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JPL Children's Web Site Policies

Welcome to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Education Websites The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) run by Caltech for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Our goal is to educate and excite children about JPL's role in space exploration. While we encourage interactivity in learning, we strive to ensure the online safety and privacy of our users.

JPL/Caltech is committed to complying fully with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). Our information practices with respect to the collection of information from children under the age of 13 are explained below as required by the Federal Trade Commission's Children's Online Privacy Protection Regulations, located at 16 CFR § 312.

(i) Contact Information (16 CFR § 312.4)

For all inquiries from parents concerning the privacy policies of this website and use of children's information, please contact: Susan Watanabe, Site Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive MS 180-109, Pasadena, CA  911 (818) 393-4132;

(ii) Information Collected (16 CFR § 312.4)

As with all Web sites, JPL's Education Websites may collect some information indirectly from all users visiting our site. What is collected and how it is used is explained below.

• System Logging. Our Web server systems keep log files about network transactions. We analyze our Web log files to calculate statistics on which pages are visited and how long visitors stay on our site. We do not track individuals with this information. We are required to retain this information for the security of our Web site and online service. These logs are not viewed unless necessary for security reasons (16 CFR § 312.5(c)(5)(i)).

• Internet Addresses. This site gathers Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and pages viewed as part of the logging system within our Web server. When calculating statistics on visits and pages viewed, IP addresses are used in broad calculations. IP addresses are never used to identify someone personally unless a security breach requires such an investigation (16 CFR § 312.5(c)(5)(i)).

• Use of Cookies. This site uses session cookies for visitors to our site. A session cookie is a temporary file stored in the user's Web browser that is deleted when it either expires or the browser is closed. No privacy or personal information is stored in a cookie from this Web site. We may store a temporary number which helps us understand traffic patterns or helps us control access to restricted pages. Some features of JPL's Virtual Field Trips may not function properly without session cookies being enabled.

In addition, JPL's Education Websites may collect some information directly from users visiting our site. The information collected and how it is to be used is explained below:

• E-mail and E-mail Addresses.  Children may be asked to provide an e-mail address for different situations: (1) Should a child submit a request for information or request a picture, the child will be asked to provide an e-mail address (his/her own or that of a friend) for a single use by the operators in order to respond to the child's request.  In such cases, the child's e-mail address will be deleted after the response is sent.  [16 CFR 312.5(c) (2)] (2) A child may submit a comment to a blog using his/her e-mail.  In such cases, the content of the email (question, comment, etc.) will be pre-screened and posted to the blog site, but the child's e-mail address will be removed and the child's submission will be attributed to the first name of the child or the unique name provided by the child.  (3) Children may be asked to provide an e-mail address or create a persistent screen name, which in turn may require the submission of a name and/or e-mail address, for a subscription to news or for participation in interactive content. In any such case, specific parental consent will be obtained, as described below, and the information will be stored in a secure manner.  In all cases, the e-mail address will only be used for the educational and outreach purpose described (e.g. to respond to a request, for submission of a blog comment, or for communication regarding participation in a subscription or interactive content.)  The e-mail address will not be used for commercial or marketing purposes.

• Other Personal Information.  From time to time this site may conduct a contest that requires submission of a child's first and last name, address, email address, and telephone number for notification regarding the contest outcome.  In the event that this is the case, parental consent will be obtained, as described below, and the information will be stored securely until the outcome of the contest has been determined, at which time all such information will be destroyed.

(iii) How Information Collected is Used (16 CFR § 312.4)

For brevity, the use of the collected information is described in the above section on explaining what is collected.

(iv) Third Party Disclosure (16 CFR § 312.4)

This site does not disclose information to third parties.   If a child has obtained parental permission to participate in a subscription service, contest or interactive environment, a third party contractor or collaborating institution may have secured access to the collected information.  In such event, such third party access and use will be identified in the privacy notice for the specific website subscription, contest, or interactive environment and will be called out in the parental consent request.

(v) Participation (16 CFR § 312.4)

This site is prohibited from conditioning participation in any activity on the disclosure of more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity.

(vi) Review or Deletion of Privacy Data (16 CFR § 312.4)

If a child's personal information (e-mail address, personal identifier such as a user name, address, or other personal information) is used, parents may contact the site manager, named above, and can review and have deleted any such personal information as the parent wishes at any time.

(vii) Links to External Sites

JPL's Education Websites tries to provide a safe, fun, and private environment for kids to learn about JPL. We generally do not link to sites other than our own partners (Caltech, NASA, other JPL sites, and educational content providers); however, in the case of subscriptions, contests, and interactive environments, we may link to sites of contractors or collaborating institutions. We are not responsible for the content or collection practices of these sites and recommend you read their privacy policies before providing them information.

(viii) User Interaction

While visiting the site, users have a limited ability to interact with each other in playing an online game. This allows users to communicate to each other simple messages using pre-scripted text offered in online menus. The system does not allow users to communicate messages beyond what appears on the pre-determined menus. For example, users are not able to send or receive their names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or any other personally identifiable information.  OR

While visiting the site, users have a limited ability to interact with each other through “blogging.”  All blog responses are pre-screened for content propriety and personal information and when posted are identified only by reference to an individual's user name

(ix) Parental Notice and Consent (16 CFR § 312.5)

A child participating in an activity on this website for which the site requires parental consent the child will be asked to provide the e-mail address of his/her parent.  The parent will be sent a notice at that e-mail address which provides:
• That JPL wishes to collect personal information from their child
• The specific personal information that will be requested, how it will be collected, stored and used, and whether a third party operator or collaborating institution will have access to such information and under what conditions
• Details regarding any possible child user interactions with other individuals on the website
• A request for verified parental consent in the form of either: a signature on an attached consent form returned by mail or fax; or an e-mail sent to JPL from the parent with a telephone number- in this instance JPL will send a confirmatory e-mail to the parent's email address or will call the parent and document consent.
• That, even if consent is given now, parents may review and request that any personal information be deleted at any time in the future.
Should verified parental consent not be obtained within 30 days of the request, the contact information provided by the child will be permanently deleted.

Additional Information

For more information, see the Caltech/JPL Web Privacy Policy.