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Privacy Policy

Your continued use of the Genes Reunited Service constitutes your acceptance of this Genes Reunited Privacy Policy. At Genes Reunited, a company registered in England and Wales (Company Number 04804230) and the operator of the Genes Reunited website, we believe strongly in protecting the privacy of our Members' information. This is a legal document that sets out how Genes Reunited handles data which relates to you in accordance with applicable data protection and privacy laws. You should read it in conjunction with the Genes Reunited Terms and Conditions, of which this Privacy Policy forms part.

1. Emails from Genes Reunited

You are probably most interested in how we will use your email address to communicate with you, so here's our email promise, in plain English:

Service Emails. The team at Genes Reunited hate spam and will never ever send you unsolicited emails. But there are some emails that we will need to send you to provide you with a good Genes Reunited service. These include notifications that you have a message from another member, reminders about your membership expiring and guides on how to use the site. A full list of the types of emails you will receive to help you use the service most effectively (which we call Service Emails) are shown below:

  • Welcome emails - this series of emails provide all the information you need to get started on Genes Reunited.
  • Payment receipt - this is sent if you upgrade to Full Membership
  • Renewal notices - these remind you to renew your Full Membership
  • Automatic Full Membership renewal alerts - if you have selected automatic renewal of your Full Membership, we will alert before this happens
  • Key service messages - if we need to notify you about changes to the service
  • New message notification and reminders - when you receive messages from other Subscribed Members
  • Service suspension notices - if you break the house rules

As well as these Service Emails, you will also receive Hot Matches, Family Trumps and Weekly Updates emails, and (if you have opted to receive them) our occasional newsletters. These emails genuinely help you make the most of the website and let you know when there's new, fun and interesting stuff to do. Here's a bit more about them.

Hot Matches, Family Trumps and Weekly Updates Alerts. We automatically send you our Hot Matches, Family Trumps and Weekly Updates Alerts. They are an essential part of the Genes Reunited service because they i) tell you when people have been added to the site that may be your ancestors or relatives and ii) find matches who may be your ancestors in official records (e.g. 1901 Census) that are in the Records section on the site. The good thing about these emails is that they let you know when you should pop back to the site. Without them you would never know there was new stuff to read.

If at any time you decide you don't want to receive the Hot Matches, Family Trumps and Weekly Updates Alerts, all you need to do is uncheck the relevant box in your email preferences. You'll find this on the My Account page which can be accessed from a tab on your homepage once you're logged in. Instructions on this can be found at the bottom of every Hot Matches, Family Trumps and Weekly Updates Alert.

Newsletters. When registering, you are given the option to receive our occasional newsletters. We use these to notify you about new features on the site, ask your opinion, and tell you about services you might not be using yet.

We only send a newsletter when there is something worthwhile to tell you about, so your inbox will never be overflowing with guff from us. Generally you'll get a newsletter about once every month.

If you decide you no longer want to receive these newsletters - or if you aren't currently receiving it and want to - all you need to do is change your email preferences. You'll find this in the My Account area once you're logged in.

2. The information we gather and track

We always aim to gather only the information that we need in order to provide you with the service you have subscribed to.

Registration and other information. When you register for the Genes Reunited Service, you provide your name (including a previous name, where relevant), your email address, your gender, your year of birth and country of residence and some optional information about yourself such as place of birth. They are available to you, and capable of being changed, through the My Account page. We also receive information from you when you pay for a product, get in contact with us, and sometimes when you reply to a survey.

Information you choose to share. If you create content on the website, which may include uploading personal information in the My Account section or uploading family trees, photos, videos, comments and notes, we also receive that information. This may include personal information about you and other people (for example, details about other individuals in your family tree).

Information other members share about you. We may also receive information from other members, such as when they upload content relating to you or post comments in relation to your uploaded content.

Other information we receive about you.

  • Whenever you visit the website, we receive information about what you do during your visit, such as when you perform searches, click on advertisements or purchase products. We receive this information through cookies. You can find out more about our use of cookies below.
  • We also receive some information about the computer or other device you use to access your service, such as your IP address, the browser you use, your location, how big your screen is, or the pages you visit.
  • When you upload a photo or video, we may also receive additional information through metadata about where that photo or video was taken, such as the time, date and location.
  • We may also receive statistical information that does not personally identify you from our advertising partners who work with us to deliver more relevant, higher quality advertising to you on the website and to understand online activity.
  • We may also receive information from other websites, such as Facebook, when you log into the website using Facebook Platform. You can find out more about this under Sharing with other websites and applications below.

Sharing with other websites and applications.

Logging into the website using Facebook. You can log in to the website using the Facebook Platform. When you log in using Facebook, Facebook shares selective information with us, such as your gender, date of birth, name and location, but we do not share information we hold about you with Facebook through your use of this facility.

Sharing links on the website. By using the 'Share' links which may be available on the website, you can share links to certain content with non-members using Facebook, Twitter and email. The content will remain at all times on the website and only the link and other limited information will appear on Facebook and Twitter, or in the email. There are restrictions on the sharing of content that we provide to you on the website. You can find out more about these restrictions in our Terms and Conditions.

Our use of cookies.

Information gathered on registration. When you register for our service, you provide us with information such as your name and email address. We use cookies to store this login information. You can change these details through the My Account page. Please update your details with relevant changes as soon as possible to ensure we have the correct information for you on your account.

