Privacy policy

HomeThe SocietyMembershipPrivacy policy

(download the BBS Privacy Policy as a PDF file)

This website is operated by the British Bryological Society (BBS), a registered UK charity, number 228851.

The BBS, as “Data Controller”, is committed to protecting and preserving the privacy of our visitors when visiting our site or communicating electronically with us.

This policy sets out how we process any personal data we collect from you or that you provide to us through our website. We confirm that we will keep your information secure and that we will comply fully with all applicable UK Data Protection legislation and regulations. Please read the following carefully to understand what happens to personal data that you choose to provide to us, or that we collect from you when you visit this site. By visiting (our website) you are accepting and consenting to the practices described in this policy.

Types of information we may collect from you

We may collect, store and use the following kinds of personal information about individuals who visit and use our website:

Information you supply to us.

You may supply us with information about you by filling in forms on our website. This includes information you provide when you submit a contact/enquiry form or become a member by completing the membership application form.

Specifically, when you become a member, we request and store the following data:

  • Title
  • Name
  • Postal address
  • Country
  • Email address (if provided)
  • Contact preferences
  • Date individual joined
  • Class of membership
  • Institution (student and institution membership classes only)
  • Whether registered for gift aid
  • Subscription payment record
  • Information our website automatically collects about you.

With regard to each of your visits to our website we may automatically collect information including the following:

  • technical information, including a truncated and anonymised version of your Internet protocol (IP) address, browser type and version, operating system and platform;
  • information about your visit, including what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got to the site (including date and time); page response times, length of visit, what you click on, documents downloaded and download errors.


Our website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site.

You can read more information about the cookies our site uses here

How we may use the information we collect

We use the information in the following ways:

Information you supply to us.

We will use this information:

  • to provide you with information and/or services that you request from us;
  • to contact members on BBS matters, and for the posting of Society journals;
  • to promote interaction amongst the bryological community by circulating hard-copy membership lists.

Information we automatically collect about you.

We will use this information:

  • to administer our site including troubleshooting and statistical purposes;
  • to improve our site to ensure that content is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer;
  • security and debugging as part of our efforts to keep our site safe and secure.
  • This information is collected anonymously and is not linked to information that identifies you as an individual. We use Google Analytics to track this information. Find out how Google uses your data at

Disclosure of your information

Any information you provide to us will either be emailed directly to us or may be stored on a secure server located in the UK. We use a trusted third party website and hosting provider (Castlegate IT) to facilitate the running and management of this website. Castlegate meet high data protection and security standards and are bound by contract to keep any information they process on our behalf confidential.

Name and address details will be shared with the current printer of the Society’s Bulletin “Field Bryology”, and with the publisher of the Society’s academic journal, the Journal of Bryology. In the latter case members can opt-out of receiving a hard copy of the journal by post. Data processing agreements will be put in place to ensure that outside organisations do not pass on our members’ details to third parties or use them for any other purpose than mailing Society publications.

The Membership Secretary will be responsible for sharing address details with the printer/publisher and to this end may store relevant information in a password protected spreadsheet or database on his/her personal computer. The Membership Secretary will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the data are protected (e.g. running up-to-date anti-virus software). Note that the BBS is a small, volunteer-run, organisation (defined as a micro-enterprise within the context of GDPR), and therefore the ‘principle of proportionality’ (Article 5 of the Treaty of European Union) should be borne in mind with respect to the extent of the Membership Secretary’s actions in this regard.

The Society may periodically publish and circulate hard-copy membership lists amongst members of the Society to promote interaction amongst the bryological community, as per its charitable objectives.  Members will be given a choice as to whether they and their details feature in these lists.

We do not rent, sell or share personal information about you with other people or non-affiliated companies.

We will use all reasonable efforts to ensure that your personal data is not disclosed to regional/national institutions and authorities, unless required by law or other regulations.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

Biological records data

Many members participate in the BBS Mapping Scheme and Vice-County Census Catalogue projects, which both involve the collection of limited personal data associated with biological records (i.e. species occurrence data). The names of recorders, determiners, and/or confirmers are intrinsic parts of the scientific value of such data, because they contain information about the reliability of the data, among other things of potential historic and socio-cultural interest. We will therefore collect the following personal data relating to biological records:

  • Name (as a recorder, determiner or confirmer)
  • Location and date of any biological records you submit

In data protection terms we are using the ‘lawful basis’ of ‘legitimate interest’ for collecting, processing and sharing your personal data related to biological records.

Sharing your name that forms part of the biological record

Biological records sent to the BBS will also be shared with other organisations and individuals worldwide for the purposes of scientific research. For the reasons noted above, your name will be included as part of the scientific records in these datasets. BBS datasets will also be published periodically (e.g. on the National Biodiversity Network website) under an open licence (CC-BY), and so will be freely available for redistribution.

Third party links

Our site may, from time to time, contain links to and from the third party websites. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites have their own privacy policies and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies. Please check these policies before you submit any personal data to these websites.

Your rights – access to your personal data

You have the right to ensure that your personal data is being processed lawfully (“Subject Access Right”). Your subject access right can be exercised in accordance with data protection laws and regulations. Any subject access request must be made in writing to the Membership secretary, We will provide your personal data to you within the statutory time frames. To enable us to trace any of your personal data that we may be holding, we may need to request further information from you. If you have a complaint about how we have used your information, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The members’ Bulletin, Field Bryology, will be sent to all members. The BBS invokes “legitimate interest” for sending this without specific consent: It is a highly regarded magazine to which members are entitled through their subscription, it is a reasonable presumption that all members wish to receive it, and it is the main route for communicating essential Society business to members. These advantages are balanced against a very small risk to fairly insensitive data.

Members can update their contact details and preferences at any time via the member’s area of the website, or by contacting the Membership Secretary.

Data Retention

The BBS will retain members’ data until such time as they resign their membership, or for a period of 3 years from the date of the last subscription payment in the case of lapsed members – details will be kept long enough for a reasonable number of reminders to be sent.

Other organisations processing data on behalf of the BBS will be instructed to delete members’ data permanently as soon as they receive the next updated list, or immediately if their contract with the BBS ceases.

A list of member’s names, membership category and duration of membership will be kept indefinitely.  These form part of the Society’s archive, and are used for purposes such as informing obituaries or historic documents.

Data Breaches

The BBS is aware of its responsibility to report a serious data breach to the Information Commissioners Office and to individuals affected.  If a data breach were to occur the Society would assess whether it “constituted a risk to people’s rights and freedoms”, and if it did, would take appropriate action.

Changes to our privacy policy

Any changes we may make to our privacy policy in the future will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you by e-mail. Please check back frequently to see any updates or changes to our privacy policy.


Questions, comments and requests regarding this privacy policy are welcomed and should be addressed to the General Secretary,