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Website privacy & Social Media Policies

 

Thank you for visiting the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) website and reviewing our Privacy Policy explaining our online information practices. The privacy of visitors to our website is of the utmost importance to FHFA.

Our privacy policy is clear: You do not have to provide personal information to use this website.


We will collect no personal information about you when you visit our website unless you voluntarily choose to provide that information to us. We respect your right to privacy and will protect it when you visit our website.

Here’s how we handle information about your visit to our website:

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If, during your visit, you only browse through the website, read pages, or download information, we automatically collect and store only the following information:

  1. The Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from a university's domain), and IP address (an IP address is a number that is assigned automatically to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you accessed our website:

  2. The type of browser and operating system you used to access our site;

  3. The date and time you accessed our site;

  4. The pages you visited;

  5. The type of actions you performed, such as information requests, and the searches you performed;

  6. The number of bytes of information, if any, sent by our server; and

  7. If you linked to our website from another website, the address of that website.

This information never identifies you personally. We use this information to help make our site more useful to visitors. This data is used in summary form for statistical purposes: to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our users use; to assess system performance; to identify problems with agency systems; and to improve the site for users. In the event of a computer security incident, such data may be further refined to allow computer security specialists to identify Internet service providers and, in certain cases, individuals or entities attacking FHFA.

Website Measurement and Customization Technologies (e.g. Cookies) Policy

The FHFA uses web measurement and customization technologies, commonly known as “cookies”, to collect information about users’ visits to our site. Use of these technologies makes our website function better for you and allows us to better understand how the public is using the website. Cookies are files placed on your hard drive by a website that allows the website to monitor your use of that site, usually without your express knowledge.

Some cookies collect personal information to recognize your computer in the future. FHFA does not do this on our website. We use only non-persistent cookies or "per-session cookies”, also known as “Tier 1 web measurement and customization technologies”. These cookies do not collect personal information on users and they are not stored on your computer’s hard drive. They are stored only in your computer’s memory during an active browser session, and they are deleted or erased as soon as you close your browser after visiting our website.

FHFA uses a third-party analytics provider (currently Google Analytics) to analyze the data collected through the non-persistent cookies or per-session cookies. Google Analytics does not receive personally identifiable information through these cookies and does not combine, match, or cross-reference fhfa.gov information with any other information. The data is automatically sent from a cookie on your machine or device to the provider’s system which immediately aggregates that data. The cookie and any data related to a particular visit to our website are deleted from your computer immediately after you close your browser. FHFA uses the aggregated data for internal purposes and discloses it to FHFA employees and contractors who have a “need-to-know” in the performance of their official duties. Please refer to the following policies on Google’s website for more information:

You may opt out of having cookies installed on your machine or device by changing the settings of your browser to disable them. For instructions on how to disable cookies from common browsers please visit: http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml.

If you chose to disable cookies you will continue to have access to FHFA’s website, and you will receive comparable information and services. However, your experience may be different than those who enable cookies.

If You Send Us Personal Information

We do not collect personal information for any purpose other than to respond to your inquiries or complaints. Any personally identifying information (such as name, address, phone number, email address, etc.) that you provide is voluntary. If you voluntarily choose to provide us with such personal information by filling out a form and submitting it to us through our website we will use the information to respond to complaints, appeals, inquires and requests for information; to review and post comments on proposed rules/regulations; to review feedback received on FHFA proposed or implemented initiatives; and to compile a list of potential vendors and contractors. The forms will also assist FHFA and those who will respond to the submitter with consumer issues involving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. We may share or disclose that information consistent with FHFA’s System of Records Notice (FHFA - 21 – Online Forms). In some circumstances, including requests from Congress or private individuals, we may be required by law to disclose the information you submit. We do not collect or use your information, or create individual profiles for commercial marketing purposes.

We employ physical, technical and administrative safeguards to maintain the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the information we collect on our website. To view a listing of our Privacy Impact Assessments for our electronic systems and collections, including those utilizing web measurement and customization technologies please visit our privacy page at http://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/FOIAPrivacy/Pages/Privacy.aspx.

While you must provide certain information about yourself (i.e. name, address, and e-mail address) for a personal response to any incoming questions or comments to FHFA, we strongly recommend that you DO NOT include other personal information, especially your Social Security Number, mortgage loan numbers and amounts, and other financial account information. For guidance on how to protect your Social Security Number visit the Social Security Administration’s website.

E-Mail Policy

You may send us electronic mail (e-mail) containing your personal information, comment, question, or complaint. If you send us e-mail, we may store your name, email address and other personal information in order to respond to you. With the exception of comments made specifically in response to a Request for Comments issued by FHFA for rulemaking purposes, we do not share your e-mail with any other outside organizations except as set forth in our SORNs; for authorized law enforcement investigations; or with our regulated entities in order to assist in responding to complaints and inquiries. Comments made in response to a Request for Comments incident to a rulemaking are public information and are posted on the website in the rulemaking section without change and will include any personal information you provide, such as your name, address, telephone number and email address.

What are Your Rights under the Privacy Act of 1974?

