About the Privacy Program

The privacy program is designed to provide the structure and guidance required for City departments to incorporate the appropriate privacy practices into daily operations and to build public trust and confidence in how we collect and manage the public's personal information.

In 2015, we designed a citywide Privacy Program to provide guidance and tools to City employees when working with personal information. We convened a group of representatives from across 15 City departments to create policies and practices to define and implement a citywide program to address our privacy commitments. To advise these efforts, we invited a Privacy Advisory Committee of area privacy thought leaders from academia, local companies, and private legal practice and community activist groups to provide best practices recommendations.Since that start, the program has continued to grow. We now conduct hundreds of privacy reviews each year about the technologies we use to deliver needed services to ensure that new and existing City programs across all of our many departments use and protect information we collect.

Privacy Principles

The City of Seattle Privacy Principles were adopted as City Council Resolution #31570 on February 23, 2015. This set of six principles provides an ethical framework for developing appropriate policies, standards, and practices regarding the public's personal information. These principles outline our commitment to collect only the personal information that is necessary, tell you how we use and share your personal information, why we keep it only as long as necessary or required by law, and how we protect it from misuse. 

We value your privacy

We understand the value of personal information and work to protect the personal information we collect from the public. We are committed to providing transparency about how we manage the information we collect to provide critical and needed services to City residents and visitors.

How we use your information

When possible, we make available information about the ways we use your personal information at the time we collect it. We commit to giving you a choice whenever possible about how we use your information.

How we share your information

We follow federal and state laws about information disclosure whenever we work with outside governmental agencies and in answering Public Disclosure Requests (PDRs). Business partners and contracted vendors who receive or collect personal information from us or for us to deliver City services must agree to our privacy requirements. 

We collect and keep only what we need

We only collect information that we need to deliver City services and keep it as long as we are legally required and to deliver those services. Whenever possible, we tell you when we are collecting this information

We are accountable

We are responsible for managing your personal information in a manner that is consistent with our commitments and as required by law. We protect your personal information by restricting unauthorized access and by securing our computing resources from threats.

Accuracy is important

We work to maintain and use accurate personal information for City business. When practical, we will work to correct inaccurate personal information. We also direct our partners and contracted vendors to follow the same guidelines.