Privacy at the OU

This page describes how we use your personal data, and how we use cookies on the OU websites.

Personal data

When you first contact us or register with us, we will create a record in your name. We will add information to this record whenever you contact us, in order to deal with your request and to provide you with appropriate services.

The Open University is the data controller for this personal data.

You can find out more about what we do with your personal data in the relevant privacy notice. Our main privacy notices are detailed further below.

Your Rights

You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information. In order to exercise any of these rights, please contact us using the details below.

You have the right to:

  • access the personal information that we hold about you
  • correct inaccuracies in the personal information that we hold about you
  • request that we stop sending you direct marketing communications

In certain circumstances, you have the right to

  • have your details removed from systems that we use to process your personal data
  • restrict the processing of your personal data in certain ways
  • obtain a copy of your personal data in a structured electronic data file
  • object to certain processing of your personal data by us
  • request human review of an automated decision

If you are concerned about the way we have processed your personal information, you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Please visit the ICO's website for further details.

Data Protection for Staff

The Open University needs to collect and process personal data in order to carry out our duties as an employer. This document sets out how we use your personal data.

Staff, Workers and Applicants Privacy Notice

Enquirers and registered users

For more information about how we use your information as an enquirer or as a registered website user, please see our

Enquirer and website privacy notice summary

Enquirer and website privacy notice

Corporate Enquirers and website users

Centre for Policing Research and Learning and Department of Policing Organisation and Practice privacy notice

If you use OpenLearn or OpenLearn Create, please see their specific privacy notices:

OpenLearn's privacy statement

OpenLearn Create


If you have registered as an OU student, we will collect and use more information about you in connection with your study, and we will keep long term academic transcript data.

Student privacy notice

Publicity privacy notice

Postgraduate Research Student Privacy Notice

Supplementary student privacy notices

Apprenticeship privacy notice

Nursing privacy notice

Social Work privacy notice

YASS privacy notice

Student privacy notice - non medical prescribing and advanced clinical practice qualifications

PGCE privacy notice (Wales)

Hysbysiad Preifatrwydd TAR (Cymru)


Our Development Office maintains records on OU alumni (students who have completed an OU qualification), supporters of the University, and individuals who have been identified as a potential supporter of the Open University.

Alumni and supporters privacy notice

External organisations

To manage our relationships with external organisations we are required to maintain a variety of records.

Government and External Affairs privacy notice

Mobile Applications (apps)

Some of our apps utilise personal information for functionality purposes. As per the iOS and Android app publishing guidelines, each one has an individual privacy policy.

AMI Sports: Golf

OU Anywhere

OU Study

Contact us

Please direct any queries about this policy or about the way we process your personal information to our Data Protection Officer using the contact details below.

You can update your contact preferences when you sign into the Open University website, by using any unsubscribe options available in communications we send you, or by contacting us.

Cookies and similar technology

Tracking and analytics

Some parts of The Open University website store a cookie on your computer to track user traffic patterns. We do this in order to determine the usefulness of our website and to see how effective our navigational structure is. We do not release this information to third parties.

When you browse our websites, we also collect and use IP addresses and device identifiers to identify the location of users, to block disruptive use, to establish the number of visits from different countries, and to determine whether you are accessing the services from the UK or not.

If you register to use our website, we will store some of your website activity when you are signed in as part of your record


On Open University owned and operated sites as well as unaffiliated sites and internet based applications, we might display interest-based advertising using information you make available to us when you interact with our sites, content, or services. Interest-based ads, also sometimes referred to as personalised or targeted ads, are displayed to you based on information from activities such as completing a web-form on our sites, use of apps or software, or by visiting unaffiliated sites that contain Open University content or ads.

Like other online advertisers, we use cookies, web beacons (also known as action tags or single-pixel gifs), and other technologies (collectively, "cookies"). Cookies enable us to learn about what content and ads you interact with. This allows us to provide you with more useful and relevant ads. For example, if we know what ads you are shown we can be careful not to show you the same ones repeatedly.

Third party applications may also use cookies to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and to personalise content. We do not have access to or control over cookies or other features that those applications and third party sites may use, and the information practices of these advertisers and third party websites are not covered by this Privacy Notice or our Cookies information page. Please contact them directly for more information about their privacy practices.

We do not associate your interaction with unaffiliated or third party sites/applications with your identity in providing you with interest-based ads.

How to turn off cookies

If you prefer not to receive cookies while browsing our website, you can set your browser to refuse all cookies that are stored on your computer. You do not need to have cookies turned on to use or navigate through many parts of our website.

If you are a registered user of the University and wish to sign in to password protected websites you will need to allow "per-session" cookies. These are only stored on your computer for the duration of your visit and are deleted when you close your browser or sign out of The Open University website.

For more detailed information see Cookie use on the OU website.


We take security very seriously. All staff are made aware of the security procedures they must follow when handling personal information. Data is protected from unauthorised access and we are confident no-one will be able to access your personal information unlawfully.

We also protect data being transferred. As long as your web browser supports the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), any personal data transmitted from your browser to our web service, or from the service to your browser, will be encrypted.

Please note that email is never a 100% secure way of communicating. By using it, you agree that you will send any information by email at your own risk.


The Open University is under a statutory duty to have regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. If the use of OU computer equipment, information and systems gives rise to a concern that a person may be at risk, this may result in action being taken in accordance with the OU Prevent Strategy.

Links to third party websites

While we will take all reasonable precautions to make sure that other organisations who we deal with have good security practices, we are not responsible for the privacy practices of those organisations whose websites may be linked to our service.

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