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Privacy policy relating to the SOAS website

In this agreement, the "Website" means the SOAS website at www.soas.ac.uk. "SOAS" means the SOAS, University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies).

SOAS is committed to protecting your privacy and developing technology that gives you a safe online experience. This Privacy Policy applies to the Website and governs data collection and usage. By using the Website, you consent to the data practices described in this policy.

The Website is operated by the SOAS, University of London (called SOAS in this agreement), who are situated at Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. SOAS can be contacted by post to Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. You can reach us by telephone at +44 (0)20 7637 2388.

SOAS encourages you to review the privacy statement of websites you choose to link to from the Website so that you can understand how those websites collect, use and share your information. Any third party sites that you can access through the Website are not covered by SOAS's Privacy Policy and we accept no responsibility or liability for these sites.

Information you give us

We receive and store any information you enter on the Website or give us in any other way. You provide this information when you search, participate in discussion forums or communicate with us by phone, email or otherwise. As a result of those actions you might supply us with such information as your name, address, post code, date of birth, gender, information on how you use our services (such as type, date, time, and information on your browsing activity when visiting the Website) and any other information with respect of your use of the Website. We might also ask for other specific information from time to time.

We use the information that you provide for such purposes as responding to your requests, customising future use of the Website for you, improving the Website and communicating with you.

Automatic information

We receive and store certain types of information whenever you interact with us. For example, like many websites, we use "cookies" and "webbugs", and we obtain certain types of information when your web browser accesses the Website. Third parties might also do this on the Website. Examples of information we collect and analyse using technology which is not readily apparent include the Internet Protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the internet; log in; email address; password; computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system and platform; the full Uniform Resource Locators (URL), click stream to, through and from the Website, including date and time; cookie number; pages viewed or searched for; your site history, and phone number used to contact us. A number of companies offer utilities designed to help you visit websites anonymously. We want you to be aware that these tools exist.

What are Cookies and Webbugs?

  • Cookies are pieces of information that we transfer to your computer's hard drive through your web browser when you are viewing the Website. These pieces of information allow the Website to act on information that will make your use of the Website more rewarding. We use cookies to enable our system to recognise your browser and to provide features such as easier login and greater security and for storing information about you between visits. None of these cookies contain your password, phone number or address details in text format.
  • The "help" portion of a toolbar on most browsers will tell you how to protect your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie, or how to disable cookies altogether. However if you turn cookies off you won't have access to some of the features that make the Website more efficient and services may not function properly.
  • Webbugs are minute images (commonly 1 pixel x 1 pixel to be exact) that transmit data on use of the internet back to a computer specified by the webbug. Information fed back by web bugs is often similar to the sort of information you will find in a cookie, such as the sites that you have recently visited and potentially the characteristics of the machine that you were using. You can find out more about webbugs.

Does SOAS share the information received?

SOAS collects and uses your personal information to operate SOAS and deliver any services you have requested. 

SOAS does not use or disclose sensitive personal information, such as race, religion or political affiliations, without your explicit consent, and would not normally gather this information in the course of your day to day use of the website.

SOAS may disclose personal information in the following circumstances:

  • We may pass personal data to other organizations within or outside the European Economic Area who are contracted to provide services to SOAS, where the transfer is necessary for the provision of those services. SOAS is responsible under the Data Protection Act for the data processing carried out by these organizations.
  • SOAS may share data with trusted partners to help us perform statistical analysis, or anonymously as part of a research paper. All such third parties are prohibited from using your personal information except to provide these services to SOAS, and they are required to maintain the confidentiality of your information.
  • We may provide your data to third parties where we have informed you in advance that we will do so and have obtained your permission.
  • We will give out personal information as required or permitted by law, for example to comply with a Court Order, to enforce our terms and conditions or to protect the safety and security of users on the Website.

We may use the data which you provide for direct marketing purposes (e.g. to send you emails or postal mail). We will tell you at the point of gathering the data whether your data is to be used for direct marketing purposes. You may request at any time that we not use your data for these purposes.

How secure is information about me?

  • The importance of security for all personally identifiable information associated with our users is of utmost concern to us. We take technical, contractual, administrative and physical steps to protect all of the user information we hold. Despite this no system is 100% secure and you acknowledge that the information you give us is at risk.
  • It is important for you to protect against unauthorised access to your password and to your computer. Be sure to log out when using a shared computer and take steps to make sure your personal information has not been stored by that computer or a network connected to it.

What choices do I have?

  • The help portion of the toolbar on most browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie or how to disable cookies altogether.
  • You can visit sites on the internet that will tell you more about webbugs and what to do about them.
  • There are products which allow anonymous browsing.

Conditions of use

This agreement is governed by the laws of England, where SOAS originates and is designed to be accessed and is deemed to be made in England. You consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts in all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of the Website. Use of the Website is unauthorised in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including without limitation this paragraph.

By continuing to use the Website you agree that you have read the Access Agreement and that you agree with all of its contents. This agreement and the Access Agreement may be altered and for this reason you should regularly visit the Privacy Policy on the Website as the current version will be binding upon you.

Further information

SOAS’s website is operated in accordance with the School's Data Protection Policy, which provides further information about the steps taken by the School to comply with the Data Protection Act.

You can request access to the data which we hold about you: see Data Protection Act: Requesting Access to Personal Data for further information.