We do not collect personal information without your permission. Any information that you volunteer, or that we send to you in response, is transferred using industry standard encryption technologies. Never share your username and password with anyone to protect against unauthorized access to your accounts. Never share more information than what is required to complete a transaction. For more information about being safe online, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Stop. Think. Connect.
Information Gathering and Cookies
If you visit the City’s website to read or download information, such as events schedules or building permits, we only capture and store the domain name of your computer (for example, gmail.com) and other related information to speed up the performance of web page delivery. We collect no other personal information.
*A cookie is a very small text file inserted onto your computer by a website that you visit. When you return to the website, the cookie is then read by the site's web server. Cookies are used for many things, from making web sites more personal to tracking your web browsing habits.
For online government transactions conducted on the City’s website, you will be asked to enter certain information about yourself and/or the organization with which you are affiliated. The specifics of this information will vary as required by the type of transaction (e.g., online job applications and online payment of parking fines).
In each case, any information submitted online for these activities is subject to the same safeguards as if you had engaged in these activities in person rather than over the Internet. Information collected in the course of the transaction is used in order to conduct the online transactions with the appropriate City departments, to communicate with you about your transaction, or provide information that may be useful to you. Our goal is to collect only enough information as is reasonable to perform our Services and to let you know when providing personal information is optional.
If you sign up for a user account with the City to support a transaction or regular communications, you may receive an email asking you to confirm that sign up. If you forget your password to an account, we may send you an email in response to your solicited request.
Please be aware that fraudulent email scams called "phishing" have been increasing in frequency. "Phishing" involves a victim receiving an e-mail appearing to be from a legitimate business. The "from" line is often forged and the e-mail usually contains authentic looking graphics making it appear to be legitimate. The email may also contain what appears to be a legitimate link to that organization (e.g., cityofchicago.org or chicago.gov). When the victim clicks on this link, they are then taken to what appears to be a legitimate looking website. Criminals can even make your browser's address bar contain the address of the legitimate organization despite the fact that the website is a forgery. Victims are then encouraged to enter personal information including credit card numbers and expiration dates.
The City of Chicago will not request confidential personal or financial information from our customers via an unsolicited email. The City will also never send you an unsolicited e-mail containing a link to a City website where confidential personal or financial information is requested. If you receive such an email, purportedly from the City, you are encouraged to immediately contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more general information about "phishing" visit the Federal Trade Commission web site.
Using City of Chicago services
If you send the City an email, or provide your email to the City via CHI 311 or other online Services, to request information or data, submit questions or comments about our programs or services, or to access or obtain such programs or services, we do collect your email address and any other information that you optionally provide [such as address and phone number]. We do this to improve our online services, and occasionally, to customize its content for the individual user. You may choose to login to the relevant website or mobile app and add or update this information at any time.
If you opt to provide your email or phone number to the City, with respect to data submitted for the CHI 311 app, we also do so to maintain the information for service responsiveness and records purposes. If provided, we may contact you about that request to obtain additional information if necessary.
You may choose to submit 311 requests anonymously, even if you have signed up for an account via the CHI 311 website or mobile app. If you choose to submit a request anonymously, your personal information is not associated with the service request, and, as such, certain service features may not be available for your service request (such as automatic notifications).
If you have enabled location services on your web browser or mobile app, your geolocation information is solely used to assist with identifying the site where the City should perform the service that you are requesting. You will have the opportunity to adjust that location prior to submission, and only the final address that you identify will be transmitted and stored. If you do not enable location services on your web browser or mobile device, you will still be able to search for the correct address to locate your service request. To find out more about the information that your mobile device collects and transmits, and the options available to you to change factory defaults on your mobile device that may affect those transmissions, please consult with your wireless or mobile device provider. For general information about wireless industry laws and regulations, please go to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association website at https://www.ctia.org/consumer-resources/protecting-your-privacy.
If you opt-in to learn more about City topics of interest to you (e.g., events, the City’s sustainability initiative, public health information, etc.) via the CHI 311 website or mobile app, the City will occasionally send you information (such as newsletters) related to that topic, and may need to share your information with the relevant government agency to do so. You may opt-out of those communications at anytime by logging into your account at the CHI 311 website. In some cases, when the City sends an email to a user, it may contain beacons, which help the City track, which emails have been opened and which links are clicked by our recipients so that we may continue to improve communications and services.
Individuals may contact the City via phone for certain services, including 311. The phone system automatically logs the phone number and other characteristics of calls to and from City numbers, such as call duration and the extension in the City that received or made a call. It is not possible to opt-out of this collection. During the course of your call to a call center, we may ask for additional information. This information will be used to help provide the requested service as is the case with requests submitted via the website or mobile app. The call taker will inform you about what information may be optionally provided. We will also provide notice if and when a call center records calls for training purposes or to improve the services. We may also request personal information when we call you or notify you of an event via phone or text message, should you opt-in.
The City of Chicago understands the value of personal information and works to protect the personal information we collect from the public. The City does not sell or rent data, including personally identifiable information. We occasionally will share this information with other nonprofit organizations or governmental entities such as the Chicago Transit Authority, Cook County or the Illinois Secretary of State in order to support the transaction or service.
As a governmental entity in the State of Illinois, Chicago is subject to the Local Records Act, which defines how records should be managed. Further, almost all information that government entities, including cities, collect are subject to public disclosure request. This ensures that the public can find out what information has been collected about them and provide a way to know more about how our government operates. The State of Illinois Freedom of Information Act outlines legal requirements that govern requests for government records, and specifies which records are exempt.
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