Privacy policy

Last updated on February 28, 2023

For you to submit records to the SMASS Beach Track project we will need to collect some details about you and be able to track your location to monitor the area you are surveying. You must confirm your acceptance of certain elements of this privacy policy to enable us to collect the required data and for you to contribute data to this project. This privacy policy sets out how Beach Track uses and protects any information that you give us, and who has access to it. Please read this policy carefully, and any other documents referred to in this policy, to understand how we collect, use and store your personal information.

Data Protection

We will not sell, disclose, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties, other than in the ways described within this privacy policy, unless we have obtained your consent or are required by law to do so.

We always strive to provide a transparent and honest approach regarding how and when we may collect and use your personal data. The overview below summarises the data we collect and how it will be utilised.

What data will be collected?

To be able to contribute data to this project you will need to set up an account via email or login using an existing Facebook or Google account. If using email you will be asked for your name and email address. Your provided name will be used to credit any records you submit and will be visible to people looking at the project data via the website and app in features such as leaderboards and record summaries. If using Facebook or Google, these systems pass us the name and email you set for use within these applications. We do not receive any other information from these accounts and do not receive or store a password for them.

When reporting an ad hoc stranding, you will be asked to provide information about the location of the stranding. The app will automatically log the current date, time and GPS location.*

When recording a track, the app will also track your location, which it does by capturing your position at certain intervals using the GPS built in to your device. Once you fully close the app, the app will cease tracking your location.

Your device ID (UUID) is submitted to a 3rd Party system called Fabric for the purposes of determining the causes of crashes and to assess usage statistics. No other personal data is collected and the data is deleted 90 days after being submitted. For more details view

What we do with the information we gather:

SMASS will analyse the data submitted through Beach Track to more efficiently locate stranded marine wildlife and also assess the state of the beaches around the Scottish coast. The findings may be presented in many different outputs, which include but are not limited to; the Beach Track website and app, scientific journals, reports and publications, public presentations, strandings updates, press releases, blog posts, magazine articles and social media posts.

SMASS will process information collected via Beach Track for the following main reasons:

  • To validate strandings
  • Ask if you are willing to share photos where you indicated you took them
  • Contact you with information and updates about the project and related projects
  • External project reporting where required
  • To validate your account and to respond to password reset requests
  • Thank you communications
  • Maintaining “Do not contact lists” (suppression lists)
  • Processing for historical, scientific or statistical purposes

In extreme situations, we may share your personal details with the emergency services if our employees believe it is in your ‘vital interests’ to do so. We may also share your personal information where we are compelled by law to do so.

Data Retention

We keep your email address and name on our records indefinitely. This will be used to help us better understand and conserve the local marine wildlife on the coast of Scotland.

Data Sharing

Personal Data

Key information about your stranding (location, date, time, species, number of animals and so on) will feed into the Beach Track website and app where it will be displayed on a map as well as in a table. Your name will be displayed against your strandings to acknowledge you as the contributor. Please make sure you choose a suitable username if you wish to submit strandings anonymously.

The data you submit through Beach Track will be stored in a secure online database called Indicia, which is operated by the Biological Records Centre (BRC) as part of the work of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

Your email address will not be displayed anywhere on the site and these details will not be shared with anyone else, other than in the ways described within this privacy policy.

There are legitimate situations where we may have to share your personal information with other organisations. An example could be where we are using an external service provided via a mailing services provider. In these situations, the relationship between SMASS and the third party data processor will be governed by a contract and strict security requirements will be in place to protect your personal information.

Strandings Data

Some of the data you collect will be shared with the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), who gather biodiversity information from across the UK. The records shared will consist of your name, location, the species you reported and the date you submitted the record. These records will be available to other organisations, such as charities or government bodies with an interest in biodiversity or conservation as well as members of the general public.

Some of the data you collect will also be shared with other carefully selected data partners which includes other charities (i.e. Sea Watch Foundation), research organisations and government funded bodies (i.e. SNH). We will not share your personal information (name and email address) with these organisations and will only ever provide your username when an acknowledgement to the data recorder is required.

Sharing records with the NBN and our selected data partners is important, because it will help build a long-term picture of UK cetacean populations and distributions, which is used by scientists and government bodies to inform conservation policies.

SMASS will not exchange or sell your personal information to another organisation for their own marketing purposes.