Site documentation

Visitors to our Website Privacy Notice and Use of Cookies Policy

1. About this Privacy Notice

This statement explains what information we gather when you visit our website and lets you know how this information is used and protected.

Please read this notice alongside our overarching privacy notice.

It is important that you read and retain this notice, together with any other privacy notice we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal data about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information and what your rights are under the data protection legislation.

The University of Essex is the controller for the purpose of data protection law, in respect of your personal information collected and used when you visit our website.

Our web pages link to external websites: the University has no responsibility for privacy or other legal issues relating to these external sites.

2. What type of information we collect about you

We will collect the following personal information:

  • Your IP address
  • Login details
  • Pages you looked at
  • Duration of your visit
  • Details about your web browser
  • Details about the files requested
  • Date and time of requests for each file requested
  • The referring page, if any, from which you may have followed a hyperlink
  • Search terms and search results
  • Your unique ID which is given to each visitor, and the expiration date of the ID
  • The domain from which your request originated

Specialist applications, including the MyEssex portals and e-learning tools, such as Moodle, Perception and OCS gather user data specific to their intended purpose. Data gathered by these applications includes user identifiers, tracking information, user contributions (e.g. on discussion forums, submitted essay content and assessment answers).

3. Why we use your data – and our legal basis for doing so

The purpose for collecting and processing data is to maintain and monitor the performance of our website, and to look to improve the services we offer you.

We use this information to bring you the best content and experience on our website. If you do not provide us with the required personal data, we will try to provide you with the best service, but you may not be able to access all the functionality of the website.

Data relating to web server requests are used for completion of the current activity (e.g. a request to view a web page), and are subsequently stored in log files, which are later processed to provide statistical information about, for example, usage, load on servers, traffic patterns, troubleshooting, and incident investigation.

These data are also recorded by Google Analytics which is used by the University to report on web traffic on its sites. Analysis of web usage may be used for: systems and performance monitoring; research; marketing (e.g. analysis of demographic information and user behaviour). Information gathered by specialist applications such as e-learning tools and portals will be used to support the function and management of those applications. Information gathered will not be used to contact users, except where consent has been explicitly given or where security incidents are under investigation.

4. Legal basis for processing your data

Purpose Legal Basis
Optional cookies Consent
In order to maintain the integrity of our IT systems and the continuity of our business. Legitimate interests. We need to process your personal data for our legitimate interest of maintaining security of our systems and services and improving the services we offer.

5. Where the data we hold comes from

It is standard practice for web servers to collect data automatically about all requests for files (web pages, images, etc).

5.1 Personalisation

We use cookies to personalise content for you.

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to.

What we use personalisation for:

  • To personalise the content you see on the website so that it is more relevant to you based on your profile or interests
  • To display our website in a tailored way, for example, show you course or subject specific content we think you might like
  • To enable you to share our content with others using social media or email
  • To communicate (and personalise such communication) with you through our newsletters, (but only those you have consented to receive)
  • to improve the design and style of the website
  • To inform you about courses, services or promotional offers that you might find interesting, if you have chosen to receive that type of communication
  • For interface personalisation, such as language, or any user-interface customisation (e.g., parameters attached to your device including your screen resolution or font preference)

We use functional cookies to enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalisation. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

5.2 What about cookies and how can I remove/control them?

Cookies are small text files stored on your computer. They relate to a specific site, and can be used to enhance that site's functionality and your interaction with it; they may also be used for usage tracking, research, targeting, etc.

You can control the use of cookies on your computer by adjusting your web browser preferences, choosing to allow them, block them, only allow them from selected sites or only allow certain types of cookies. Restricting cookies for a site may interfere with some of the functionality of that site. Cookies that are necessary for functionality, security and accessibility are set and are not deleted by the tool.

Details of the cookies we use are available here: Cookies on the University website.

5.3 Google AdWords remarketing

We use the Google AdWords remarketing service to advertise on third party websites (including Google) to previous visitors to our site. This could mean that we advertise to you if you haven't completed a task on our site, for example, if you look at course details but do not make an application. You may see a related advertisement on your Google search results page, or a site in the Google Display Network. Third-party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on your past visits to our website.

