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Privacy and cookies


Who we are

The Geological Society of London (‘GSL’) (‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘our’) gathers and processes your personal information in accordance with this privacy notice and in compliance with the relevant data protection Regulation and laws. This notice provides you with the necessary information regarding your rights and our obligations, and explains how, why and when we process your personal data.

The Geological Society of London’s registered office is at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BG and we are a registered Charity in England and Wales under number 210161. We are registered on the Information Commissioner's Office Register registration number Z6454263, and act as the data controller. Our designated Data Protection Officer can be contacted via the following methods:


Tel: 020 7434 9944

Post: Data Protection Officer, The Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BG

Information that we collect

GSL processes your personal information to meet its legal, statutory and contractual obligations and to provide you with our products and services. The GSL will never collect any unnecessary personal data from you and will not process your information in any way, other than as specified in this notice.

The personal data that we collect from you is:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Business/institute address
  • Personal email
  • Business email
  • Home telephone number
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Special category data (i.e. health/medical information, details about religion and gender, diversity, etc.)
  • Bank card details (to process payments for membership or Library services, for example)
  • Photos in some instances (for publication in journals and our website, for example)
  • Signature (on paper forms such as Fellowship application forms)
  • Status/qualifications/academic history
  • CCTV footage on visiting our premises

We collect information in the below ways:

  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Post
  • Online forms
  • Paper forms
  • Excel and Word documents
  • PDF documents (scans)

How the GSL uses your personal data (legal basis for processing)

GSL takes your privacy very seriously and will never disclose, share or sell your data without your consent; unless required to do so by law. The GSL only retains your data for as long as is necessary and for the purposes specified in this notice. Where you have consented to the GSL providing you with promotional offers and marketing, you are free to withdraw this consent at any time.

The purposes and reasons for processing your personal data are detailed below:

  • The GSL may collect your personal data in the performance of a contract or to provide a service and to ensure that orders are completed and can be sent out to your preferred address
  • The GSL may collect and store your personal data as part of our legal obligation for business accounting and tax purposes
  • The GSL may occasionally send you marketing information where it is assessed it would be beneficial to you as a customer and in our interests. Such information will be non-intrusive and is processed on the grounds of legitimate interests
  • The GSL may collect, store and archive some personal data to perform a task in the public interest or for its official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

Your rights

You have the right to access any personal information that GSL processes about you and to request information about:

  • What personal data the GSL holds about you
  • The purposes of the processing
  • The categories of personal data concerned
  • The recipients to whom the personal data has/will be disclosed
  • How long the GSL intends to store your personal data for
  • If the GSL did not collect the data directly from you, information about the source

If you believe that the GSL holds any incomplete or inaccurate data about you, you have the right to ask us to correct and/or complete the information. The GSL will strive to update/correct it as quickly as possible unless there is a valid reason for not doing so, at which point you will be notified.

You also have the right to request erasure of your personal data or to restrict processing (where applicable) in accordance with data protection laws, as well as to object to any direct marketing from us, to exercise your data portability rights and to be informed about any automated decision-making we may use.

If the GSL receives a request from you to exercise any of the above rights, it may ask you to verify your identity before acting on the request; this is to ensure that your data is protected and kept secure.

Sharing and disclosing your personal information

The GSL will not share or disclose any of your personal information without your consent, other than for the purposes specified in this notice or where there is a legal requirement. GSL uses third-parties so that it can provide you with the various services and products that it offers. All processors acting on our behalf only process your data in accordance with instructions from the GSL and comply fully with this privacy notice, the data protection laws and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

Safeguarding measures

GSL takes your privacy seriously and takes every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure your personal data. It works hard to protect you and your information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and has programs in place to deploy several layers of security measures, including:

  • Encryption of devices such as but not limited to USB Sticks and Flash Drives.
  • Regular staff training.
  • Anonymisation of sensitive data.
  • Data retained for only as long as is necessary.
  • We are certified by the Government’s “Cyber Essentials” scheme to help us avoid cyber-attacks and other IT related security risks.
  • Antivirus measures on IT hardware.

Transfers outside the EU (if applicable)

Personal data in the European Union is protected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but some other countries may not necessarily have the same high standard of protection for your personal data.

