Privacy and Security Policies

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) provides websites and mobile applications (apps) as public services. In accordance with Texas Government Code Ch. 559 and Department of Information Resources (DIR) regulations in Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Ch. 206, this policy describes how TPWD collects, uses, and protects information that it receives from members of the public during the course of website visits and mobile app sessions.

The policy applies to department-developed mobile apps and webpages beginning with:

  • tpwd.texas.gov
  • tpwd.state.tx.us
  • www2.tpwd.state.tx.us
  • apps.tpwd.state.tx.us
  • apps.tpwd.texas.gov
  • conservationplate.org
  • outdoorannual.com
  • passporttotexas.org
  • texassharelunker.com
  • tpwmagazine.com
  • tpwd.samaritan.com
  • tpwd.elementlms.com
  • txfgsales.com

Information TPWD Automatically Collects

Statistical Information

Statistical information is used for a number of purposes, including assessing what information is of most interest to users, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas. TPWD uses statistical information such as cookies, web beacons, server logs, and log analysis tools to improve site management.

Information You Provide

Personal Identifying Information (PII)

When an individual or “visitor” does business or interacts with TPWD through TPWD websites, mobile apps, or service providers that perform contracted services (e.g., buying a license, making a park reservation, registering as a volunteer, signing up for email communications), PII may be collected. PII includes, but is not limited to, the following for an individual:

  • Contact information (e.g., name, address, telephone number, email)
  • Financial accounts/numbers (e.g., bank account, credit card, debit card)
  • Government identification (e.g., Social Security number, driver license number)
  • Miscellaneous personal information (e.g., mother’s maiden name)

Commitment to Privacy

How Information is Shared

TPWD does not use statistical information to identify individual users, nor does it match statistical information with PII of individual users. TPWD may share general, non-identifiable statistical information or data compilations with the public, such as:

  • number of website visitors
  • most popular webpages

The protection and disclosure of PII is regulated by state and federal laws, including Texas Business and Commerce Code Ch. 521. Under the Texas Public Information Act (Texas Government Code Ch. 552), some PII is confidential and may not be publicly disclosed, with various exceptions.

Disclosure of TPWD customer (person who has purchased a product, license, permit, or service from TPWD) PII is governed by Texas Gov’t Code §§552.136-137, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, and TPWD regulations. PII may be confidential or disclosed depending upon circumstances and the nature of the PII.

If authorized or required, PII may be disclosed to third parties, including responses to subpoenas, disclosures to other governmental entities for governmental purposes, or disclosures made with the user’s consent. TPWD may also enter into agreements with third parties to provide services for official TPWD business, and those agreements may allow access to PII solely as required to carry out the service.

TPWD does not disclose PII in violation of the law.

For specific information on the confidentiality and disclosure requirements for TPWD customers’ information, please review Texas Parks and Wildlife Code §11.030 and §§31.039-31.0391, and Texas Administrative Code, Title 31, Ch. 51, Subch. K.

Information TPWD Uses

Information Collected with Cookies

When a browser visits any website, its server may place a piece of text known as a "cookie" on the browser’s phone, tablet, or computer. This text allows websites to “remember” visitors’ preferences, browsing patterns, and behavior while connected online.

Cookie text makes it easier for you (the user) to access the dynamic features of webpages. Cookies from TPWD webpages only collect information about your browser’s visit to the site; they do not collect any personal information about you.

TPWD uses the following types of cookies:

Cookies that measure your website use

TPWD uses service providers to measure how you use our websites so we can improve them based on user needs. Service providers set cookies that store anonymized statistics like:

  • how you navigate to TPWD websites
  • when you visit the sites
  • from where you visit the sites
  • your device type, screen resolution, language, browser, browser settings, browser version, and operating system
  • the pages you visit
  • how long you spend on each page
  • what you click on while visiting the sites
  • online transactions

Cookies that assist your experience on our site

These cookies do things like:

  • remember the notifications you've seen so that we do not show them to you again
  • remember your progress through a form (e.g., purchasing a license or completing a survey)
  • remember your preferences and the choices you make to personalize your experience when using the site

