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Privacy Policy

Last updated December 2008

Your privacy

Protecting your privacy is one of our top priorities. Please take a few minutes to review this policy.


Our privacy commitment

This document sets out the basis on which the BMJ Publishing Group Limited (“BMJ Group”) will process any personal data we collect from you, except in the case of Evidence Based Nursing, and in which case you will be subject to the Royal College of Nursing's Privacy Policy. Other than for Evidence Based Nursing, the BMJ Group shall be the data controller.

We will make every effort to protect your privacy by adopting a consistently high level of site security and adhering to strict company policies on how we store and use personal information. This privacy policy has been developed in accordance with our legal obligations and may be updated from time to time.

If we make any changes to our privacy policy, we will post the revisions on our site.

1.  What information is being collected and how is it used?

There are various sections of the website, for which we collect different information. What we collect and how this is used is as follows:

1.1 Registered Users

Many of our websites require subscriptions and/or registration to access certain functions, services or content. You will know what information is being collected via these processes when you complete required details prior to submission (including which information is mandatory). On some of our websites, where you submit a response for publication your name and other personal details may be published. You should check the policy on the relevant submission page on the specific BMJ Group website. We will collect data relating to any transactions you carry out through our website(s) and of the fulfilment of your orders. We collate data about registered users and which publications and services they have subscribed to so to understand our customers and try and easily fulfil their subscription requirements. For conferences we will use your personal data also to inform the venue and caterers of all delegates, create a delegate list of attendees and sponsors.

Once you start using our sites, we may track and keep a record of the pages you visit. We collect this data from groups of users to get a sense of how people are using our sites and which content and areas are most popular. This helps us improve what we offer on our sites.

We will also use your data to monitor for any unauthorised use of our websites, content or subscriptions to our publications (for example individuals subscribing individually for institutions). We may also disclose your identity and contact details to any third party claiming material posted by you is defamatory or violates their intellectual property rights or right to privacy. You will be given an opportunity to opt in or out (as applicable) from receiving marketing emails from the BMJ Group and third parties.

1.2 BMJ Learning Users

In addition to other uses of your personal data which are set out herein, the information that you add to your plan, including the areas of improvement you identify, the classes you have taken, and other such information, is considered private. Our technicians have access to it in order to fix problems and maintain the site. However, we do not read this information unless necessary, and will not release it to other people or organisations, without your prior consent. However we reserve the right to release anonymised group data to third parties related to the use of specific modules.

You are able to give feedback about a learning module after completing it, and in the learning resources section of the site. This information is visible to other users of the site, including guest users. We will also use it to improve our site.

1.3 Foundation Programme Users

The forms you complete online and the learning modules you complete (including obtaining certificates of completion) are considered private. Our technicians have access to them in order to fix problems and maintain the site. However, we do not read this information unless necessary, and will not release it to other people or organisations, without your prior consent.

1.4 All users

As you browse the website, we collect information about your use of the site including but not limited to traffic data and location data. Essentially this will normally be which pages you have visited, how long you stay online and where you are located. We will not be able to identify who you are from the information we store, but we will be able to identify where you are located - (see point 1.5 below).

1.5 What else do we collect when you use our website?

Each time you use the internet, an IP address is assigned to your computer via the internet service provider. This number may either be the same or different each time. Each time your computer requests information from our website, we log your IP address on our server and may log operating systems and browser types for system administration and to report aggregate information. We may use this in order to gather information about the website traffic and usage. Whether you are a registered user or not, our web server collects certain information such as (a) IP address; (b) host names (c) domain name (d) time and date information as requested (e) the browser version and platform when it is requested, (f) a record of which pages have been requested.

If you contact us, we may keep a record of that correspondence and use it to contact you in response and/or to update our records. We may use all information to enforce our legal rights and protect against unauthorised access, use, activity and/or copying, either personally or via third party contractors and advisors. This may involve using your name and subscription details on a database with other publishers’ data for detection purposes.

1.6 What else do we use personal information for?

Other than for fulfilling our obligations to you (where these exist), on some occasions we use the information provided to produce aggregate statistics in relation to pages being accessed. We may also use it to monitor usage patterns on the website in order to improve navigation and design features to help you get information more easily. This information is provided to us as daily logged files. In order to help us develop the website and our services, we may provide such aggregate information to third parties. The statistics however will not include any information that can be used to identify any individual.

We may contact you to notify you about changes to our service. We also may send you non marketing emails for the purpose of inviting you to partake in surveys or market research which we conduct or which third parties are conducting.

In addition to responding to complaints or claims received or discovered referred to above or any breaches of our Website Terms and Conditions, we may use all information supplied or collected on this Website to enforce our legal rights and protect against unauthorised access, use, activity and/or copying, either personally or via third party contractors and advisors and/or protect the rights, property, or personal safety other users of the websites and the public.This may involve using any details supplied by you including your name and contact details.

