Like other organisations, the Hertfordshire Natural History Society has responded to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that take effect on 25 May by reviewing its arrangements for making sure its use of personal data remains legal.

Our new Privacy Policy provides a detailed overview of the circumstances in which we process personal data, including information provided by our members, individuals submitting wildlife records to our websites and those who buy our books.

In particular, we have concluded that the Society has a 'legitimate interest' in using personal data to:

  • manage members, volunteers, partnership relationships, and commercial interactions;
  • ensure the effectiveness and rigour associated with the operation and results of our surveys, including contacting individuals to validate and/or verify their data;
  • provide individuals with feedback on the records they have contributed to;
  • periodically send our members information about our work which we think they may find interesting, using the contact channels they have indicated that they prefer (there is also a right to opt out of receiving such communications at any time)

The new policy also describes how, in support of its defining commitment to the scientific study and recording of the natural history of Hertfordshire, the Society may legitimately undertake scientific activities with partner organisations that lead to the transfer of wildlife recording data. However, the HNHS will never sell personal data, and will only ever share it with other individuals or organisations where necessary and where guarantees as to its privacy and security have been provided.

Under the new data protection regulations, individuals also have the right to ask whether HNHS holds heir personal information and to obtain a copy of the data held. They can request that some or all of their personal information is removed (although this may not apply where it is necessary for us to continue to use the data for a lawful reason). They have the right to have any inaccurate personal information corrected. They can also specify some of the purposes for which they may be contacted  and the channels that may be used.

The Privacy Policy further notes that the HNHS is committed to respecting the privacy of all visitors to its website. The site can be visited without any need for individuals to identify themselves or disclose any personal information. However, those who do provide information by which they can be identified, should rest assured that it will only be used in accord with the law and the safeguards set out in the policy.