usage statistics about the number of emails sent, received, and opened, and links within emails clicked. MailChimp password-protects the subscriber lists and aggregate usage statistics, and only designated NHGRI staff and contractors who manage email communications via MailChimp have access to the information. MailChimp never allows access to the subscriber lists to anyone outside of NHGRI for any purposes. Review the MailChimp Privacy Policy.


NHGRI uses Flickr to upload and share photos and images related to the NHGRI mission and culture. NHGRI is responsible for the uploaded images on it's Flickr page - Genomegov - and must ensure that the images assigned for posting meet the NIH quality standards and comply with all NIH, HHS, and federal policies. Images posted are produced by NHGRI, and may include medical illustrations and other scientific images. Photos posted may also include pre-approved photos of NIH employees at events or in labs for the purpose of promoting the NHGRI mission and culture. You do not need to register with Flickr to view the images on NHGRI Flickr sites, because all images posted on the Flickr are visible in the public domain. However, if you choose to register, you will not provide PII directly to NHGRI. NHGRI has disabled the commenting feature on its Flickr site. Therefore, PII cannot be collected or unintentionally received by NHGRI employees via the Flickr site. Review the Flickr Privacy Policy.


NHGRI participates in the Ask Me Anything (AMA) series - a unique format that allows scientists to speak about their work in a manner that is not possible within the confines of traditional communication practices. In this format, questions can be explained individually and follow-up questions or comments may be fielded so that the community has a clearer understanding of the research being discussed. NHGRI uses this platform as a way to discuss our intramural research, Extramural Research Programs, new initiatives in funding, or general issues related to genomics research and genomic medicine. In effort to bring science education to the public, Reddit Science has created an independent, science-focused AMA Series. The goal is to encourage discussion and facilitate outreach while helping to bridge the gap between scientists and the general public. You do not need to register with Reddit to view the discussions because questions and answers are visible in the public domain.

If you choose to register with Reddit, you will be asked to provide a username, a password and an email address. If you log on to the Reddit site before participating in any discussions videos, Reddit may associate information about your site use with your Reddit account. Any personal information you included when registering for your account might be visible to to other users. If you do not log in before participating in discussions, your site use will not be associated with you or a Reddit account. Review the Reddit.com Privacy Policy.

Last updated: January 8, 2018