Website Privacy Policy

Your Privacy

Thank you for visiting the City of Winchester, Virginia website. We are committed to the privacy of the visitors to this website. This policy addresses the collection, use and security of information that may be obtained through use of the City of Winchester website, and access to that information. Pursuant to the requirements stated in Section 2.2-3803, of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the following information is provided to all users of the City's website.

Browsing

No personally identifiable information (any information by which you can be identified) is required to browse the City’s websites.

Information Collected and How It Is Used

During your visit to the City of Winchester websites, the City gathers and stores the following information about your visit. This information does not identify you personally.

  1. Internet Protocol (IP) address and domain name used. The IP address is a number assigned to your internet service provider or to your computer. We use the IP to direct web site content to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider.
  2. Web browser you used.
  3. Operating system you used.
  4. Date and time you visited the website.
  5. Web pages or services you accessed at the website.
  6. Website you visited before coming to the City of Winchester website.

This information is collected and analyzed by the City of Winchester to improve the content of our web content and services. The City of Winchester may keep your information indefinitely, but it ordinarily deletes routing information regularly after the web page is transmitted. However, routing information may be forwarded to law enforcement agencies together with other relevant information in the City’s possession in the event of a security breach or violation. Optional information is retained in accordance with the records retention schedules established by the Library of Virginia.

Voluntary Information

The City of Winchester website does not collect personal information unless the visitor voluntarily provides information by sending an email, completing an online form, or submitting an online application. Examples of forms and applications on this website include (but are not limited to):

  • Surveys used to gather public opinion and feedback
  • Requests for City services
  • Reports for an issue, problem, or crime
  • Applications for employment or volunteer positions
  • Subscriptions to newsletters or notices
  • Registration for City-sponsored classes or activities
  • Online applications used to complete services with the City

The voluntary personal information collected using online forms or electronic mail depends on the form or service you are conducting with the City. Any service available via online form may also be completed in person, via mail, via phone, or via fax, depending on the service, if you choose not to submit your information online. The information collected may not be limited to text characters but might also include audio, video, or graphic information formats. This information may be stored in a database or sent to City employees via e-mail. We use the information collected to respond to your query or complete the service you have requested. We may also use information collected to improve our services. All information, including survey entries, e-mail information, or form data may be shared internally with other departments within the extent permitted by law. The information will not be distributed externally except as required by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

The City of Winchester Does Not

  • Collect or sell information for commercial marketing
  • Provide personal information to private organizations, except as required by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act or other law
  • Share any personal information with other agencies or persons, if prohibited by law

Some City projects involve collaboration with other local or state government agencies. Voluntary personal information submitted to the City of Winchester to express interest in or make comments about such projects may be shared with the other agencies involved.

Email Subscription Lists

The City of Winchester website offers visitors the ability to subscribe to email distribution lists. Visitors are free to unsubscribe should they not want to receive future communications from the City. A valid email address must be provided when subscribing or unsubscribing from email lists. All other personally identifiable information is optional. The personal information collected will not be distributed externally, except as required by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act or other law.

Public Disclosure

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, several laws ensure that government is open and transparent. The public has a right to access appropriate records and information entrusted to the City government.

Pursuant Code of Virginia Title 2.2 Chapter 37, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, all of the information collected at the City of Winchester website potentially becomes public record and may be subject to inspection and copying by members of the public, unless an exemption in the law exists. Some Commonwealth laws outside the Freedom of Information Act protect specific records. For example, certain medical records held by the Virginia Department of Public Health are specifically kept from disclosure under separate laws. Investigative records maintained by regulatory agencies and business and licensing boards may be exempt. Finally, specific federal law may govern whether certain information or documents may be disclosed. Careful legal research is required to evaluate each request for public records.

