Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
Web Policies and
Important Links
design element
Web Policies and Important Links
Data Quality Standards
Conflicts of Interest
Copyright and Reuse of Graphics and Text
Use of NSF Logos
Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act
Links to External Sites
Privacy Policy
Privacy Impact Assessments
dot Privacy Act System of Records Notices and Review of Privacy Act Holdings

Web Accessibility
No FEAR Act Data
e-Gov Initiatives
e-Gov Content Inventory
Performance Assessment

Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting the National Science Foundation web site. Please note that we collect no personal information about you when you visit our web site unless you choose to provide that information to us. All information submitted by visitors is voluntary.

Web Measurement and Customization Technology

If you are visiting the NSF website to browse through our site, read pages, or download information, we use persistent cookies (Tier 2, see OMB M-22) to gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store only the following information about your visit:

  1. The Internet domain (for example, "" if you use a private Internet access account, or "" if you connect from a university's domain) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you access our web site;
  2. The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
  3. The date and time you access our site;
  4. The pages you visit; and
  5. If you linked to the National Science Foundation site from another web site, the address of that web site.

This information is used by our web content managers and developers to help us make our site more useful to visitors—to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. We do not track or record personal information about individuals and their visits. The information we collect is deleted after three years.

You can opt-out of the persistent cookies on our site by disabling cookies in your web browser. Instructions for disabling cookies in popular desktop browsers are provided on Opting-out of the persistent cookies on our site will not prevent you from accessing any of the information or services on our site.

Collected Information

If you request information or services from NSF and submit personal information to facilitate response to your request, we use the information provided to respond to your message. Pressing the “submit” button indicates your consent to use the information you provide for this purpose. We will not share the information you give us with another government agency unless your inquiry relates to that agency, or as otherwise provided by law.

Subscribers to National Science Foundation Update fill out a simple form when setting up their accounts. A National Science Foundation Update account cannot be created without a valid e-mail address. However, NSF makes no attempt to identify individual subscribers or their selections. We do not create individual profiles with the information you provide or collect information for commercial marketing.

For website security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, NSF employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage to the information on our websites. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Interaction with Children

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) governs information gathering online from or about children under the age of 13. Verifiable consent from a child's parent or guardian is required before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from a child under the age of 13.

We collect no information about you or your child, other than that detailed above, when you visit our website unless you choose to provide information to us. If an NSF website needs to collect information about a child under 13 years old, COPPA required information and instructions will be provided by the specific web page that collects information about the child. The web page will specify exactly what the information will be used for, who will see it, and how long it will be kept.

There are several exceptions that permit collection of a child's email address without receiving parental consent in advance:

  • To provide the parents with notice and to seek consent for communications with the child. Note: this may require collection of the parent's email address as well.
  • To respond to a one time request from a child.
  • To respond more than once to a child's request; i.e., subscription to a newsletter. However, parental consent is required prior to the second communication.
  • To protect the safety of a child who is participating on the site; i.e., in a chat room.
  • To protect the site or to respond to law enforcement; i.e., in the case of a website compromise.

Personal information about children under 13 years of age may be needed to respond to their communication to us, such as to receive a publication. Personal information about your child will be destroyed immediately upon completion of its intended purpose.

Finally, we provide many on-line tools and services in support of NSF's mission. A child under 13 years old may inadvertently provide personal information to one of these services. If this should happen, the information about the child will be deleted immediately upon discovery.

Third-Party Websites and Applications

NSF uses third-party social websites to disseminate mission-related information that has been collected and approved for public dissemination. NSF does not own, manage, or control the applications used on third-party social websites. The Foundation does not collect, maintain, or disseminate personally identifiable information (PII) from individuals who interact with the agency’s accounts on third-party social websites. Although some social websites, such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, may request information, such as a name, email address, and birth date, at the time of registration, the agency does not collect, maintain, or disseminate PII from individuals who interact with the agency’s account. Links to NSF accounts on third-party social websites and the privacy policies of those social websites appear on our Social Media page.


If you have questions or concerns about NSF's privacy policy, please contact Leslie Jensen, Office of the General Counsel, phone: 703-292-5065, email:


Email this pagePrint this page

Back to Top of page