Data Protection and Terms of Use

Data protection regulations (GDPR) require NatureSpot to explain what personal data we hold and why. It also requires every registered user to give their consent for us to hold and use their personal data. This Data Protection and Terms of Use document provides more information in line with the regulations.

All new and existing registered users of the NatureSpot website and its associated app must agree to these revised terms to continue using the site. If you are an existing NatureSpot member then you will have agreed to Terms of Use previously, but any amendment, whether major or minor, requires your renewed agreement. If you have any questions or concerns then please contact us at

Data Protection and Terms of Use

This document explains what data we collect and why. We want you to know that we will take great care of any data you provide to NatureSpot. These Terms also explain some general requirements for all those who register with NatureSpot and use the website.

NatureSpot is a registered charity and this site, and all material contributed to it, will only be used to support its educational and charitable objectives.

By using the NatureSpot website, you agree to these Terms of Use. We may need to change these Terms of Use from time to time in which case you will be asked if you agree to these changes. If you disagree with the Terms then you cannot submit records or contribute to the website.

Your photos, content and information

When you use the NatureSpot web site or its associated app, you create and upload content – for instance, wildlife observations, photos of nature, your descriptions of it, and messages to the forums. By putting this information on the site, you are saying that:
(a) the content is yours, or you have the permission of the owner to agree to this usage.
(b) you agree for us to use it on the site and for any other educational and non-commercial use which NatureSpot agrees to. NatureSpot may allow organisations such as charities and conservation bodies or academics to use this material but only for educational and non-commercial purposes. In legal terms, you are granting us a non-exclusive licence to the material.

(c) your submitted records, images and text can be shared, at NatureSpot's discretion, with local and national recording schemes, conservation organisations and landowners.

Your personal information

When you register with NatureSpot you are asked to provide your full name, email address and postal address. This is to ensure that your records have full provenance as to their source. Your full name is attached to your record data but not your email or postal address. Your records together with your full name may be viewed on the website's 'Explore' pages and with any published images. We will not make your email, postal or IP address available to anyone outside the team operating the site, unless required to by law.

You may also upload to the website information about your images, wildlife observations or forum posts. This information is potentially available to everyone who uses the site. By putting such information on the site, you agree to it being available in this way.

You can change or delete your personal information at any time, by editing your My Account page. Your full name will remain a key part of any record data that you have submitted but your postal address and email will be deleted should you request this.

Accounts that have been requested and accepted but never used will be deleted, at least annually.

Your IP address, a numeric code which identifies the computer you use to access the site, may also be stored in order to track usage of the site and to monitor abuse of the site. No other personal data is captured or stored with the IP address.

Some images uploaded to NatureSpot's website include EXIF data, such as the make and model of camera, exposure, f-stop etc. This data is retained as image metadata.

We use Google Analytics on the site, which captures information about the use of the site, to help us monitor and improve it. None of the information captured by Google Analytics is personally-identifiable information - i.e., nothing that can identify you as an individual is stored.

We also use Google's reCAPTCHA to help ensure only genuine people register on NatureSpot. You acknowledge and understand that the reCAPTCHA API works by collecting hardware and software information, such as device and application data, and sending these data to Google for analysis. The information collected in connection with your use of the service will be used for improving reCAPTCHA and for general security purposes. It will not be used for personalised advertising by Google.

In the event of personal data held by NatureSpot being accidentally lost or destroyed, corrupted or disclosed, or if someone accesses data or passes it on without proper authorisation, or if data is made unavailable, for example, if it has been encrypted by ransomware, the Trustees will take steps to address the security breach. In the event of a risk to people’s rights and freedoms the Trustees will notify the ICO.

NatureSpot's lawful bases

NatureSpot is contributing to research into the distribution and population of biological species in the UK through work with the Biological Record Centre and the National Biodiversity Network and the various other individuals and bodies that use the records. This is a public task. In order to collect valid biological records we need to have the name and contact details of the recorder. ‘Public task’ is the primary lawful basis for NatureSpot processing the personal data of recorders.

Users of the NatureSpot website or app must give their consent when registering or when requested to do so following a change in these terms.  If you wish to post messages on the Forum or to submit records, you must register.  You must provide a valid email address to enable NatureSpot, its volunteers and its partners to communicate with you. ‘Consent’ is the secondary lawful basis for NatureSpot processing the personal data of recorders.

Contacting you

We will only contact you by email and will only email you when we need to inform you about the site or the records, images and comments you have submitted.

You may be contacted by email when there is a query relating to a record that you have submitted. This may include email contact by NatureSpot verifiers. We may also occasionally contact you if there is an urgent or important message about the website which we think you should know.

You can choose the level of feedback on your record submissions that you would like to receive by visiting your 'My Account' page and choosing the Email Notification settings you would like. These can be amended by you at any time.

We will never pass your email on to anyone for marketing purposes.

Privacy and safety

We want the NatureSpot web site to be an open and safe place. We want the site to be a safe and enjoyable place for people of all ages, including children. If you are under 16, you should have a parent's or guardian's permission to use the site, and talk to them about staying safe online.

If you see anything on the site that contravenes these Terms or you believe is inappropriate, please contact us.

We strongly suggest that you do not post any information, other than at registration, that would enable you to be contacted personally, such as your home address, telephone number (landline or mobile) or email address. If you are under 16, you may not post this information to the site at all.

Acceptable use and behaviour

People learn best when they feel secure and supported. We want the site to feel like that. So please make every effort you can to be friendly and to help and support other people on the site. If you see people being less than helpful, encourage them gently to help out.

There are some things, however, that are not acceptable on the NatureSpot web site. You may not use the site for any unlawful purpose, or to infringe the rights of others on the site. You may not use it to harass, distress, or inconvenience anyone. You may not post information that is abusive, defamatory, obscene, or otherwise offensive or objectionable. You may not use the site for advertising or for promotion without the specific agreement of NatureSpot.

If you see something on NatureSpot that is not acceptable, please report it to us.

Using information on the site

The rights in material uploaded by users to the site are owned by those users. You may use their material on the site but may not use it for any other purpose unless the owner of the material grants you that right.

For all other material, including the content and design of the site other than user-contributed material, all rights are owned or controlled for these purposes by NatureSpot. You may use this material on the site, but only for your own, personal, non-commercial use.

Our responsibility to you

We will do our best to continue to provide the site, to make sure that all users abide by these terms, and to make sure that the site is safe to use. However, we can't guarantee this.

In legal terms, we exclude any warranty, express or implied, as to the quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, performance, fitness for a particular purpose of the web site or any of its contents. We will not be liable for any damages (including without limitation damages for loss of profit, revenue or anticipated savings) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of or inability to use the web site or any of its contents or from any action taken (or refrained from being taken) as a result of using the web site or any such contents. We make no warranty that the contents of the web site are free from infection by viruses or anything else which has contaminating or destructive properties.