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Information Compliance


1. Who is this webpage for?

As a higher education institution, the University uses large amounts of personal information relating to third party individuals for academic and research purposes – that is, to deliver our teaching and examination activities and to carry out various types of research and academic expression. This personal information is often taken from the public domain, as explained below. Such third party individuals include authors/creators, academic writers in all disciplines, public figures like politicians, and other individuals whose details feature in literary/journalistic publications or in published/reported legal cases.

This webpage is not aimed at individuals who are participating in particular research projects run by academic researchers at the University, or at members of the general public whose personal information may be included within systematic assembled datasets derived from information in the public domain (e.g. from social media websites) and used by University researchers in scientific research projects of various types.  In such cases, the relevant research team will generally supply the participants directly with study-specific information in connection with their involvement or will publish study-specific information separately from this webpage.

2. Who will process my personal information?

The information published here applies to the use of your personal information by the University of Cambridge (, including its Departments, Institutes and Research Centres/Units.

3. What personal information will be processed?

The personal information used for academic and research purposes in theory could encompass anything at all about you, including the opinions of our academics, students and others about your life, work and activities. It may include some information that is classed as your ‘sensitive’ or ‘special category’ personal data, such as your political opinions or religious/philosophical beliefs, or information about your health or criminal offences you have committed. The sources of this information are wide-ranging and worldwide, but typically include published works, archives and official registers, and the internet. We may share this personal information with others (such as other educational institutions), including third parties based across the world, and such information may be published in academic, journalistic or literary works in various formats. We do not generally carry out any solely automated decision-making that significantly affects you when using your personal data for academic and research purposes.

4. What is the purpose and legal basis of the processing?

In general terms, we use your personal information in pursuit of our public interest task, and the University’s mission, to deliver world-class teaching to our students, to further freedom of academic expression, and to contribute to research in the public interest.  Such processing may include both your ordinary and your sensitive personal data (see above). In many cases the sensitive personal data we use for these purposes is in the public domain as a result of steps you yourself have taken (e.g. by speaking or writing publicly about your political opinions or religious/philosophical beliefs).

5. How can I access my personal information?

Various rights under data protection legislation, including the right to access personal information that is held about you, are qualified or do not apply when personal information is processed solely in the contexts described above. This is because fulfilling them might adversely affect the integrity of, and/or the public benefits arising from, the academic work we do.

Nonetheless, the full list of (qualified or inapplicable) rights is: the right to access the personal information that is held about you by the University (further details are published at, the right to ask us to correct any inaccurate personal information we hold about you, to delete personal information, or otherwise restrict our processing, or to object to processing (including the receipt of direct marketing) or to receive an electronic copy of the personal information you provided to us.

If you have any questions regarding your rights in this context, please use the contact details below.

6. How long is my information kept?

The personal data will generally be kept as long as it is reasonably considered required for our academic and research purposes.  Given the ongoing nature of our academic activities (and their furtherance of freedom of expression), this may be indefinite (including in relation to publications).

General information about how long different types of information are retained by the University, including in relation to some of our academic activities, is published at

7. Who can I contact?

If you have any general questions about how your personal information is used by the University, or wish to exercise any of your rights, please consult the University’s data protection webpages at If you need further assistance, please contact the University’s data protection team ( or its Data Protection Officer (

8. How do I complain?

If you are not happy with the way your information is being handled, or with the response received from us, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF (

9. Are changes made to this webpage?

This webpage was last updated in September 2019. It is reviewed when necessary and at least annually. Any changes will be published here.