SSA’s Privacy Policy for IdeaScale

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is committed to ensuring the privacy of our users. This website is hosted by a private company named IdeaScale, but is administered by SSA. This privacy policy governs the privacy practices of SSA with respect to anyone visiting or participating on SSA’s IdeaScale site, Engage SSA.

IdeaScale is a versatile tool that allows us to have multi-directional conversations with employees and members of the public. SSA uses IdeaScale to host private (SSA-wide engagements with employees) and public communities.

Members of the public can view and search ideas in public communities, without logging into IdeaScale, since these communities are open to the public. In order to post ideas, add comments, or vote on any of the online discussion topics, users must log in. You can log in by creating an IdeaScale account by submitting a valid working email address. Please note: SSA employees should visit the Engage SSA intranet site, for more information on setting up an Engage SSA account.

SSA will not share your email address with anyone outside of SSA or IdeaScale. SSA does not validate the information we gather when you establish or edit your profile, so you can enter whatever you like. Profile information is limited to a chosen first name, last name, and if you choose to provide one, a ZIP code. This information is visible to SSA employees who administer the Engage SSA site.

SSA may moderate text entered into public communities, if SSA determines the content is inappropriate based on SSA’s Engage SSA Comment Moderation Policy.

SSA gathers/publishes information from you on this Website in two ways:

  1. Information You Enter upon Registration
  2. To provide you with the opportunity to interact in this online dialogue, SSA requires registration and requests information to identify you when you use the site. All that is required is a valid, working email address, which we will confirm via a return email. You may voluntarily provide a ZIP code if you choose, or edit your profile to provide a first and last name.

    Your ZIP code, your chosen first/last name, and your email address, may be visible to SSA employees who administer the Engage SSA site. Ideas and comments are displayed with the first part of an email address that the visitor provides upon registration. For example, if the email address you use to register is sam.doe@email.com, your username will automatically be set to "sam.doe." However, you may change this once you are signed in by editing your user profile and choosing a new first/last name that will override the default setting.

    SSA may analyze ZIP codes to determine from which areas of the United States ideas and comments are being submitted. SSA will use ZIP code information only for geographical-type purposes for metrics, not to track individuals or link specific comments to individuals.

    SSA does not collect any other personal information about you, other than that which you choose to provide as part of the registration process. SSA does not sell, rent, exchange, or otherwise disclose any of this information about our site visitors, nor does SSA export data regarding email addresses or first and last name, if entered, for any reason other than if required by law or to track down repeated abusive behavior on the site.

    The information you submit is for login purposes only. Beyond the information you submit for registration, you should not enter any personally identifiable information when you submit ideas or comments.

  3. Cookies
  4. A persistent cookie is a piece of data stored by a user's browser that helps a website or service such as this dialogue tool to recognize that user's unique computer, and thus to "remember" you on return visits. You can remove or block cookies by changing the settings of your browser.

    IdeaScale (the tool SSA has selected to support our online discussions) uses an optional persistent cookie in this tool to recognize returning participants so they do not have to log in each time they visit the site. IdeaScale uses the cookie to save user login information (the user's login ID) between sessions. The user is given a choice (an "opt in" approach) to check a box to stay signed in. This is an optional convenience to you if you do not want to have to remember your login information each time you visit the site. No personal information is saved in this cookie, nor can we use the cookie to track user activities across other websites.

    Additional explanation of the types of cookies, our policies regarding use of them, and all third-party vendors we use which implement cookie technology can be found at the SSA Internet Privacy Policy.

    SSA will not gather other information on participants, such as your IP address (the location of your computer on the internet), for the purpose of analyzing usage patterns.

    Links to Other Sites

    This website has links to other government and non–government websites. Once you follow a link to a different website, your actions are no longer subject to this Terms of Participation and Privacy Policy. These outside links are not within our control and may not follow the same privacy, security, or accessibility polices.

    Children's Privacy

    SSA is especially concerned about protecting children’s privacy. Therefore, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). COPPA, and its accompanying Federal Trade Commission regulations, establishes United States Federal law that protects the privacy of children using the Internet. We encourage parents and teachers to involve themselves in children’s Internet explorations. We do not intentionally collect information from children under the age of 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 Web application employs a number of security programs to protect the security of the infrastructure, to monitor network traffic, and to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. You should direct questions regarding security practices to the email address at the end of this statement.

    Changes to this Policy

    SSA will 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 SSA decides 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 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 about our privacy practices, please contact the Engage SSA Team at engage.ssa@ssa.gov.

    6/2018