In general, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) policies governing the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information follow the same rules that would apply to an in-person visit to a government office, and are governed by the same state and federal laws that cover such visits.
The purpose of the Privacy Statement is to inform users of this site with regard to the collection and use of personally identifiable information. Nothing herein should be construed to, nor does it, create any new or different rights than those available under existing state and federal laws.
Definition of Personally Identifiable Information
For the purposes of this statement, "personally identifiable information" means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual who is the subject of the information. This includes information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
Personally Identifiable Information Not Routinely Collected
Users are not required to provide personal information simply to visit the ORS website or to download information. Government agencies may request personally identifiable information in order to provide requested specialized services, but such information is handled as it would be on an in-person visit to a government office.
Personally Identifiable Information that May Be Subject to Public Disclosure
In the State of South Carolina, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by a government agency. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access certain records in order to preserve the privacy of individuals. Such exemptions are authorized by both state and federal laws. Information collected by the ORS, like information collected during an in-person visit to a government office, may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless such an exemption in law exists. In the event that there is a conflict between this Privacy Statement and a state or federal law governing the disclosure of public records, the applicable state or federal law shall control.
The Family Privacy Protection Act of 2002 prohibits persons or private entities from using any personal information obtained from the ORS' website for commercial solicitation purposes. A person knowingly violating this prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the penalties specified in S.C. Code Ann. Section 30-2-50(D).
Use, Collection and Retention of Personally Identifiable Information
The IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of computers used to visit the ORS website are noted as part of the statistical analysis used to better design government services and improve access to them. However, the ORS does not attempt to gain personally identifiable information on individual users or to associate individual users with IP addresses.
The ORS collects, retains, and uses personal information about constituents only when constituents choose to provide the ORS with information or subscribe to an ORS service. The ORS collects, retains, and uses personal information only when it is lawful and is essential to administer and to provide products, services, and other opportunities requested by a constituent.
The ORS website does not create “cookies”. However, some applications available via the state’s network create "cookies" to hold user information. These "cookies" are then sent to, and stored on, the user's computer. Any application or web page that uses "cookies" will identify itself as such. This information is handled in the same way as other personally identifiable information obtained by state systems. No user information will be gathered through the use of "cookies" except that which is required to run the specific application(s) being accessed by the user.
Use of Constituent E-mail Addresses
E-mail addresses obtained as a result of requests to the ORS website will not be sold or given to any organization outside of the ORS for marketing purposes. Information in the form of email and email addresses provided to the ORS is subject to the access and confidentiality provisions of the State's Freedom of Information Act and other applicable sections of the South Carolina Code of Laws and/or federal law. E-mail or other information requests sent to the ORS website may be maintained in order to: respond to the request, forward that request to the appropriate agency, communicate updates to the ORS page that may be of interest to citizens, provide the ORS web designer with valuable customer feedback to assist in improving the site, or otherwise assist the public.
Data Security and Quality
The ORS is committed to data security and the data quality of personally identifiable information that is either available from, or collected by, governmental websites, and has taken precautions to protect personally identifiable information from loss, misuse, or alteration. Any third parties responsible for this information are required to follow the same policies and guidelines as the State of South Carolina in protecting this information.
Various websites will be linked through the ORS. This includes websites of other governmental agencies, as well as websites of private entities. Many of these sites may not be subject to the South Carolina Code of Laws, or may operate under different privacy standards. Visitors to those websites are advised to check the privacy statements of those sites and be cautious about providing personally identifiable information without a clear understanding of how the information will be used.
Limiting Access to Personally Identifiable Information
The ORS has taken steps to limit access to personally identifiable information to ORS support staff who require access in order to perform their assigned duties. The ORS has notified and instructed its staff of their responsibilities concerning the protection of personally identifiable information.