Privacy and Security Policy
|Objective:||To describe for the public the privacy and security practices regarding information collected from visitors to SOAH’s public website, including what information is collected and how that information is used.|
|Legal Cites:||Texas Government Code § 2054.126|
The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH or “us” or “we”) maintains this website as a public service. The following is the privacy and security policy for this site (i.e., all pages starting with http://www.soah.texas.gov). This policy describes SOAH’s privacy and security practices regarding information collected from visitors to the site, including what information is collected and how that information is used. Please read this policy carefully and thoroughly. By accessing or using this website, all visitors agree to this privacy and security policy.
SOAH values and protects the public’s privacy and places strict controls on the gathering and use of sensitive information and confidential information. Sensitive and confidential information is not disclosed, made available, or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified at the time of collection, except with your consent or as authorized by law or regulation.
As a public agency, SOAH understands the importance of maintaining your privacy and will make every attempt to maintain your trust and confidence regarding the collection and use of your personal information. This policy has been developed and is maintained in accordance with all applicable Texas and federal laws and regulations and will be updated from time to time. Please review this page frequently.
In accordance with Texas Government Code Section 2054.134, this site is compatible with:
|Desktop||Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari|
|Mobile + Tablet||Android, Chrome, Safari, Samsung Internet|
All site visitors and users remain anonymous unless they choose to provide their personal information to SOAH. Personal information may be collected by SOAH when you request information, register for services, submit correspondence, or for other similar purposes.
Given SOAH’s purpose, codified in Texas Government Code Section 2003.021, SOAH manages a vast amount of personal information necessary to carry out its statutory duties and obligations related to conducting contested case hearings for over 50 state agencies. SOAH conducts approximately 30,000 hearings per year.
Any pleadings or other documents filed with SOAH relating to a contested case hearing are public unless the hearing is designated as confidential or the documents are designated as confidential. An individual filing or offering documents containing confidential or sensitive information must comply with SOAH’s Rules of Procedure in order to prevent any inadvertent public disclosure. It is the responsibility of the filer to ensure any sensitive information and confidential documents are filed properly. SOAH is not responsible for improper filings by any third parties.
To the extent possible, sensitive information or confidential information managed by SOAH is:
limited to the minimum necessary or appropriate to accomplish the duty or purpose for which it is being requested and collected;
collected in a secure manner as necessary based upon the sensitivity of the information and that is consistent with applicable law, rule, or policy; and
used only as needed to fulfill official duties or governmental purpose of the agency.
The voluntary disclosure of any personal information to SOAH, whether solicited or unsolicited, constitutes your consent to the collection and disclosure of the information by SOAH for the purposes for which the information was disclosed to SOAH, as was reasonably ascertainable from the nature and terms of the disclosure, including collection and disclosure for the purpose of validating your identity.
SOAH’s websites collect and store information each time you access them to enable us to measure the total number of visitors, and certain non-personal statistical information. This helps us make our websites more accessible and useful to visitors. If you browse through our sites reading, printing, or downloading information, no sensitive or confidential information about you is collected.
The information we may collect when you visit SOAH’s sites consists of:
The Internet Protocol (IP) address from which you are accessing the site(s).
The domain name of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are using to access the site(s) (e.g. Comcast.net or TimeWarnerCable.com).
The date and time you visited the site(s).
The web pages or services you accessed at the site(s).
The type, manufacturer, model, operating system, and Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device you are using to access the site(s).
Internet browser type and version used to access the site(s).
SOAH’s websites have reasonable security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse, and alteration of your data and information that is under our control. Interactive applications and forms that collect sensitive or confidential information are encrypted using privacy and security safeguards such as a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) session or similar technology.
Appropriate computer, network, and Internet technical security controls prevent unauthorized access to information voluntarily provided by you. Some of these security controls are: password and user identification verification, data encryption, confidential transmissions, secure storage areas, and audit trails. SOAH employees are educated regarding the requirements of working with sensitive and confidential information as well as the consequences of misuse. Despite such security measures and efforts, however, please note that no organization can fully eliminate risks or guarantee the absolute security of personal information.
If you communicate with SOAH by sending an email, your email address may be retained for further communication with you in connection with processing your request or as provided by law. Do not send any sensitive or confidential information in the body of, or as an attachment to, an electronic mail message unless the data is adequately encrypted. Data sent via email is not inherently secured or encrypted. Any information contained in an email message or attachment may be retained and stored by SOAH pursuant to the applicable retention period or as provided by law and may be provided to other state agencies to better serve your needs.
Except as authorized by law, SOAH does not sell or release your email address. However, if you provide your personal email address to SOAH for the purpose of receiving orders and decisions from SOAH, or for other reasons laid out in Texas Government Code Section 552.137, please note that your personal email address is not confidential and may be subject to disclosure.
SOAH recognizes that social media tools allow users to quickly and easily share information with one another. In keeping with the goal of making government open and accessible, SOAH may utilize social media tools, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, to post or share information related to agency business or items of interest to the general public.
Visitors and users of social media services are bound by the terms of service and user agreements for the platform. Any posts, comments, information, other communications, or material of any type or nature that you submit to a social media platform maintained by SOAH is done solely at your own risk and without any expectation of privacy.
SOAH will not accept public information requests or other requests or notifications submitted by users through social media pages maintained by SOAH. Users are not to use social media as an official method of communicating for any purpose with the agency.
