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Space Telescope Science Institute Privacy Policy

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is committed to protecting individual privacy and securing any information made available to us when you visit our web site or use our online applications. This policy describes what information is collected and how we use and store that information.

This policy is organized into the following sections:

Information we collect We collect basic information about your visit in order to understand who uses our site ( read more ).
Information you supply Some of our services require personal information such as name, affiliation, or email address ( read more ).
Information you share Some of our services allow you to share information with others ( read more ).
Monitoring We actively monitor to prevent malicious or unauthorized activity ( read more ).
Email subscriptions We use email lists to communicate with subscribers ( read more ).
Links to external sites We have links to external sites which we do not control ( read more ).
Social websites We have a presence on some social websites ( read more ).
Data retention We may indefinitely retain the information we collect ( read more ).
Notification We will provide notification of a data breach ( read more ).
Accessibility We strive to ensure that our resources are accessible to individuals with disabilities ( read more ).
Disclosure We may release information to law enforcement agencies in response to a lawful court order ( read more ).
Children Our services are not intended to solicit information of any kind from children under 13 ( read more ).

Information We Collect

In order to understand who uses our online resources and how they are used, when you visit the STScI website or use online applications, we collect basic information such as the date and time, internet protocol (IP) address, information about your web browser and computer (computer type, browser type), the resources you visit on our site, the amount of data transmitted, etc. We use this information to generate aggregate statistics on the usage of our site. We share this aggregate information with NASA and with our parent organization (AURA). Some of this aggregate information will be made available to the public. We will not use this information to identify or track usage by individuals, except as necessary to provide user support and maintain our systems. Non-aggregated information is only available to STScI and authorized contractors.

We do not sell or rent this information to anyone outside of the STScI. We use this information only for the purpose of understanding how our resources are used and how they may be improved.

A "cookie" is a piece of data that our web site transfers to your web browser to allow it to remember specific information about your visit. Some STScI web pages use cookies. We may use both session and persistent cookies. Session cookies last only as long as your web browser is open. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time. We use cookies to allow better navigation on our pages and to allow you to customize preferences. If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your computer, you may disable them in your browser. However, this may prevent some STScI services from functioning properly.

Information You Supply

Some of our web pages and applications may ask for personal information such as your email address or institutional affiliation. We may also require you to create an account to use some of our resources. We may share this information with NASA, ESA, AURA and other astronomical institutions. Some of this information is publicly available in order to foster scientific collaboration. Some information for Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators of observing and archival programs is public, including name, institution and contact information.

Information You Share

Some of our services (e.g. blogs, wikis) allow you to contribute information which will be seen by other users of those pages, or by the public. This information may be indexed by search engines such as Google or Bing. You should exercise discretion to not reveal personal information.


The STScI monitors computer and network systems to ensure that our services are available to the intended users. We monitor the computer and network systems to identify attempts to deny service or make unauthorized changes. Anyone using our systems expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to law enforcement officials. If we see evidence of improper access, we may, without notice, remove access for some or all users in order to further investigate the situation. We will restore the service as quickly as possible and provide the community with information about the situation.

Email Subscriptions

STScI maintains lists of subscribers who have asked to receive email updates. A recipient may unsubscribe from future messages via a link at the bottom of each email message. We do not sell, rent or otherwise disclose our subscriber lists to persons or organizations outside STScI.

Note that your participation in an email subscription may expose your email address to other subscribers.

To provide you with general information, our site contains links to external (non-STScI) sites. You should realize that such links are subject to the privacy and security policies of the external site and that the STScI Online Privacy Policy does not apply. We can't guarantee the accuracy or relevance of information on an external site. A link to an external site is not an endorsement by the STScI.

Social Websites

To better communicate with the public and astronomical community, STScI uses social websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to disseminate information and to engage the community. STScI does not own, manage or control the applications on social websites. Information that you supply to those sites is subject to their privacy and security policies and the STScI Online Privacy Policy does not apply.

Data Retention

The information we collect may be retained indefinitely.


In the event of a breach, or reasonable suspicion of a breach which allows an unauthorized person to access personally identifiable information, we will inform you as soon as possible. This notice may be sent to you individually, or we may notify you via STScI applications or our social media presence.

Accessibility Statement

We strive to ensure that our resources are accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have any difficulty viewing any page with adaptive technology, please contact .


We will share any information we have, including personal information, with organizations or individuals outside of STScI if we have a good-faith belief that this is reasonably necessary to:

Children and Privacy

We believe in the importance of protecting the privacy of children online and do not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under the age of 13. Our services are not intended to solicit information of any kind from children under 13. To notify us of our receipt of information from children under 13, please contact .


If you have questions about this policy, or you have a privacy concern, please send an email to .

Date: 11 June 2014