Privacy and Cookies Policy

The BBC Privacy and Cookies Policy

Page updated: August 2019 Version 3.1

1. What's in this policy?

This policy tells you:

  • what information we might collect about you
  • how we might use that information
  • when we might use your details to contact you
  • what information of yours we might share with others
  • your choices about the personal information you give us
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2. What does this policy cover?

This policy covers the services that are offered by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

And sometimes it covers services offered by parts of our organisation that operate as separate companies. Such as:

BBC World Service, BBC Studios, BBC Studioworks, BBC Global News, BBC Media Applications Technology, BBC World Service Trading and TV Licensing and BBC charities.

But only when those services link to this policy or tell you it applies.

It’s up to you to decide how much detail you want to know. We have just-in-time explanations that appear when we ask you to input your personal information. As well as what’s in this Policy, a service might have a short privacy notice. In that privacy notice you can find key information on what we do with your personal information when you use that service. And if you’re after more detail have a look at these topics.

What's not covered in this policy?

Our services sometimes link to services run by other companies' services, like opening a track from BBC Sounds on another music service such as Spotify. Those companies have their own privacy and cookies policies, so remember that the information you give them will follow their rules and not ours.

Sometimes you can access our services from other places, like a BBC Radio 1 YouTube page or the BBC iPlayer app on your connected TV. Make sure to check their privacy policy so you know how they will use your information.

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3. How do you protect my personal information?

We're strongly committed to keeping you and your family's information safe. And to do this we design our services with your safety in mind. We also have dedicated teams to look after your information security and privacy.

At the same time, no service can be completely secure - if you have any concerns that your BBC account or personal information has been put at risk, for example if someone could have found out your password, please get in touch straight away.

Where we store your information

Some companies that provide services to us run their services from outside the UK and the European Economic Area. We only let that happen if we are satisfied with their levels of security. Keep in mind that when you give us personal information it could be being transferred, stored or processed in a location outside the UK and the EEA.

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4. What types of personal information does the BBC collect about me?

We'll give you details about why we need your personal information and how we'll use it before you begin, unless it's obvious.

a. Information that you give us

We might ask for your name and contact details, your date of birth or financial details, depending on what you're doing. If you apply to take part in a programme on politics, for example, we might ask you about your political opinions. Information you give us might include information in a creation you share with us, such as people's names that appear in the creation.

When you register for a BBC account, or update your details or settings we ask for some personal information, like your email address and age.

b. Device information

Devices are lots of things like:

  • your computer
  • your mobile
  • your TV
  • your tablet
  • your voice-enabled device

We automatically collect some technical information from these devices and web browsers even when you're not signed into to a BBC account. This might include:

  • IP (internet protocol) address
  • device ID
  • app ID
  • vendor ID
  • advertising ID

c. Information on your activities outside the BBC when you talk about us

Like if you've mentioned us in a Twitter post, we'll collect your Twitter handle.

d. Information on how you use our services

Like the articles you read and the programmes you watch.

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5. How long will the BBC keep my personal information?

When you give us any personal information we'll let you know how long we'll hold it for. And always stick to these principles:

  • we only hold your information for as long as we do the activities we told you about or have a valid reason to keep it
  • we think about what type of information it is, the amount collected, how sensitive it might be and any legal requirements
  • we design our services so that we don't hold your information any longer than we have to
  • we may close your BBC account if you haven't used it in the last year. We'll send you an email to tell you that we plan to do this before we delete anything, so please check to see if we've sent you any emails about this
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6. How can the BBC use my personal information?

We have to have a valid reason to use your personal information. It's called the "lawful basis for processing". Sometimes we might ask your permission to do things, like when you subscribe to an email. Other times, when you'd reasonably expect us to use your personal information, we don't ask your permission, but only when:

We use your information for these types of things:

a. to deliver our services and to provide you with information about them

b. to deal with your requests, complaints and enquiries

c. to check if you're using BBC iPlayer and to keep the licensing database accurate and up to date

d. to personalise services and give you things more tailored to your tastes

Your BBC account lets you personalise your BBC online experience. To do that, “Allow Personalisation” is set to on when you create an account. If you’re under 13 and create an account your personalisation is set to off. Information about how you use our online services is then connected with other information you give us to personalise your experience.

