Privacy and Security Statement
As a local public body, Starland County is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The County respects your privacy and is committed to protect the personal information you share with us.
Generally, you can browse through our website without giving us any information about yourself. If you request access to online services, or if you provide us with your personal information in an email, this Privacy and Security Statement describes how and when we collect your personal information and how we use it.
We developed this Privacy and Security Statement to answer your questions about the information we collect and how we use it when you either visit the Starland County website or register for an online service. Review the full text of our Privacy and Security Statement below.
Starland County's commitment to privacy
Starland County respects your privacy and is committed to protect the personal information that you share with us. Personal information that is in the custody or under the control of Starland County is protected by privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).
This Privacy and Security Statement outlines our approach to protecting your privacy, and tells you how we ensure that your privacy is protected.
Visiting our website
When you go directly to the information portion of our website and move from page to page, read pages or download content onto your computer, we learn which pages are visited, what content is downloaded, and the address of websites that you visited immediately before coming to our website. However, none of this is associated with you as an individual. It is measured only in aggregate.
We use this information to find out how many people visit our website and which sections of the site are visited the most frequently. This helps us to know what type of information visitors to our site are seeking, so we can improve our website to make it easier to access information. We record the numbers of visitors to our website, but no information about individual visitors will be kept or used.
Links to other websites
Cookies are files that contain text that instructs your computer how to view that Web page. They are placed on your computer when you visit a website.
There are two common types of cookies, "session cookies" and "persistent cookies". Session cookies store information only as long as you are connected to a website -- they are not written onto your hard drive. Once you leave the website, the originator of the cookie no longer has the information that was contained on it.
Starland County uses session cookies as an additional security feature for its Web online services. For example, when you log in to any online service and are verified through your customer identification number and password, a cookie will store the identification number of your browser. Throughout your session, the session cookie acts as a type of digital signature to identify your current session to the Web server.
The Web server will monitor the number of your browser to ensure that at all times during your session, we are dealing with you.
We also use session cookies to track your visits within our site. We use that information to determine the type of information that you are looking for in our site and to improve our site. We use information about the site you visited immediately prior to our site to assess the viability of links to our site that we have created on third-party sites.
The information stored in "persistent cookies" is written onto your hard drive and remains there until the expiry date of the cookie. Starland County also uses persistent cookies to store non-sensitive information that you are aware of and have agreed to.
Currently, most browsers do not distinguish between session cookies and persistent cookies. For Web services to operate, your browser must be set to accept cookies. If you are concerned about having your browser enabled to accept cookies while you are surfing other websites, we recommend that you enable your browser to notify you when it is receiving a cookie. This gives you the ability to accept or reject any cookie presented by the Web server you are visiting.
Email comments, questions or responses
When you send us an email or ask us to respond to you by email, we learn your exact email address and any information you have included in the email.
We use your email address to acknowledge your comments or reply to your questions, and we will store your message and our reply in case we correspond further. We may also use your email address to send you information about other services of Starland County that we believe may be of interest to you. If you don't want us to contact you with other service information by email, you may tell us so at any time.
Remember email over the Internet is generally unencrypted. As part of an application, Starland County may request that you transmit confidential information to us over the Internet, in these cases we will ensure that the transmissions are encrypted. We recommend that you use caution when forwarding free-format email messages to us and that you do not include confidential information (for example, an account number) on those messages as they are not encrypted.
Personal information is being collected in accordance with the Municipal Government Act, section 3 and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, section 33. It will be used to distribute an electronic newsletter and only used for this purpose.
Using our online services
When you register for one of our online services; for example, your tax account or permits, we compile a profile for you for that service. Your profile includes your name, address, account number(s), customer identification number and some other information, relevant to the specific service.
Each time you use our online services, we collect your customer identification number, information about the transactions that you complete and any Web pages you visit while using the service.
We use your profile in responding to your inquiries on the service. We use your customer identification number to identify you as a user of the service. We use the transaction information in the aggregate to assess and improve the service.
