The City’s updated Privacy Statement: What does that mean to Seattle residents?

The City of Seattle’s Privacy Office has revised the City’s Privacy Statement and how the information is presented to residents and our customers. The updated Privacy Statement is a continuing commitment to the City’s responsibility to protect the public’s data. This commitment is even more important as we experience much of our work and life online due to the global pandemic.  

But what does that mean for Seattle residents? 

“As part of usual day-to-day business, the City collects details from residents when you pay a utility bill online, sign up for a virtual class through the Parks department or pay a parking ticket,” said Sarah Carrier, Privacy Program Manager. “It’s our job to make sure the departments are handling the data safely and not sharing names, addresses, or other personal details with third party vendors. This is critical to the work the city government does as trust and transparency are core values for our team and department.” 

The revised privacy statement allows users to easily find information on how specific data is collected such as personal data, digital images and videos, permitting information, and much more. The statement also allows users to easily view data laws and regulations the City of Seattle follows. 

“When we sat down to revise our privacy statement, we had residents in mind,” said Carrier. “We wanted to make the site accessible, easier to search and understand how the City manages the public’s data. You can easily click through to find how we handle and protect the data we collect.” 

“It’s the responsibility of the Privacy Team not only to ensure all public data collected through any City department is handled responsibly, but also to create trust with the residents of Seattle,” said Chief Privacy Officer Ginger Armbruster. “We work with departments to review and advise about new technology to ensure it meets the commitments we have made about data privacy.” 

The Privacy Program, established in 2015, is designed to provide structure and guidance required for City departments to incorporate the appropriate privacy practice into daily operations and to build public trust and confidence in how we collect and manage the public’s personal information. All Seattle.gov online sites and newsletters link to the City’s privacy statement so that residents and customers have easy access to this information. To learn more about the Privacy Program and the City’s Privacy Principles please visit their website. The Privacy Principles are available in multiple languages.