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Privacy Policy

Welcome to the Mass VetsAdvisor. Your privacy is one of our top priorities. Your privacy with respect to the use of the VetsAdvisor results from a partnership between the MBI and you, the user. At the VetsAdvisor, we attempt to utilize the maximum feasible measures reasonably needed to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of "personal information," as defined in Chapter 93H, and "personal data," as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A, maintained by state agencies.

However, certain information that you provide to us through this site may be made available to members of the public under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, § 10. This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at this site, what we do with it, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. Based on this information, you can make an informed choice about your use of this site. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the MBI by making informed choices about the information you share us through this site.

Please note that declarations, affidavits and other papers filed by claimants to apply for benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and records kept by DVS are treated in accordance with M.G.L. c. 66, § 18 and are not public records.

Applications for Veterans' Benefits
The Veterans' Service Officer (VSO) of the municipality (or district) within which the applicant for veterans' benefits resides is the person designated by law to accept and submit applications to the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Service (DVS) for the applicant. Therefore, if you communicate with DVS by the internet or via e-mail, then you should not reveal any confidential information about a pending application for benefits.

Service Provider Validation Policy

MassVetsAdvisor.org encourages the inclusion of a large number and a wide range of non-government sponsored benefits, programs, and services to be listed on the website. Service providers have the ability to self-register and self-maintain their programs. While this will result in a larger number of listed programs for Veterans and their families, MassVetsAdvisor.org, in partnership with representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, the Massachusetts Veterans Services Officers Association, and the U.S. Veterans Affairs, will make every effort to ensure the validity and quality of programs listed on the website. (See MassVetsAdvisor.org “Terms and Conditions” for complete information and disclosure.)

When a service provider registers their program, the program does not automatically appear on the website. Instead, MassVetsAdvisor.org staff is notified of the new entry, and will begin a formal process to validate the provider and their program or service. Once the provider has been validated as a legitimate entity, the provider will then be permitted to fully describe their program and associate it with the search categories that will make it easy to find. When they have completed the description, MassVetsAdvisor.org staff is again notified. MassVetsAdvisor.org staff will review the program description, make sure the search categories are set correctly, and work with the service provider to make sure the information is clear, understandable and accurate. Only after that final review has been completed and approved, will the program appear in the MassVetsAdvisor.org.

Service programs created by federal or state legislation will be automatically approved to be on the website. In addition, service programs that are officially partnered with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services will be approved immediately to be posted on MassVetsAdvisor.org. Services providers that are non-profits and for profit businesses must prove that they offer a specific service or benefit to Veterans on a yearly basis. These services and benefits would also require the approval of a super majority (2/3) of the Advisory Board present. Should a service be added that more than half of the Advisory Board finds unacceptable, the Community Manager shall eliminate the service from the website.

Once a program is listed in MassVetsAdvisor.org, the service provider will be able make updates to their program. Any time the program is edited or updated, MassVetsAdvisor.org staff will again be notified to review the changes. Only after the review is completed and approved, will the changes be made on the website.

MassVetsAdvisor.org users are encouraged to contact the MassVetsAdvisor.org Community Manager to report any inaccuracies, problems or concerns they have with any programs that are listed on the website. The Community Manager may be contacted at mvacm@masstech.org.

Table of Contents (Jump to section)

Personal Information and Personal DataTop

We use the terms "personal information," as defined in M.G.L. c. 93H, and "personal data," as defined under the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), M.G.L. c. 66A, to mean any information maintained by state agencies that could reasonably be used to identify someone, including any information concerning an individual which, because of name, identifying number, mark or description can be readily associated with a particular individual such as names, addresses, e-mail addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, or any combination of information that could be used to identify someone. The provisions of chapter 93H and the FIPA, apply to such personal information and personal data.

Information Voluntarily Provided by YouTop

This site collects voluntary information from you only through the creation of a personal account on the VetsAdvisor and through the e-mails that you send to us.

Special Protections against Misuse of Personal Information within Commonwealth OfficesTop

On September 19, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 504, which enhanced the privacy protection afforded to information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personal information within the Executive Department. This site complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personal information and personal data that you submit to this site is afforded the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504 section 18 of chapter 66 of the general laws, the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), and other applicable laws and regulations.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this SiteTop

This website employs the use of "Persistent Cookies." The purpose of these Persistent Cookies is to collect and aggregate data regarding the site's visitor activity in order to continuously evaluate and update website services. You may elect to disable the Persistent Cookies. Please be advised that disabling the Persistent Cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with this website. The site also collects and stores indefinitely your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, which does not identify you as an individual, as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file requested from your IP address exists, and how many "bytes" of information were transmitted to your IP address over the Web from this site. We use your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us with your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation.

Data UsageTop

In addition, we use a tool called "Google Analytics" to collect information about use of this site. Google Analytics collects information such as how often users visit this site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this site. We use the information we get from Google Analytics only to improve this site. Google Analytics collects only the IP address assigned to you on the date you visit this site, rather than your name or other identifying information. We do not combine the information collected through the use of Google Analytics with personally identifiable information. Although Google Analytics places a permanent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but Google. Google's ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Use and the Google Privacy Policy. The Google Analytics Terms of Use are available online at http://www.google.com/analytics/tos.html. The Google Privacy Policy is available online at http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser.

Dissemination of Your Personal Information and Personal DataTop

We will not attempt to match any personal information or personal data that you provide to us with your IP address unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a law enforcement investigation.

We do not sell any personal information or personal data collected through this Web site. However, once you voluntarily submit personal information or personal data to us by creating an account or through an e-mail, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law, the Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA), Executive Order 504, and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request.

In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials with a "need to know" for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. They will only use the information to answer your questions, respond to any requests for assistance, and fulfill the Commonwealth's legal obligations. Where appropriate, we may provide the information submitted by you to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters referred to in your communication.

Your Access and Opportunity to CorrectTop

The Public Records Law and the Fair Information Practices Act provide you certain rights to get information about you that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you can get and correct this information, please click on the above references to these laws.

SecurityTop

Because this site does not encrypt incoming e-mail, you should not send information that you consider highly sensitive through this Web site. We use standard security measures to ensure that your personal information and personal data is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

ContactTop

For questions about your privacy while using the Mass VetsAdvisor, please contact the Community Manager for this site at mvacm@masstech.org.