For further information on SOAH’s use of social media, please review SOAH’s Social Media Policy.
SOAH gathers your information through lawful means. Any subsequent use of the information is limited to purposes consistent with the purpose(s) given at the time of collection. SOAH’s employees will only use sensitive and confidential information submitted by you on a need-to-know basis to provide information or services, or carry out the duties of the office.
Texas law states that some information submitted or accessed by you may be subject to public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code. Limitations do exist to protect certain sensitive information or confidential information.
SOAH does not sell or distribute your information to any non-governmental third party without your consent or as authorized by law or regulation.
Further, SOAH will not disclose information we collect from you to third parties without your permission except to the extent necessary including:
To fulfill SOAH’s official duties as authorized under applicable law;
To fulfill your requests for services;
To protect ourselves from liability;
To verify or update information provided;
To comply with any law enforcement agency, self-regulatory organizations or a properly authorized civil, criminal, or regulatory investigation;
To prevent, detect, mitigate, and investigate actual or potential fraud and unauthorized transactions or claims; or
To comply with subpoenas or summons or to comply with federal, state or local laws, rules and other legal requirements, or in connection with a merger, acquisition, or liquidation of the company.
In accordance with Texas Government Code Chapter 559, you have the right to request, receive, and review your information maintained with SOAH, with few exceptions. You are also entitled to have us correct any information about you in our possession that may be incorrect.
To request information from SOAH please submit your request via email and ensure your request includes enough description and detail so we may accurately identify and locate your information. You may also submit your request via United States Postal Mail.
Public Information Coordinator
State Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 13025
Austin, Texas 78711-3025
If you require special accommodation pursuant to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact our ADA Coordinator for Title II via United States Postal Mail, phone, or email at:
ADA Coordinator - Title II
State Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 13025
Austin, Texas 78711-3025
For further information regarding requests for accommodation, please see SOAH's Accessibility Policy.
For further information regarding requests for information from SOAH, please visit the Open Records Requests page of this site.
Information collected by or provided to SOAH will be retained and maintained as required by law or regulation, such as Texas Government Code Section 441.180 et seq. Different types of information are required to be kept for different periods of time.
SOAH stores or uses sensitive and confidential information submitted by you only for the time necessary. Confidential information is destroyed via purging, magnetic erasing, shredding, and/or other means of authorized confidential destruction when no longer required and to prevent unauthorized access or use of the data. Regularly scheduled archiving, purging, and proper disposal of records and information is a standard practice throughout SOAH.
For further information, you can view SOAH’s Records Retention Schedule, publicly available on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) website page for State Agency Retention Schedules.
SOAH’s websites may contain links to other websites for your information and convenience. SOAH has no control over the privacy practices or the content of such other websites. Please review the security and privacy information provided by these sites.
The responsibility for the content and accuracy of information on sites accessed by linking from our websites rests with the entities providing the information. This includes any responsibility for updating information upon which visitors may rely. The inclusion of links from our sites to others does not imply any endorsement by SOAH of any product, service, or vendor. Any mention of products, services, or vendors is for informational purposes only. For more information, please review SOAH’s Website Linking Policy.
Information on SOAH’s sites is public domain and may be accessed, copied, and used free of charge as permitted by law, with the exception of pictures, official symbols, and service marked names and logos. While SOAH attempts to maintain a high degree of accuracy, we will not be held liable for errors or omissions that may occur.
If you are reproducing information from SOAH’s websites, SOAH’s Internet site should be credited as the source of the information reproduced and should clearly state the date that the material was reproduced.
SOAH is not an operator of a website or online service directed at children under 13 years of age and does not knowingly collect sensitive and confidential information from children. Users are cautioned, however, that the collection of sensitive and confidential information via an interactive application or email will be treated as though it was submitted by an adult, and may, unless exempted from access by federal or state law, be subject to public access. SOAH strongly encourages parents and teachers to be involved in children's Internet activities, and to provide guidance whenever children are asked to provide sensitive and confidential information online.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about SOAH’s Privacy and Security Policy, please contact the Information Resources Manager by email or United States Postal Mail at:
Information Resources Manager
State Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 13025
Austin, Texas 78711-3025
Confidential Information: Information typically excepted from public disclosure, either due to being specified in law or through a decision by the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office. This includes Sensitive Personal Information (SPI), as defined by Texas Business and Commerce Code Section 521.002.
Contested Case: Defined by Texas Government Code Section 2001.003 as a legal proceeding, including a ratemaking or licensing proceeding, in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party are to be determined by a state agency after an opportunity for adjudicative hearing. Hearings for contested cases are conducted by SOAH after being referred to by a state agency or entity.
Cookie: A small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the user's web browser while the user is browsing it. Cookies can be disabled by the user by adjusting the browser settings; however, if cookies are disabled in the browser, certain parts of the website might no longer be accessible to the user.
Internet Protocol (IP) Address: A unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each individual computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.
Internet Service Provider (ISP): An organization that provides services for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet.
Public Information: Information available freely to the public without reservation.
Records Retention Schedule: An authorized document that identifies and describes a state agency’s records and the lengths of time that each type of record must be retained.
Sensitive Information: Information that must be guarded from unauthorized access and unwarranted disclosure. It is subject to public disclosure through an open records request, but must be vetted and verified before release. This includes Personal Identifying Information (PII), as defined by Texas Business and Commerce Code Section 521.002.