The Society utilises some products or services (or parts of them) that may be hosted/stored in the U.S.A., which means that we may transfer any information which is submitted by you through the website outside the European Economic Area ("EEA") for the purposes below:

  • Management of its email system
  • Storage of your data on our database server
  • Third party service providers (see above under “Sharing and disclosing your personal information”)

Consequences of not providing your data

You are not obligated to provide your personal information to GSL. However, as this information is required for us to provide you with our services/deliver your products/legitimate interests, the GSL will not be able to offer some/all of our products or services without it.

Legitimate interests

As noted in the ‘How we use your personal data’ section of this notice, the GSL occasionally processes your personal information under the ‘legitimate interests’ legal basis. Where this is the case, the GSL will have carried out a Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA) to ensure your interests have been considered and any risk posed to you against our own and that such interests are proportionate and appropriate.

The GSL uses the legitimate interests’ legal basis for processing the type of data listed below and has identified our interests as detailed below:

  • Email and other addresses for communicating with our members for the purposes of administering their membership with GSL.
  • Email addresses and telephone numbers to communicate with individuals who raise an enquiry with the library at GSL. Individuals would reasonably expect GSL to use their data for this purpose as, without it, the library could not communicate with the individual regarding their enquiry or search results.
  • Use of email and other addresses to send newsletters and marketing material to members and other individuals who have recently interacted with GSL or used GSL’s services on the basis that these categories of individuals would reasonably expect to receive this type of material. This may include fundraising requests for support.  Any individual is able to object to receiving such material through the use of the unsubscribe facility contained in each email communication.
  • Sending emails to members of the geological community to invite such individuals to contribute to material GSL publishes or intends to publish. This is on the basis those individuals are happy to contribute to a community they are associated with and wish to further their own reputation within the field of geology. No individual is obliged to respond and can object to the processing of their data at any time.
  • Processing of personal data on job applications GSL receives from time to time. This is to enable GSL to determine whether a candidate is appropriate for any employment position at GSL and to be able to contact the candidate for interview and offer of employment purposes. Job applications of unsuccessful applicants are stored for a minimal period before destruction or deletion from our records/systems.
  • Individual names of attendees at conferences organised by GSL or held at GSL’s premises are used to create a list of delegates. This is to enable name badges to be printed in advance, special dietary requirements to be noted and acted upon, enable all attendees to be aware of who is in attendance and also for safety purposes in the event of evacuation of the building.
  • Email addresses and telephone numbers of teachers and professional geologists for the provision of education to schools. This follows an approach to GSL by a teacher or professional geologist who expresses a desire to help schools deliver geology based education.

How long we keep your data

GSL only ever retains personal information for as long as is necessary and has strict review and retention policies in place to meet these obligations. For example, we are required under UK tax law to keep your basic personal data (name, address, contact details) for a minimum of 6 years after which time it will be destroyed.

Where you have consented to us using your details for direct marketing, we will keep such data until you notify us otherwise and/or withdraw your consent.

Special categories data

Owing to the products or services that it offers, on rare occasions the GSL will need to process sensitive personal information (known as special category data) from you. For example, we may need to know your dietary requirements for when you attend a function organised by GSL. Where we collect such information, we will only request and process the minimum necessary for the specified purpose and identify a compliant legal basis for doing so. Where we rely on your consent for processing special category data, we will obtain your explicit consent through a signature or other explicit mechanism. You can modify or withdraw consent at any time, which we will act on immediately, unless there is a legitimate or legal reason for not doing so.


Legitimate interests example

The GSL will occasionally send you communications regarding our products, services or promotions by email, SMS or post that have been identified as being beneficial to our customers/ subscribers and in our interests. Such information will be relevant to you as a customer/subscribers and you will always have the option to unsubscribe at any time.

If you would prefer not to receive above-mentioned marketing and offers, please unsubscribe from marketing.


If Legitimate Interests is not the appropriate way to contact you, GSL would like to contact you with regarding our products, services or promotions that we provide, but using your consent. If you consent to us using your contact details for these purposes, you have the right to modify or withdraw your consent at any time by using the opt-out/unsubscribe options or by contacting GSL directly.

In these circumstances, we only contact you if you have already given your specific consent. At that point we will ask you how you want to be contacted i.e. by post, email, telephone or text.

If, however, you wish to opt-out of marketing, please unsubscribe from marketing.

Lodging a complaint

The GSL processes your personal information in compliance with this privacy notice and in accordance with the relevant data protection laws. If, however you wish to raise a complaint regarding the processing of your personal data or are unsatisfied with how we have handled your information, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority.

GSL contact


Tel: 020 7434 9944

Post: Data Protection Officer, The Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BG

ICO contact


Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745

Post: Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

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