The California State Science Fair exists in part to promote public awareness of the scientific accomplishments of students throughout the State of California in grades 6-12, and especially the accomplishments of those who participate in the State Science Fair.
We recognize, however, that both parents and students are rightfully concerned about their privacy on-line. The purpose of this page is to explain the policies of the California State Science Fair with respect to the protection of participants' privacy. This page also serves to satisfy the requirements of the Children's On-Line Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) whose rules became effective on April 21, 2000. The privacy protection policies of the California State Science Fair go beyond the requirements of COPPA, however, in both inclusion (all participants are included, not simply those under age 13 as required by COPPA) and our protections.
All private personal information about participants collected by the California State Science Fair will be used only for the purposes of the operation of the Fair. No private personal information will be shared with any outside agency except as required for the Fair's operation. The California State Science Fair will not sell private personal information of any participant to any organization for any commercial purpose.
Examples of where CSSF does share private personal information with external agencies are the provision to legitimate Special and Recognition Awards sponsors of the addresses of their award winners only for purposes of delivering award checks, and the provision of addresses of award winners to their elected legislative representatives in Congress, the State Senate, and the State Assembly.
"Private Personal Information" as used here means personal identifying information which would not normally be known by random strangers and includes such information as a person's home address, phone number, birthdate, and social security number. Certain information about a participant, such as his/her school or grade in school, is not considered "private" for purposes of this policy. While a participant's name is certainly "personal identifying information," the California State Science Fair does publicize the accomplishments of its participants by naming them and their accomplishments, such as their awards, explicitly. This use has been authorized by all participants and their parents on their Application to the Fair. E-mail addresses are treated specially. Almost all participants and judges are listed in our Alumni and Judge directories, but in all cases the affected persons are first contacted to confirm their desire to be listed.
The principal avenue by which CSSF collects information is the application every student and judge completes as a prerequisite to participation in CSSF. We do not distinguish between applications submitted in writing via US Mail, the traditional method, and applications submitted electronically. Electronic applications have been growing in popularity since their first use at CSSF in 1996. While COPPA is concerned only with the electronic application, we make no distinction between the two because both methods request exactly the same information.
This Web site, (http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/), also collects information about its visitors in several ways:
We want to be very clear: We will not obtain personally-identifying information about you when you visit our site, unless you explicitly choose to provide such information to us.
These are the only ways that any information about any person is collected by the California State Science Fair as of the time of this writing. Other forms may be created in the future, analogous to our Mentoring Program request form, if other opportunities are then offered by CSSF, and should be included in the above list.
On October 21, 1998, COPPA, the Children's On-Line Privacy Protection Act of 1998, was signed into law by President Clinton, with broad support from industry and advocates for children and privacy. The statute required that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issue rules to implement COPPA's privacy protections within one year. On April 27, 1999, the Commission published a proposed rule in the Federal Register and requested public comment. Following a review of the comments, the FTC issued the final rule on October 20, 1999, giving Web sites six months to come into compliance with the Rule's requirements by the Rule's effective date of April 21, 2000.
The full text of COPPA, and helpful documents constructed by the Federal Trade Commission, are all available on the FTC's Web site entitled "KIDZ Privacy" located at http://www.ftc.gov/kidzprivacy/.
If you have any questions or concerns about the policy described above, please write to CalifSF@usc.edu. This Web site is presently maintained by Chris Gould. You may also contact us here.