Under the Privacy Act of 1974, federal agencies must not disclose any “record” which is contained in a “system of records” to any person, or to another agency, except at the written request of, or with the prior written consent of, the person to whom the record relates. There are exceptions for certain disclosures within the Government and disclosures required by statute.

A “record” is any item, collection, or grouping of information about a person that an agency maintains and that contains the person’s name, or some other identifying number, symbol, or feature assigned to the person by the agency (e.g., a fingerprint or a photograph).

A “system of records” means a group of “records” under the control of an agency from which the agency actually retrieves information by a person’s name or by the identifying number, symbol, or feature that the agency has assigned to the person. Because of this actual retrieval requirement, not all personal information collected online is covered by the Privacy Act.

Other major provisions of the Privacy Act require the FHFA to:

  • Publish a system of records notice in the Federal Register explaining the existence, character, and uses of any new or revised system of records;

  • Maintain in its records only information about you that is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required by law;

  • Keep information about you accurate, relevant, timely, and complete to assure fairness in dealing with you; and

  • Allow you, upon request, to access, review, and request amendment of your information held in a system of records.

Principal Purpose and Routine Uses of Information

Our principal purpose is to respond to complaints, appeals, inquires and requests for information; to review and post comments on proposed rules/regulations; to review feedback received on FHFA proposed or implemented initiatives; and to compile a list of potential vendors and contractors. The forms will also assist FHFA and those who will respond to the submitter with consumer issues involving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

  As required by the Privacy Act of 1974, all routine uses are published in FHFA systems of records notices, found on the FHFA Privacy Office page. As stated in the routine uses in FHFA systems of records notices (where applicable), FHFA may also use your information to determine whether any person has violated, is violating, or is about to violate the laws or rules that FHFA enforces. FHFA may use the information you provide in legal proceedings. If the information points to violations of other laws or regulations, we may turn it over to other government agencies, including United States Attorneys and state prosecutors. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, we generally do not disclose to you whether we have done so or not.

FHFA will not agree to limit its use of your information in any way not required by law, unless FHFA or an authorized staff explicitly agrees to do so in writing.

Authority for Collecting Information

FHFA is authorized to request information from you by: 12 U.S.C. 4501 et. seq.

Information from Children

Sections of FHFA’s Website may offer educational content to children, parents and teachers. In compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), FHFA does not require children to reveal any information that could personally identify them. If, however, a child chooses to provide us with personally identifying information, through an e-mail, Web form or other means, that information will only be used to respond to the writer's question(s) or request(s). The information will not be retained, used for another purpose, or shared with third parties.

Copyright and Permissions Notice

Generally, information and materials produced by Federal agencies, including FHFA, are in the public domain and may be copied and distributed without permission. This excludes the FHFA seal, and other Federal agency seals, which are protected by law.      

Some of the information contained on this website is not in the public domain because it may have been purchased, licensed or donated by third parties. This information may be subject to copyright or trademark protection. It is your responsibility to identify such protected information and obtain permission from the copyright or trademark holders before use in anyway.

If you are the copyright owner of material on this website that you believe has not been properly attributed to you or has been used without your permission, please contact us and include a link to the relevant material in your message.

Links to Other Websites

This website contains hypertext links to information created and maintained by other organizations. These links to external websites are provided for your convenience. FHFA does not control nor guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information on these other links/websites. If you go to other websites through these links, our privacy and security policy will no longer apply to you and you will be subject to the privacy and security policy of the new websites. If you click a link to a non-government external website, you will be notified by an exit message/pop up message.

Social Networking/Media

In order to encourage greater public participation, collaboration, and transparency, FHFA currently maintains official accounts on commercial social networks sites, including YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. FHFA does not collect, maintain, or disseminate information posted by visitors to these sites. Additionally, FHFA does not endorse or control the comments or opinions provided by visitors to these sites. Please note that the FHFA Website Privacy Policy does not extend to, or have authority over, the privacy policy of any commercial social networking sites you may visit. Therefore, if you choose to interact with FHFA on a commercial third-party site, please review carefully the third party’s privacy policy.

Internet Security Policy

By using this site, you are agreeing to security monitoring and auditing. For security purposes, and to ensure that the public service remains available to users, this government computer system employs programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or to otherwise cause damage, including attempts to deny service to users.

Unauthorized attempts to upload information and/or change information on any portion of this site are strictly prohibited and are subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. § 1030).

False Statements and Documents

If you furnish us with information that you know to be false or misleading, you are subject to prosecution under federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

The information you give FHFA may be used against you in any federal, state, local or foreign administrative, civil or criminal proceeding brought by FHFA or any other agency. You may refuse, in accordance with the rights guaranteed to you by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to give any information that may tend to incriminate you or subject you to fine, penalty or forfeiture.

Liability

FHFA makes no express or implied warranty, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process described or depicted on this website. Finally, FHFA does not represent that the use of any such information, apparatus, product, or process would not infringe privately owned rights.

Questions about Privacy

If you have questions about FHFA’s privacy policy and information practice, you can email us at privacy@fhfa.gov, or contact us at:

Chief Privacy Officer
Office of General Counsel
Federal Housing Finance Agency
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 649-3803

© 2014 Federal Housing Finance Agency