You can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Preferences page. If you want, you can opt out of interest-based advertising entirely using your cookie settings or a browser plugin.

5.4 Google Analytics

We use a third-party product, 'Google Analytics', to help us understand how our site is used. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to different parts of the website. This is to help us make continuous improvements of the website’s performance.

For this to work, cookies are used and information about your use of our site, including your IP address, may be transmitted to, and stored by, Google. This information is subject to Google's Privacy Policy. As with other cookies, you can control the use of cookies on your computer by adjusting your web browser preferences. Google also provides a browser plug-in which allows you to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites.

If you visit our pages, your data will be recorded by Google Analytics and used for reporting. If you do not visit the website again within the next 26 months, your data will be deleted.

If you visit our pages via a proxy server, some of the logged data will be obscured; for instance, the IP address collected will be that of the proxy server rather than that of your computer.

5.5 Hotjar

We use Hotjar in order to better understand our users’ needs and to optimise this service and experience. Hotjar is a technology service that helps us better understand our users experience (e.g., how much time they spend on which pages, which links they choose to click, what users do and don’t like, etc.) and this enables us to build and maintain our service with user feedback. Hotjar uses cookies and other technologies to collect data on our users’ behaviour and their devices (in particular devices’ IP addresses (captured and stored only in anonymised form), device screen size, device type (unique device identifiers), browser information, geographic location (country only), preferred language used to display our website). Hotjar stores this information in a pseudonymised user profile. Neither Hotjar nor we will ever use this information to identify individual users or to match it with further data on an individual user. For further details, please see Hotjar’s privacy policy. You can opt-out of: the creation of a user profile; Hotjar’s storing of data about your usage of our site; and Hotjar’s use of tracking cookies on other websites by following this opt-out link.

5.6 Click Dimensions tracking

We use a tracking script on our website so that we can see the behaviours of our users who complete some of our forms, such as our Prospectus Request form, Open Day form and enquiry forms, or who enter the website by clicking on a link from an email sent by the University. This allows us to see which pages have been clicked on, how long a user spent on a certain page, and how they got to our website. When a user completes our form and accepts the terms and conditions saying they are happy for their data to be recorded, this is passed into our database and allows us to tailor our emails better for our users, and ensure you only receive the things you really want to receive.

5.7 Live chat

We use live chat software on our website; this is provided by Click4Assistance, a 3rd party UK based Software Company.

6. Who we share your data with

In addition to the services we use above, we may share your data for the following purposes:

  • Log files and other data may be analysed by the University's external support providers when investigating faults and other technical issues relating to webserver performance.
  • Many University of Essex web pages include tracking code which allows Google Analytics to record usage and traffic information. These data are held on Google servers, are used for reporting and analysis by the University and a limited number of external consultants; they are not shared with any other parties. They are not used to identify individuals.
  • Data entered by the user for online ordering of certain goods and services are passed to our credit card-processing partner Netbanx together with a unique transaction number when required for the purpose of processing online orders and payments. Such data are also stored by the University in accordance with Data Protection law. University web pages do not gather details of your credit or debit card.
  • Data may be passed to the police and other authorities where required in the investigation of illegal activities and security breaches.

Where data is passed to third parties, it is done so in compliance with Data Protection law.

Anonymised usage data may be provided in publicly-available web statistics; any such data cannot be traced to individual users.

7. Where we keep your data and how long we keep it for

We have retention schedules that set out how long we keep information of all types. If we have to transfer any of your personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA) we ensure the receiving country or organisation is deemed to have adequate data protection provision. Where a country or organisation does not have adequate protections we will put safeguards in place. Details of these safeguards can be provided to you upon request.

8. Changes to this Privacy Notice

This privacy notice was published on 15 March 2022. We may change this privacy notice from time to time.

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Get in touch
Data Protection Officer For any enquiries relating to Data Protection or our privacy policy please email us.