2. How long do we keep the information we collect?

We keep your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil our obligations to you and to protect our legal interests.

3. Use of cookies

Once you have accessed the websites, we may store a temporary "cookie" on your computer, indicating that you are authorised to use the site. Cookies are small text files that are saved by your web browser and enable you to move throughout the site without having to sign in each time you look at a different page. We cannot identify you from these cookies. They simply tell us whether pages have been requested by the same person or two different people. For most of our sites, the cookies we use are "session cookies," which means they disappear when you shut down your web browser. Use of our websites is conditional on a session cookie being in place, and if you do not agree to this you should not use our websites. Session Cookies are stored in memory by your browser. Most of our session cookies have a life of 30 minutes from the time you last accessed a page on our relevant site, however some may be longer. If you have not used our relevant site for the designated period relevant for that site the cookie will be destroyed by your browser and you will have to log in again to view certain areas.

In addition for BMJ Point of Care we also have non expiring cookies which will identify when the same user (or user from the same terminal) returns to the site. We do this to assist with the user experience and so we can restore the last used screen when new pages are loaded. If you wish to delete such cookies, please refer to the instructions for your file management software to locate the file or directory that stores cookies.

We may from time to time use cookies to identify nationality of our users which enables us to present users with appropriate corporate branding and to conduct surveys as mentioned above.

More information about Cookies, including how to block them and/or delete them, can be found at Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our sites.

4. To whom will information be disclosed?

Other than as expressly agreed by you or stated when data is collected or within this policy we will not disclose your personal data to any third parties other than:

(i) our co-owners (where applicable), Licensors, contractors and advisors who must keep this data confidential;

(ii) as required for conferences such as to venue organisers;

(iii) as required to enforce our legal rights (including property, safety, our customers or others);

(iv) fraud protection and credit risk reduction;

(v) where our company or its assets (to which your data relates) are to be acquired by a new company location data may be shared;

(vi) in the case of BMJ Learning only, to your primary care trust (and only your name, contact details, whether you have completed a Form 4, and the means for them to email you) and to the BMA in relation to the fact that you have signed up for access to BMJ Learning; and

(vii) In the case of registered GP’s in New Zealand who are official members of the Royal New Zealand College of GP’s, whilst we have an agreement with them, details of modules you have passed.

5. How personal information stored and protected

Your personal data is stored in our databases or those of our contractors which is only available to the web administrators of us and our contractors and selected authorised people on a password protected basis (except where referred to in the final paragraph of Clause 1.3 herein). The data that we collect from you may be transferred to and stored at a destination outside of the European Economic Area (“EEA”). It may also be processed by staff operating outside of the EEA who work for us or are of our suppliers. Such staff may be engaged in among other things, hosting the fulfilment of your order, processing of your payment details and the provision of support services by submitting your personal data, you agree to this transfer, storing or process. We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely by us and our contractors and in accordance with this privacy policy. Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. Please do not share your password(s) with anyone.

5.1 Security

We understand that the security of your information is important to you. We also understand that our continued success as a publisher on the web relies on our ability to communicate with you in a secure manner. We adhere to the highest standards of decency, fairness, and integrity in our operations. We use several measures to authenticate your identity when you visit our site. We also take steps to protect your information as it travels the internet, and to make sure all information is as secure as possible against unauthorised access and use (for example, by hackers). We review our security measures regularly.

Despite our best efforts, and the best efforts of other firms, "perfect security" does not exist on the internet, or anywhere else. 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.

5.2 Authentication

You should not share your user name and password with other people. If you think you might lose or forget these identifiers, write them down and keep each in a separate place.

5.3 Email

Any email between you and the BMJ Group is not encrypted. It will be stored securely within our corporate firewall (see below).

5.4 Data within our walls

The information we collect about people visiting the site is stored in secure environments that are not available to any other individual or party. We have mechanisms in place to protect data. One such mechanism is called a "firewall." A firewall is a barrier that allows only authorised traffic through. It safeguards our computer systems and your information. We also use system and application logs to track all access. We review these logs periodically and investigate any anomalies or discrepancies.

6. Contact us

Please contact us if any of the data we hold about you becomes inaccurate and if you have any queries or concerns about the data we are holding about you. Also we welcome your feedback about what you like or don't like about our sites. Your feedback is stored on a secure internal system that allows the appropriate person to respond to you. Please contact us through our Contact us section.

7. Linking to external sites

Occasionally, you will encounter links to other sites that are not related to the BMJ Group. Please be aware that once you click to one of these sites, you are subject to that site's privacy policy and not to ours. You may wish to review the privacy policy for each site you visit.

8. Your consent

By submitting your information, you consent to the use of that information as set out in this policy. You should review this policy regularly, to note any changes as to how we collect and use personal information.

Thank you for reviewing this information.

If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail through our Contact us section.

Last updated December 2008