If you don’t want us to do this, you can always turn personalisation off in your account settings. If you’re under 13 you don’t need to do anything.

e. to show you relevant advertising on another company's site

f. to help us understand what kind of services you might use

And sometimes how you might share things with other people

g. to recommend things we think might interest you

h. to show you advertising when you access a BBC service from outside the UK

Some of this advertising might be tailored to you.

i. to research and innovate

You're not a guinea-pig here, but knowing how you use our services could lead to the next big technology breakthrough.

j. to contact you about various things

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7. When will the BBC use my information to contact me?

We might use your information to contact you about different things, like:

  • to update you on any changes to the BBC’s policies, practices and Terms of Use
  • to check with you about any service or activity you’ve signed up for. For example, we might tell you if your BBC account hasn't been used in a long time. Or it might be about creating a child account
  • to contact you about a creation you sent us, like things you’ve sent in to School Report news day
  • to answer you when you’ve contacted us, or to respond to a comment or complaint
  • to invite you to take part in surveys about BBC services, which are always voluntary
  • for marketing purposes
  • to send you notifications on your device depending on your settings

We’ll only contact you when we need to or when you’ve given us permission.

We’ll never contact you to ask for your BBC account password.

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8. Will I be contacted for marketing purposes?

We'll only send you marketing emails or contact you about BBC programmes, services and your views on issues about the BBC if you've agreed to this.

Keep in mind, even if you unsubscribe, we may still contact you.

Will my personal information be used when the BBC advertises with other companies?

If you have a BBC account we might use information that we hold about you to show you relevant and targeted advertising for BBC services through other companies’ sites, like Facebook, Google, Snapchat or Twitter for example. This could be showing you a BBC sponsored message where we know you have a BBC account and have used BBC services.

If you don’t want to see our targeted advertising, you can set ad preferences in your social media companies’ settings. Also, you can visit your BBC account and turn this off.

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9. When does the BBC share my personal information with others?

We'll never sell your personal information. We do share it with others in these ways:

a. When you make something public

Like post a comment which the public can see.

b. When we use other companies to power our services

In order for us to give you quality experiences and to understand how you're using our services we often use other companies to process your personal information on our behalf. For example, sending you emails about things we think might interest you, to ask you what you think about our services, or to analyse data on how people use our digital services so we can improve them.

We make sure that your personal information is looked after as if we were handling it directly. We carefully select these companies, only share with them what they need to do the work and we make sure they keep your information secure.

c. When we share personal information with companies in the BBC family

d. When you use another company's service that connects to us, like voice-enabled devices and connected TV

You can access our services through a voice-enabled device, like Amazon Alexa, or a connected TV. You’ll need to sign in to your BBC account to use BBC services on your connected TV. When you do this we’ll share an identifier for your BBC account with the company who runs the service you are using. Make sure to check that company’s privacy policy so you know how it will use your information. The BBC isn’t responsible when you access a BBC service through another company’s services. It’s up to you if you want to access the BBC in this way.

e. When we do collaborative research

We do research activities and sometimes collaborate with research partners. Every now and then we share our content and data with them. This might include information we’ve collected about you. But we’re careful about what we share and what our research partners can do with it.

f. TV Licensing

We share some personal information with TV Licensing, to check if you’re using BBC iPlayer and to keep the licensing database accurate and up to date.

g. Sometimes by law we have to pass on your information to other organisations

We might also share your information if we have to by law, or when we need to protect you or other people from harm.

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10. What's different for kids and teens?

The BBC has services that are kid-friendly and for teens.

Here's what happens when you use them.

a. Why do we collect information about you in the first place?

We keep information about you so that we can

b. We'll always tell you why we're collecting your personal information

We’ll explain why and how we use it and for how long. It’s called a “privacy notice”. And if we need your parent or guardian's permission we'll give you clear details about what's needed at the time.

c. We can only use your personal information if we have a valid reason

d. We share personal information about you to others but we follow some rules

The main rule is we will never sell your personal information to anyone.

e. We might ask you to tell us your age

To make sure you use the parts of the BBC that are suitable for you. For example:

  • so that adults don't post comments on kid's message boards
  • when you want to get a BBC account
  • When you're watching a programme, like on BBC iPlayer, and it's a bit edgy

f. Sometimes we'll ask to get your parent or guardian's consent

You'll see a notification. We might also ask for some details from them, so that we can contact them. Other times we may contact your parent or guardian:

g. Sometimes we'll tell your parents about your activities

For example, if you enter one of our competitions, we might contact your parent.

h. When we can contact you

Sometimes we need to get in touch with you but we'll always follow these rules.

i. It's safe to use us

It's our job to keep your personal information safe and secure. That's why we design our services with your safety in mind. And we're always looking for the best ways to improve this.