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Policy and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act or other law(s) governing the agency's disclosure of records, the Virginia Freedom of Information or other applicable law(s) will control.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files generated by the web server and stored on the visitor's computer. Cookies can be read by the Web server to determine if a particular web page has already been visited or when the visitor last accessed the website. An example would be for an online survey where a cookie could be used to tell the web server that a particular visitor has already completed the survey. In addition, cookies allow a web application to respond to the customer as an individual by remembering information about preferences likes and dislikes. Cookies may also be used to aggregate site usage to help the City improve users’ experience. Accepting a cookie in no way gives access to your computer or any personal information about you, other than the data you chose to share. This practice is strictly enforced. You may set your web browser to notify you of cookie placement requests or decline cookies completely. You can delete the files that contain cookies. The files are stored as part of your internet browser. Most browsers automatically accept cookies, but if you prefer, you can edit your browser options to block them in the future.

Security

The City of Winchester uses industry standard practices to safeguard the confidentiality of your personal identifiable information, including "firewalls" and SSL encryption (Secure Socket Layer) technology. SSL applies encryption between two communicating applications, such as the customer’s computer and the server. We employ many different security techniques to protect such data from unauthorized access. In general, you can determine whether you are on a secure site by looking at the symbol at the beginning of the URL. If the key is unbroken or the lock is locked, it indicates that you are using a secure server.

"Perfect" security, however, does not exist on the internet. Unless a particular web page on the City of Winchester website indicates that encryption technology is being used, the user should not assume that information submitted through that web page to the City of Winchester web server will be treated as confidential. If a user submits information to the City of Winchester web server through a web page containing visual indicators of active encryption technology, the City of Winchester will take all reasonable precautions to safeguard the confidentiality of such information, but shall nevertheless not be held liable for any injury caused by the disclosure of that information, whether caused by security breach, accident, inadvertence, or any other act resulting in disclosure.

Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this web site, defeat or circumvent security features, or utilize this system for other than its intended purpose are strictly prohibited and may result in criminal prosecution and/or be punishable under state computer trespass laws and federal statutes, including without limitation, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act. Information on attempts to circumvent security measures will be traced and released to the appropriate authorities.

Legal Access to Personal Information

Federal law enforcement officials may under certain circumstances obtain access to subscriber databases and archived information under the federal Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56). Federal law prohibits the City of Winchester from informing you if federal law enforcement officials have obtained these records.

As a public entity, the City of Winchester is required to respond to requests under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, §2.2-3700, et seq., Va. Code Ann.). Personal information such as name and email address submitted for opt-in electronic notification may not be withheld unless specifically requested at sign up.

Notwithstanding any other statements or representations here or elsewhere on the City website, the City of Winchester reserves its right to disclose any information in its possession if it is required to do so by law, or if it believes, in good faith, that such a disclosure is necessary to comply with the law, defend its rights or property, or to respond to an emergency situation.

Accessibility

The City of Winchester Government is committed to providing access to electronic information for the disability community in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) throughout the City website. If you experience difficulties, please contact the City’s Communications Director at pio@winchesterva.gov or 540-667-1815.

Links

The City’s website may contain links to external websites and pages containing information created and maintained by public and private organizations. The inclusion of a hypertext link to an external website is not intended as an endorsement of any product or service offered or referenced on the linked website, the organizations sponsoring the website, or any views that might be expressed or reference on the website. Hypertext links to external websites and pages may be removed or replaced an any time without notice. If a hypertext link on the City website is not working, please contact the City’s Communications Director at pio@winchesterva.gov or 540-667-1815.

Disclaimer

While the City of Winchester strives to maintain correct and up-to-date information on its website, the City nor any City staff warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information published on the system.

Feedback

If you have any questions or comments regarding the City of Winchester privacy policy, please contact the Communications Diredctor at (540) 667-1815, ext. 1670 or pio@winchesterva.gov. The City may choose to amend the information in the privacy policy at any time without notice. Any substantial change in the way identifying information is used will be prominently displayed on the City's website.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy from time to time. Users are encouraged to review this policy periodically. By using our website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.