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Standards Review and Recommendation Publication 

RETIRED DOCUMENT – Superceded by 1 TAC 206 (2012)


SRRPUB11 – State Website Guidelines – State Agency Link and Privacy Policy

August 2004

The following outlines the policies for linking to, the use of, or copying information from State of Texas agency Websites and protecting the personal information of members of the public who access state agency information through a state agency Website. It also requires that state agencies link to the policy.

(1) Requirements Applicable to Those Linking to State Agency Websites.

(A) Linking to State Agency Websites.

Organizations and individuals (the site owner) are encouraged to link to state agency information. Advance permission is not required before linking. Links should be made using the appropriate base URL of www.agency-identifier.state.tx.us or such other URL as the agency may use. Because state agencies may change subpages at any time without notice, the site owner should routinely verify links to state agency subpages.

(B) What Site Owners May Not Do in Linking to State Agency Websites.

Site owners may not capture state agency pages within the site owner's frames, present state agency Website content as that of the site owner, otherwise misrepresent the content of the state agency pages or misinform users about the origin or ownership of the content of the state agency Website. Any link to a state agency site should be a full forward link that passes the client browser to the state agency site unencumbered. The BACK button should return the visitor to the site owner's site if the visitor wishes to back out. Although the content of state agency Websites is available to the public, certain information on some state agency Websites may be trademarked, service marked, or otherwise protected as the state agency's intellectual property, and all agency content is protected by federal copyright laws. Use of protected intellectual property must be in accordance with federal and state law and must reflect the copyright, trademark, service mark or other intellectual property ownership of the state agency. Site owners should not link to individual state agency graphics or tables within state agency pages, especially in an effort to place the downloading burden on the state agency servers. Such an action may be considered a misuse of state resources. Site owners should contact the appropriate state agency to request permission to use a copy of the state agency's graphics within the site owner's pages.

(C) Accessibility.

Owners of sites linked to state agency pages shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities may access these sites.

(D) Copying and Use of Information by Website Owners Linking to State Agency Sites.

The information posted on a state agency Website may be copied so long as it is presented in a non-misleading way and does not imply that either the site owner or the information, as it is presented on the site owner's Web site, is endorsed by the State. Use of the information must identify the state agency that is the source of the information, its Web address, the date the information was copied from the state agency's Web site by the site owner and must be accompanied by a statement that neither the site owner nor the information, as it is presented on the site owner's Web site, is endorsed by the State or any state agency. A state agency may not charge a fee to access, use or reproduce information on its Web site or to link to information on its Web site, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Texas Legislature. To protect the intellectual property of state agencies, copied information must reflect the copyright, trademark, service mark or other intellectual property rights of the state agency whose protected information is being used by the site owner.

(E) Links From a State Agency Website.

A state agency that only provides links to other state agencies and institutions of higher education will post a link to this State Website Link and Privacy Policy. A state agency that provides links to private Websites shall publish a linking policy that includes its standards and criteria for linking to the private Website. State agencies are strongly encouraged to publish a disclaimer policy that specifically disclaims liability and responsibility for private Website content. State agencies that link to private Websites will post a link to this State Website Link and Privacy Policy from the Web page that identifies their specific policies.

(2) Protection of the Privacy Rights of Individuals by Non-Judiciary State Governmental Bodies.

(A) Under Texas law, Chapter 559, Texas Government Code, unless a state governmental body, other than a state governmental body that is part of the judiciary, is allowed to withhold requested information from an individual pursuant to Chapter 552, Texas Government Code (the Texas Public Information Act), the individual is entitled to be informed about information collected by the state governmental body about that individual.

(B) Each non-judiciary state governmental body that collects information about an individual by means of a form that the individual completes and files with the state governmental body in a paper format or in an electronic format on an Internet site shall prominently state, on the paper form and prominently post on the state governmental body's Internet site in connection with the electronic form, that:

(i) with few exceptions, the individual is entitled on request to be informed about the information that the state governmental body collects about the individual;

(ii) the individual is entitled to receive and review the information; and

(iii) the individual is entitled to have the state governmental body correct incorrect information about the individual.

(C) Each non-judiciary state governmental body that collects information about an individual by means of an Internet site or that collects information about the computer network location or identity of a user of the Internet site shall prominently post on the state governmental body's Internet site:

(i) what information is being collected through the site about the individual; and

(ii) what information is being collected through the site about the computer network location or identity of a user of the state governmental body's Internet site, including what information is being collected by means that are not obvious.

(D) Each non-judiciary state governmental body must establish a reasonable procedure under which individuals may have incorrect information about them that is held by the state governmental body corrected. The correction procedure may not unduly burden the individual seeking to have information corrected.

(E) Each non-judiciary state governmental body shall identify its information collection practices and post that information in its Internet site privacy and security policy. The e-mail addresses of members of the public that are provided to non-judiciary state governmental bodies for electronic communication with state governmental bodies are confidential and may not be disclosed by state governmental bodies unless the affected member of the public affirmatively consents to the disclosure of his or her e-mail address.

(3) Requirements Applicable to State Agencies.

(A) With the exception of confidential information, information protected by laws designed to protect an individual's privacy interests, information that might assist terrorists or other malevolent actors in exploiting, creating on enhancing vulnerabilities and information not subject to disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, state agencies are encouraged to post information on the Internet, in an accessible format. Information about the design and posting of information on state Websites is available in SRRPUB11.

(B) State agencies may not sell or release the e-mail addresses of members of the public that have been provided to communicate electronically with a government body without the affirmative consent of the affected member of the public.