Privacy Statement

Section A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems' website and reviewing our Privacy Statement. This statement addresses collection, use and security of and access to information that may be obtained through use of DRS's website. (See Section I. Disclaimer for information regarding contracted vendor sites.) This statement covers the following topics:

Information collected and how it is used Personal information and choice Public access to information
Nondisclosure of certain personal/private information Review and correction of personally identifiable information Cookies
Security Disclaimer Contact information

Section B. Information collected and how it is used

What information we collect if you only browse this site.

If you do nothing during your visit to our website but browse, read pages or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  1. The Internet Protocol Address and domain name used. The Internet Protocol address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the Internet Protocol Address to direct Internet traffic to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider (e.g. or
  2. The type of browser and operating system you used.
  3. The date and time you visited this site.
  4. The web pages or services you accessed at this site.
  5. The Internet you visited prior to coming to this website.

The information we automatically collect or store is used by DRS only to improve the content of our web services and to help us understand how people are using our services. DRS analyzes this information to determine how the website is being used, so that we may continually improve the site's usefulness to the public.

If during your visit to our website you send email, respond to a survey and/or fill out an online form, the following additional information will be collected during that process:

What information we collect if you volunteer it.

  1. Your email address and contents of the email, for those who communicate with us via email.
  2. Information volunteered in response to a survey and your email address.
  3. Information volunteered through completion of an online form and your email address.

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

We use your email to respond directly to you to address issues you identify in your email, to further improve our website or to forward to another agency for appropriate action. Surveys when used, provide a method for you to provide us with your input on service-related matters. It is used solely for that purpose.

For seminar/workshop registration, we use the information provided for the sole purposes of registering you for a seminar, providing a confirmation letter with instructions about a seminar or workshop's time and location, and preparing any accommodations requested.

For members' questions, we use the information provided for the sole purposes of providing answers to address the issues identified in your email. If it is a question or statement specific to a member's account, we respond either by email, letter or phone call (depending on the nature of the request) and maintain a copy on file.

Section C. Personal information and choice

You may choose whether to provide personal information online.

"Personal information" is information about a person that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes such things as an individual's name, address and phone number. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not considered personal information.

We do not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us by sending us email, participating in a survey or completing an online form. You may choose not to contact us by email, participate in a survey or provide any personal information using an online form. Your choice to not participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse DRS's website and read or download any information provided on the site.

For seminar/workshop registration and member questions - if the required information as indicated on the Web page is not provided – we won't be able to complete your request(s). However, you still can contact DRS by mail, fax or telephone to request these services.

If personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, state law and the federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information is a public record once you provide it, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not protected by state or federal law.

If you believe that your personal/private information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact DRS as shown in the contact information section at the end of this statement.

The DRS website is a general audience site and we do not knowingly collect any personal information from children. Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children online or by email will be treated the same as information given by an adult, and may be subject to public access.

Section D. Public access to information

In Washington, laws exist to ensure that state government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by state government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access public records that serve various needs, including the privacy of individuals. Exceptions are provided by both state and federal laws.

All of the information collected at this site becomes public record that may be subject to inspection and copying by members of the public, unless an exemption in law exists. The provisions of RCW 42.56.070(1) state that:

“Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within the specific exemptions of *subsection (6) of this section, this chapter, or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records. To the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy interests protected by this chapter, an agency shall delete identifying details in a manner consistent with this chapter when it makes available or publishes any public record; however, in each case, the justification for the deletion shall be explained fully in writing.”

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or other law governing the agency's disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or other applicable law will control.

Section E. Nondisclosure of certain personal information

DRS requires you to provide certain personal information in order to provide services, such as:

  • Registration for a seminar or workshop via email or online form
  • Members' questions via email

You may choose not to provide this information, but if you choose not to provide it we will be unable to fulfill these services, and you will have to request these services either in person, by regular mail or by phone or fax.

Section F. Review and correction of personally identifiable information

You can review any personally identifiable information we collect about you by using the information in the contact information section at the end of this statement. You may recommend changes to any personally identifiable information you believe to be inaccurate by submitting a written request that credibly shows the inaccuracy. We will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. (RCW 43.41A.140)

Section G. Cookies

To better serve our users we are now using "cookies" to customize your browsing experience with Department of Retirement Systems. Cookies associated with DRS web applications are simple text files stored temporarily on your computer by your web browser. They last for only the duration of the user session with the DRS website and expire when you close your web browser. Cookies created on your computer by using this website do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security. They provide a method of distinguishing among visitors to Department of Retirement Systems.

In general, cookies written to your hard drive contain randomly generated alphanumeric codes that can only be interpreted by the same server that provided the information. Cookie files cannot read data stored on your hard drive nor read other cookie files created by other sites. You can refuse a cookie or instruct your web browser to prompt you before accepting one by adjusting your web browser settings. Instructions to enable these features may be found in your browser's help menu. Furthermore, you can delete cookie files from your hard drive by using any of the widely available methods. Instructions to delete files may be found in your operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, etc.) help menu.

Section H. Security

DRS takes precautions to safeguard personal information you provide through our web services. All information provided is contained behind secured networks and is accessible only by a limited number of employees who have special access rights.

This information should not be construed in any way as giving business, legal or other advice, or warranting as fail proof, the security of information provided via DRS's website.

Section I. Disclaimer

DRS's website has many links to other websites. These include links to websites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no longer on the DRS website and this Privacy Notice will not apply. When you link to another website, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new site.

Neither the state of Washington, nor any agency, officer or employee of the state of Washington warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.

DRS reserves the right to revise and update this Privacy Notice at any time.

Section J. Contact Information

To review your personal information, or request correction of your personal information contact the Public Records Officer at:
Department of Retirement Systems
PO Box 48380
Olympia, WA 98504-8380
Phone: (360) 664-7160
Fax: (360) 753-3166

Email: Public Records Officer

To offer comments about DRS's website or about the information presented in this Privacy Notice contact the Webmaster section of our contact information.