Cookies that help with our communications and advertising

Cookies may be set by service provider websites to measure how long you view videos, whether you click on links, or how you perform other actions on our site. TPWD also uses service providers to provide advertising (ads). Service providers may set cookies that store anonymized statistics about ad performance like:

  • how ads are displayed on TPWD sites
  • how you interact with ads on TPWD sites
  • department revenue generated from ads on TPWD sites

In some cases, a service provider may use cookies in conjunction with web beacons or other tracking methods to do things like:

  • collect information about a web visit or online transaction to help TPWD measure and target advertising for programs, sites, or products
  • deliver messages or offers from sponsors and partners who have agreements in place in support of TPWD’s mission
  • communicate with you about TPWD services and other customer service functions

How to reject cookies when you browse TPWD websites

You may set your browser to reject or alert you when a cookie is placed. Although you are not required to accept cookies when you visit TPWD websites, cookies help you get the best experience out of our online services. You may therefore be unable to use all the functionality of TPWD websites if your browser rejects cookies. The method to reject cookies varies from browser to browser; please visit your browser’s help menu for more information.

TPWD only partners with third parties that allow users to opt out of non-essential cookies. Instructions on how to opt out of third-party cookies are described later in this policy.

Users may also manage and opt-out of cookies used for advertising.

Web Beacons

Some TPWD webpages and emails may contain small electronic files known as web beacons (also referred to as clear gifs, pixel tags, and single-pixel gifs). Web beacons differ from cookies in that information is not stored on your hard drive, but rather it is embedded on webpages or in emails. Like cookies, web beacons enable TPWD to provide a website experience that is better tailored to user preferences and interests. Web beacons also permit browsing patterns of web users to be tracked, like:

  • counting users who have visited those pages, opened an email, or other related website statistics
  • recording the popularity of certain website content
  • verifying system and server integrity

Email and Short Message Service (SMS)

TPWD websites allow you to send us email. TPWD uses the information provided by email only to respond to inquiries. TPWD may redirect the message to another government agency or government employee who can better answer the question. Email may not necessarily be secure against interception. TPWD strongly suggests that you do not send sensitive information such as passwords or social security numbers by email.

With limited exceptions, TPWD may not release an individual’s personal email address that has been provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with TPWD. For more information on this confidentiality requirement, please review Texas Government Code §552.137  .

Tools TPWD Uses to Collect Information

TPWD uses third-party services to collect data for our business purposes. The following are descriptions of what is collected and links to third-party privacy policies and data collection opt out instructions, if available (though TPWD cannot guarantee the currentness of a third-party’s link). 

Google Analytics™

Collects information about use of TPWD websites.

Google Tag Manager™

Enables the collection of information about use of TPWD websites.

Google Optimize™

Collects information about use of TPWD websites.

Google Firebase™

Collects information about use of TPWD mobile apps and provides messaging functionality.

  • Data collected: Google Firebase collects information using the following tools. Users consent to this tracking by installing and/or using TPWD mobile apps.
    • Google Analytics: collects data on user interaction with pages in order to optimize content and designs to meet users’ needs
    • Firebase Crashlytics: collects app performance data
    • Firebase Cloud Messaging: collects app installation IDs to allow for in-app notification messaging
  • Privacy policy: https://firebase.google.com/support/privacy
  • Terms of service: https://firebase.google.com/terms
  • Opt out: Users may opt out of notifications within mobile apps.

Google Analytics Advertising Features

Collects information about visitors to TPWD webpages.

Google Ad Manager™

With exception of TPWD websites on the .gov domain, Google Ad Manager collects data on websites and mobile apps to enable advertisers to know how many ads were shown and how many clicks each ad receives. Google Ad Manager may also host ads from Google Campaign Manager 360. TPWD does not use, nor does it allow its advertisers to use, Google products to select or target personalized ads or collect or use audience data such as cookie lists.