There are also things that you can do to keep safe, like thinking about what information you share and how to keep your devices secure.

j. Human beings and not robots will make the big decisions that affect you

k. You might not be able to use our services if you're outside the UK

If you're outside the UK you might not be able to access some services. Like CBBC and CBeebies.

And you may not be able to get a BBC account. Sorry about that.

l. You're in control of how we use cookies and tracking

Cookies are small text files that transfer onto your device when you use a service.

We use cookies and tracking to get information about what type of device you’re using to access our services and we record things like what sites you visit, your IP address (a unique number your device creates every time you connect to the internet) and to make things easier for you, like remembering where you got to in a game or what emoji you selected.

You can switch off some cookies and similar tracking technologies. Or your parent or guardian can do this if you’re under 13.

But other cookies can’t be turned off.

m. What we do when you post, upload or share a creation

When you share your creation with us we'll try to tell you exactly what we're going to do with it.

n. You've got privacy rights, the same as adults, so get to know what they are

You can:

If you're 13 or older, you can do this yourself, but not always. Sometimes we'll be asking for your parent or guardian to do that.

If you're under 13 your parent or guardian probably has to do it for you.

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11. Can I delete my information?

This depends on what information you're talking about.

a. If you're talking about BBC account

You can delete your account. Your account information is immediately deleted. Keep in mind:

  • we keep a record of how you've used our services, but this information can't be linked back to you
  • we also keep anything you've uploaded or commented on

b. What about other information I've shared with you?

We might have collected other personal information that you might ask to be deleted that has nothing to do with BBC account.

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12. What are my rights?

Remember, you're in control of your personal information.

You have the right to:

Bear in mind, sometimes we might not be able to help. Like if the law tells us we can't or it forms part of our journalistic output.

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13. How does the BBC use cookies and similar tracking?

a. What are cookies and tracking technologies?

Cookies are small text files which are transferred to your computer or mobile when you visit a website or app.

There are also similar pieces of tracking information we collect.

b. Why do we use cookies and other tracking?

To do a few different things:

  • to remember information about you, so you don't have to give it to us again. And again. And again
  • to keep you signed in, even on different devices
  • to help us understand how people are using our services, so we can make them better
  • to deliver advertising to websites outside of the UK
  • to help us personalise the BBC to you by remembering your preferences and settings. And your progress, so you can pause and pick up where you left off watching a programme even on a different device
  • to find out if our emails have been read and if you find them useful

c. What are the types of cookies?

Some cookies are always on when you visit us, and you can’t turn them off unless you change your browser settings. We call these “strictly necessary cookies”. We use them to make sure our digital services work correctly and are meeting audience needs and interests.

We also use functional, performance and advertising cookies to make your experience more enjoyable. You can switch these on or off at any time and you can always change your mind. We’ll only use them if you’ve agreed.

Bear in mind there are some other cookies out there from other companies. These "third-party cookies" might track how you use different websites, including ours. For example, you might get a social media company’s cookie when you see the option to share something. You can turn them off, but not through us.

d. How do cookies last?

Some are erased when you close the browser on your website or app. Others stay longer, sometimes forever, and are saved onto your device so that they’re there when you come back.

e. How do I control my cookies and tracking?

Strictly necessary cookies are always on when you visit us. On your first visit to us, we’ll tell you about our other types of cookies and ask you to choose which cookies we can use. You can always change your mind by going to your settings.

Stopping all cookies might mean you can’t access some BBC services, or that some of them might not work properly for you.

Another way to control some tracking is in the settings on your device.

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14. How will I find out about changes to this policy?

We update this policy sometimes. If we make important changes, like how we use your personal information, we'll let you know. It might be a notice, an email or a message in your app.

If you don't agree to the changes, then you can always stop using our services, delete your account and stop giving us any more personal information. We'd be sorry to see you go.

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15. How can I contact the BBC?

Find out more and contact us about your rights.

For any other questions or comments about this policy speak to our Data Protection Officer.

BBC DPO, BC2 A4, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP

We're regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office. You can also contact them for advice and support.

© BBC 2019

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