Personal Information

Communicating with the City: Emails, Phone calls, Forms, Surveys, & Registrations

When you communicate or interact with the City, you may provide certain information to receive a City service, enroll in a program, or provide the City with public feedback. You may choose to communicate with the City by way of email, phone calls, service or program enrollment form/application, community engagement or event registration, or completing a City survey. Each of these methods results in data collection:

Email Communication

When sending an email to a City email address, such as user@seattle.gov or  user@startupseattle.com, we collect personal information that may be contained in the email message and automatically log certain information about the message, including the sender's information, including Internet Protocol or IP address, routing information, and email address. It is not possible to opt-out of this collection. In some cases, when the City sends an email to a user it may contain elements known as "beacons" that help the City track which emails have been opened and which links are clicked by our recipients.

Telephone Calls

Individuals may contact the City via phone such as when calling our Customer Service Bureau (CSB), Seattle City Light/Seattle Public Utilities Call Center, or when calling a City department or staff member directly. Our 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. When you contact a call center we may ask for additional information. This information will be used to help provide the requested service. The call taker will inform you about what information may be optionally provided. We will also provide notice if a call center records calls for training purposes or to improve the services. We may also collect personal information when we call you or notify you of an event via phone or text message, including by creating a record of when a call was made and whether it was received by a live person.

Forms, Applications, & Registrations

City departments may collect information on paper forms as part of providing a government service or community engagement. These forms may request personal information, such as name, birthdate, address, telephone number, and email address. Forms may also request additional information necessary to determine eligibility for a service, such as income. When possible, forms will note what information is required to obtain a government service or function and what information is optional. In addition, the form will note if it is possible to "opt out" of certain data uses, such as follow-up communications not directly related to the service being requested.

Using Personal Information

Information from City surveys and other online forms is used only for the purpose of conducting City business, or as identified on the survey or form. We use your e-mail address to respond to you, contact you about a service you receive, or communicate with you about expressed areas of interest you have opted into receiving from the City.

Data Protections

We generally do not send you unsolicited e-mail unless you specifically "opt-in" to receive it as a subscriber or unless it is part of a transactional communication that is part of receiving a City service. Online discussion lists or "threads" are maintained and controlled in accordance with the City's Public External Mailing List Policy.  

Examples of Personal Information you May Provide

Personal information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Content of an email, including email address of the sender, IP address for those who communicate with us via email or who participate in a City hosted mailing list or web-based discussion
  • Information volunteered on a form, application, or survey (which may include name, address, age, birthdate, phone number, and demographic information such as vocation, income bracket, race/ethnicity, preferred language, gender, etc.)
  • Information submitted when participating in an online transaction with the City.
  • Information provided when you register an account.

The information collected is not limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us.

You may choose whether to provide personal information online. You may choose not to contact us by e-mail, participate in a survey, provide personal information using an online form, or engage in an electronic transaction. However, you may not be able to access certain user-specific features of the web site without providing personal information.

Using Personal Information

Information from City surveys and other online forms is used only for the purpose of conducting City business, or as identified on the survey or form.

We use your e-mail address to respond to you, contact you about a service you receive, or communicate with you about expressed areas of interest you have opted into receiving from the City.

Data Protections

We generally do not send you unsolicited e-mail unless you specifically "opt-in" to receive it as a subscriber or unless it is part of a transactional communication that is part of receiving a City service.