Facebook Pixel™

Tracks actions of users after they are redirected to a third-party website by clicking on a Facebook advertisement. This data allows TPWD to measure, optimize, and build audiences for advertising that is placed on Facebook. The collected data remains anonymous to TPWD, so staff cannot see the personal data of any individual user. However, the collected data is saved and processed by Facebook. Facebook Pixel tracking saves a cookie onto your device in order to personalize advertisement from Facebook and its partners. Users consent to this tracking by navigating TPWD websites.

Facebook™ “Like” Widget

Allows users to “Like” a webpage and displays whether users have already “Liked” the webpage.

Twitter™ Widget

Displays various Twitter feeds on TPWD websites.

  • Data collected: The Twitter widget uses Twitter’s persistent cookies to allow you to retweet from and access other Twitter functions related to your account. Twitter accesses this cookie on every page where the Twitter widget is displayed. This could allow Twitter to determine which websites you have visited.
  • Privacy policy: http://twitter.com/privacy
  • Terms of use: http://twitter.com/tos
  • Opt out: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169421. However, you are not required to log in to a Twitter account to use TPWD sites.

Hotjar™

Collects information about the usability of TPWD websites.

govDelivery™

An email and SMS subscription management system that delivers email bulletins and text messages related to your business relationship with TPWD or that you have self-subscribed to receive.

  • Data collected: Your email or SMS is used to send a message whenever information on one of your selected topics is made available. TPWD does not use the govDelivery service to send email messages that are unrelated to your business relationship with TPWD or to the topics selected by you.
  • Privacy policy: https://granicus.com/privacy-policy/
  • Terms of use: https://granicus.com/terms-of-use/
  • Opt out: You may customize and manage your GovDelivery preferences or cancel your subscriptions at any time.

TPWD Web-based Forms & Surveys

Allow users to voluntarily submit information on TPWD sites for various business purposes.

  • Data collected: TPWD collects certain types of PII and user activity from these forms for specific department business purposes (e.g., boat registration, promotional drawings, survey responses).
  • Opt out: You may opt out by not submitting information using web-based forms or surveys on TPWD websites.

Records Retention and Public Information

The information TPWD collects will be retained and maintained as required by Texas Records Retention laws and requirements. Some information may be subject to public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act.

Manage Your Information

With few exceptions, you are entitled upon request to be informed about the information that TPWD collects about you. Under Texas Government Code §552.021 and §552.023, you are entitled to receive and review this information. Under Texas Government Code §559.004, you are also entitled to have TPWD correct any information about you that is incorrect.

To the extent allowed by law and/or business purposes, you may be entitled to have certain personal data deleted in the following circumstances:

  • The personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected.
  • You object to the collection or use of your personal data, and there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing.
  • The personal data has been unlawfully collected.

Please note that TPWD may not be able to comply with requests for data deletion due to specific legal reasons or business purposes, which will be explained to you at the time of your request, if applicable.

Contact us to view, correct, or request deletion of your data.

To protect your privacy and security, TPWD will take reasonable steps to help verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. TPWD tries to respond to requests within one (1) month, though it may take longer for complex or multiple requests, or other business reasons. In this case, TPWD will notify you and keep you updated.

How to control your advertising preferences.

Users may manage cookies used by companies for online advertising as well as settings for cookies on their browsers or devices.

Advertising opt-outs

Device and account settings

Security TPWD Uses

TPWD is committed to ensuring that your personal data is secure. To prevent unauthorized access or disclosure, the agency implements certain technical and organizational measures to safeguard your personal data.

TPWD uses a secure socket layer (SSL) connection to enhance the security of any information you choose to submit on our websites.

For site security purposes, and to ensure that the site remains available to all users, TPWD monitors network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this site are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Texas Penal Code Ch. 33 (Computer Crimes) or Ch. 33A (Telecommunications Crimes).

Visiting Other Websites

TPWD websites contain links to government entities, nonprofit organizations, and private entities. These websites are not within TPWD’s control and may not follow the same privacy, security, or accessibility policies. Once you click on a link to another site, you are subject to the policies of that site. TPWD specifically disclaims liability and responsibility for third-party website content.

Contact Us with Questions

Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this policy.