Starland County occasionally invites public comment through questionnaires for the purposes of program evaluation, program planning and/or to obtain public input.
In some instances we utilize the services of a third party service provider. Information from these questionnaires may be stored electronically on a server in the U.S.A. and may be subject to U.S. laws.
Participation in questionnaires is done on a voluntary basis, and in most cases, no personal information is required when residents complete online questionnaires.
If there ever were a need to collect your personal information, Starland County would indicate this on our website with the questionnaire, and provide a name and contact number for the individual who can answer any questions you may have about the collection.
Starland County's intent is to provide enough information to allow you to make an informed decision on whether to participate and provide personal information.
Collecting and using personal information
Either before or when we collect information about you, we will explain how we intend to use it. We will limit the information we collect to what we need for those purposes, and we will use it only for those purposes. We will obtain your consent if we wish to use your information for any other purpose that is not consistent with the purpose for which it was originally collected.
Any personal information collected for the creation of an online user account is for the customization of your account and is collected under the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, section 33(c).
If you choose to provide us with personal information in an email or by filling out a form and submitting it to us through our website, we will use that information to respond to your message and to help us get the information you have requested.
How we protect your information
Personal information is managed and protected according to the FOIP Act, and we will retain your information only as long as it is required for those purposes that it was originally collected. These purposes will be explained to you at the time of collection.
The length of time we retain information varies depending on the product or service and the nature of the information. This period may extend beyond the end of your relationship with us but only for so long as it is legally necessary for us to have sufficient information to respond to any issue that may arise at a later date. When your information is no longer needed for the purposes explained to you, we have procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert it to an anonymous form.
We have thorough security standards to protect our systems and your information against unauthorized access and use.
For example, our systems have been designed to ensure that your password is always private and confidential. When you use your password, it is scrambled after your enter it. For your protection your password is known only to you. Our employees cannot gain access it and they will not ask you to reveal it. Nor should you share your password or customer identification number with family members or others.
We audit our procedures and security measures regularly to ensure they are being properly administered and that they remain effective and appropriate.
When we provide information in response to a legal inquiry or order, we ensure the order is valid and we disclose only the information that is legally required.
All employees of the County are familiar with the procedures that must be taken to safeguard customer information.
Release of your information
We will only release your personal information to third parties only in limited circumstances authorized under section 17(2) and 40 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). Some of these circumstances are:
- where we have your written consent, or
- to those departments within Starland County who assist us in serving you, or
- to neighbouring municipalities when partnering to manage shared or directly related services (eg. weed control along borders), or
- to utility service providers requiring information for access to provide services to portions of the county, or
- where we are required or permitted to do so by law. We provide information, only as necessary, in support of these limited circumstances.
Your right to review your information
We will give you access to the information we retain about you upon written request. Most of this information is in the form of your transaction records. These are available to you through you account statements, by visiting County Hall, or by accessing your account through our online services.
If you require other information, simply contact the department or office where your account is maintained. We will ask you specific details such as your name, address and account number, in order to assist you with your request.
Keeping your information accurate
We will make every reasonable effort to keep your information accurate and up-to-date.
Having accurate information about you enables us to give you the best possible service. You can help by keeping us informed of any changes: for example, a new address or telephone number. If you find any errors in our information about you, let us know and we will correct them immediately and make sure the correct information is conveyed to anyone we may have misinformed. If any information remains in dispute, we will note your opinion in the file.
Your concerns matter to us
If you have any concerns or questions about privacy and confidentiality, or any concerns about the way a request was handled you can take the following actions:
Begin by contacting the director of the department/office that handles your account. They have the decision-making authority to resolve most concerns.
If your problem or concern remains unresolved, please contact us.
Who can answer your questions about privacy
To discuss any privacy concerns that are not addressed in our privacy and security statement, simply contact Starland County Administration at 403-772-3793.
The Government of Alberta also maintains a website with free access to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (as well as other legislation) at http://www.servicealberta.ca/foip/