MMA Privacy and Website Policy Statement
The following principles reflect the Minnesota Medical Association's (MMA) commitment to maintain the website visitor's rights to privacy and the confidentiality of personal information. In this context, privacy refers to the right of the individual site visitor to choose whether to allow personal information to be collected by the host site (in this case, the MMA) or by third parties and to know what type of information is collected and how that information is used. Confidentiality is defined as the right of an individual not to have personally identifiable information disclosed to others without that individual's express informed consent.
The Internet has the potential to allow information about website use to be tracked in aggregate, which can help site developers understand site use and improve the experience of the viewer, and at the individual user level. Individual user information can improve the visitor's experience of the site by permitting personalization of the site related to the individual's particular interests or concerns. The MMA takes extensive measures to ensure the safety and security of its website servers and to guard against divulging private information.
The website adheres to the following privacy principles.
The site does not collect the name, e-mail address, or any other personal information unless voluntarily provided by the visitor. The MMA collects a variety of non-personal information e.g., the domain and host, the browser software operating system used, and the date and time users access the site. The MMA uses this information to measure the number of visitors to the different sections of the site and to make the site more useful.
The MMA may collect, retain, and use personal information about site visitors when the MMA believes that such information would be useful in providing site visitors with products, services, and other opportunities, provided such use adheres to these principles and is within the bounds of current regulations and law (http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/index.html). Individuals may agree to have such personal information collected or may choose not to, with the understanding that opting out of having such information collected may prevent the site from completing a financial transaction or other web-based activity (e.g., discussion group).
E-mail information, personal information about a specific visitor's access and navigation, and information volunteered by site visitors, such as survey information and site registration information, may be used by the MMA to improve the site but are not shared with or sold to other organizations for commercial purposes without the site visitor's express permission.
The MMA will use e-mail addresses voluntarily provided by site visitors to notify them about updates, products, services, activities, or upcoming events. Site visitors who do not wish to receive such notifications via e-mail may opt out of receiving such information at any time.
Names and office addresses of MMA members are made available only for communications that are germane to the practice of medicine or of interest to physicians or medical students as consumers.
Non-identifiable website visitor data may be collected and used in aggregate to help shape and direct the creation and maintenance of content and to determine the type of advertisement to be seen by site visitors while on the MMA site.
A cookie is a small file stored on the site user's computer or web server and is used to aid web page navigation. Two types of cookies are commonly used. A session cookie is a temporary file created whenever a web site is accessed and is self-terminated based either on an expiration date (i.e. three hours from creation of the cookie) or by closing the web browser. A persistent cookie is a permanent file and must be deleted manually. Cookies referred to in the context of these guidelines are persistent cookies. A cookie function may be used on the site to track visitor practices to help determine which site features and services are most important and to guide editorial direction. The cookie makes it possible for the user to access the site without requiring entry of a user name, allows the user to view different restricted areas of the site without re-registering, and allows the user to personalize the site for future use. Users who do not desire the functionality created by the cookie have the option of disabling the cookie function on their browser. A username and password may still be needed for certain web services including financial transactions and member profile updates.
There also may be features on the website where additional information may be collected (e.g., credit card processing) due to features that have been delegated to other business partners. This information may be retained by the delegated business partner, but only to the extent that is necessary to process the feature on the MMA website. It may be necessary to visit the business partner’s website to review their data policy.
E-mail messages sent to a website may not be secure. Site visitors are discouraged from sending confidential information by e-mail. Site visitors sending e-mail accept the risk that a third party may intercept e-mail messages.
Market research conducted by the site or its agent to enhance the site is clearly identified as such.
E-mail alerts and newsletters contain an "unsubscribe" option.