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Privacy and Security Policy

The Department of Physics & Astronomy (“we”, “us” or “our”) respects your privacy. We are providing this privacy statement to ensure that we make every effort to respect your privacy and to inform you what information we collect, how we use it, how we protect it, when we can release it, and how you are entitled to access it. This privacy statement applies to the web sites we administer and the email you send us. Because we host several web sites that perform varied functions, some sites may adopt different privacy and security statements that reflect their functionality.

Information Collection, Use and Release

When you visit our web sites to read or download information, we do not collect personal information about you. In particular, we do not use “cookies” to collect or store personal information. However, we do collect and store technical information about your visit in server logs.

Some of our web sites also send general information about your visit to Google Analytics. We do not send personal information to Google Analytics.

We use personal information that you provide via email or through other online means to serve your needs, such as responding to an inquiry or other request for information. This may involve redirecting your inquiry or comment to another person or department better suited to meeting your needs.

We use information from server logs to evaluate accessibility or gauge the popularity of various features on our web sites. We also use that information for general reporting and management functions. Specifically, we use log analysis tools to generate statistics, determine technical design specifications, and identify system performance issues.

Occasionally, we acquire, record, and analyze portions of the data that you enter, store, or transmit through our web sites or email you send us. We release this information – only when legally required – to help law enforcement investigations, legal proceedings, or internal investigations of Texas A&M University rule and regulation violations. These groups would use the information to track the electronic interactions back to the source computer(s) or account(s).

Except for education records governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), all information collected from our web sites, including server logs, and information collected from web forms, or email you send to us, may be subject to the Texas Public Information Act. This means that while we do not actively share information, in some cases we may be compelled by law to release this information.


A cookie file contains unique information that a web site can use to store such things as passwords, or pages you have visited, or the date you last looked at a specific page. Cookies can also identify your server session at a particular web site. We do not use cookies to collect or store personal information.


A server session is like a cookie that is stored on a web server. It can store information such as what web pages you visited, when you visited a web page, or personal information that you supply or information the web page retrieves for you. Occasionally, we use server sessions to store information about your session. For example, we may require you to login to a web site and store your username; distinguishing you from other people using the site.

Server Logs

We store the following information in our server logs:

  • User/client hostname – The hostname or IP address of the user/client requesting access
  • HTTP header, “user agent” – The user-agent information includes the type of browser, its version, and the operating system on which it is running
  • HTTP header, “referrer” – The referrer specifies the page from which the client accessed the current page
  • System date – The date and time of the user/client request
  • Full request – The exact request the user/client made
  • Status – The status code the server returned to the user/client
  • Content length – The content length, in bytes, of the document sent to the user/client
  • Method – The request method used
  • Universal Resource Identifier (URI) – The location of a resource on the server including web pages, images, and other files
  • Query string of the URI – Anything after the question mark in a URI
  • Protocol – The transport protocol and version used

Google Analytics

Google Analytics stores the following information on their web site:

  • User/client hostname – The host-name or IP address of the user/client requesting access
  • HTTP header, “user agent” – The user-agent information includes the type of browser, its version, and the operating system on which it is running
  • Universal Resource Identifier (URI) – The location of a resource on the server including web pages, images, and other files
  • HTTP header, “referrer” – The referrer specifies the page from which the user/client accessed the current page
  • Screen colors – Color processing ability of the user/client screen
  • Screen resolution – The resolution or dimensions of the user/client screen
  • Service Provider – The Internet service provider of the user/client
  • Mobile device – If user/client is a mobile device, the manufacturer of the mobile device
  • Mobile carrier – If user/client is a mobile device, its Internet service provider
  • Bandwidth (Internet connection speed) – The speed of the user/client connection from their Internet service provider
  • Java support – If Java is enabled
  • Flash version – Which version of Adobe Flash is installed
  • Geographic data – Country, State, City, language preference of the user/client
  • Time on page – The time spent on a web page

Google Analytics shares information with Google. Please read Google’s Privacy Policy for more information.

Information Security

We employ extensive security measures consistent with the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) “Information Security Standards” and Texas A&M University Rules and Standard Administrative Procedures to protect against unauthorized access, disclosure, modification, or destruction of information under our control, as well as the loss, misuse, or alteration of our web sites and/or associated electronic information resources. The information resources that support our web sites undergo an annual information security risk assessment via the Information Security Awareness Assessment and Compliance (ISAAC) system. The ISAAC system assesses the security posture of information systems and measures compliance with information security standards.

Information Access

The Texas Public Information Act, with a few exceptions, gives you the right to be informed about the information our web sites collect about you. It also gives you the right to request a copy of that information, and to have the university correct any of that information. You may request to receive and review any of this information, or request corrections to it, by contacting the TAMU Public Information Officer or the TAMU Office of Open Records, 1181 TAMU, College Station, Texas, 77843-1181, at 979-862-7777.


If you have any questions about this privacy and security statement, the practices of our web sites, or your use of our web sites, please send email to Web Support or by postal mail to:

Department of Physics & Astronomy
ATTN: Web Development
4242 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843

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