Cookies. We use small text files known as "cookies" to enhance your experience of our service as follows:

  • To hold your login information (mentioned above), so that you do not need to log in each time you visit the website, and your homepage is personalised. This option can be turned off by logging out, and unticking the "Keep me signed in" option when you next sign in;
  • To facilitate optimal use of our service by means of a temporary "session" cookie which helps you to navigate through the website and enhances your user experience. These cookies disappear when your browser session ends, or when you click the "Signout" link on the website homepage; and
  • To help us recognise you as a unique visitor by means of a "persistent" cookie when you return to our website and to allow us to tailor content or advertisements to match your preferred interests or to avoid showing you the same adverts and messages repeatedly.

Analytical cookies. We also use analytical cookies and similar analytical tools to compile anonymous, aggregated statistics that allow us to understand how users use our service and to help us improve the structure of our website. This is not personal data, and we cannot identify you in this way. These cookies allow us to understand who has seen which pages and advertisements on the website, to determine how frequently particular pages and advertisements are visited, to determine the most popular areas of the website, and generally to monitor usage of the website. We will also use aggregate non-personal data to track the success of any advertising campaigns on our website, to improve the effectiveness and suitability of advertising in communications sent by us and other companies in the Genes Reunited group and/or to provide to third parties anonymised, demographic data provided by you to target advertising more appropriately. We do not provide our advertising partners with information that identifies you as an individual.

Third party cookies. Some of the web analytics companies and advertisers used on the website may also place tracking cookies on your web browsers and/or computer. These cookies and embedded code are used for tracking the success of advertising campaigns. These cookies are normally permanent. Advertisers on our website and newsletters may also use cookies and similar analytical tools (both on our website and elsewhere) to monitor the success of the advertising, to control the frequency and repetition of advertisements and to ensure that advertising is relevant to individual users. This helps us to keep the website free of charge.

For members using or Telstra's digital advertising network is responsible for placing some of the advertising on this site. To make this advertising more relevant to you, anonymous information about the previous web browsing activity of your computer on sites within Telstra's network is collected and used to associate your computer with one or more pre-defined interest categories. Advertising that matches those interest categories may then be served to your computer. This interest based advertising does not change the amount of advertising you receive; it just makes it more relevant. You can learn more about the interest based advertising conducted by Telstra here. General information about interest based advertising is available from the industry website, and you can also opt out of some or all interest based advertising here.

Further information. Please contact our customer support service to request further details about individual cookies used on our website by us and by third parties.

Disabling cookies. Most internet browsers are automatically set up to accept cookies, but you can set your browser to refuse a cookie by changing your browser security settings, or you can ask your browser to show you where a cookie has been set up. You may also be asked to consent to the use of certain cookies upon entering or registering on our website. Certain features on our website are only activated by the presence of a cookie so, if you do not accept certain cookies, our website will not work properly. You can find out more on how to disable/enable cookies via the following link

3. Sharing and use of information

We use the information we receive about you through your use of the website, and of the services we provide to you on the website, for the purposes set out below (which are discussed in further detail throughout this Privacy Policy):

  • Managing the website (including your account);
  • Providing advanced website features to you;
  • Suggesting and providing relevant content to you on the website;
  • Understanding your needs to help us improve the website;
  • Improving search results;
  • Understanding website usage to help us improve our marketing or the way we do business;
  • Sending you emails and other communications (more details below).

You give us permission to use your information for the above purposes in relation to our current service, and also in relation to any new products and features which we may provide to you in the future as part of our service.

The over-riding principles we apply are these:

  • We, and (where relevant) our credit card processing agents, will not supply your information to a third party for commercial exploitation - thus, you can rest assured that we will not sell the lists of our Members' email addresses to a third party;
  • we occasionally use third party companies to process information that you provide us with: for example, when you complete a survey or make a payment. When we do, we keep the amount of personal information they hold to an absolute minimum, have contracts in place to stop them using your information except on our behalf and require them to ensure they are as careful with your information as we are; and
  • the only circumstances in which we will provide any of your information, including your email address, to a third party (other than a group company or third party secure payment provider) for any purpose are those contained in this Privacy Policy or if we are required or otherwise permitted to do so by law.
  • Registration and Family Tree Information. The details you provide on Registration, and the details of those you enter into your family tree are only available to you, except that names, year of birth and place of birth for you and those in your tree are searchable by other Members. Details in your family tree can be shared with other members at your discretion. If you would like to hide details of all living relatives in your family tree, you can do so by visiting the 'My Account' page and choosing Yes in the 'Hide Living Relations' drop down. Search results from your tree will only be associated with you by your first name (which will be displayed together with the search results), your email address is never revealed.
  • Emailing through the Genes Reunited Service. We do not directly make your email address available to anyone on any screen of the Genes Reunited Service. The only legitimate way of making contact with a Member on the Genes Reunited Service is for a subscribed Member to enter a message that we will send on the Member's behalf. We will notify the addressee Member, using the email address he/she has provided to us, that Genes Reunited is holding an email for him/her, and the Member can collect the email when logged in to the Genes Reunited Service. Members may check and (if required) change the email address we hold for them at any time through "My Account/Email Address". Members' personal notes must not include their email address. Sent and received email may appear in a Member's Inbox on the Genes Reunited Service for an indefinite period - we do not delete it after any specific period. However, this does not mean that we will retain your email forever; there may come a time when we will need to delete some or all of it, for technical or other reasons. In this event, we will endeavour to give you advance warning that we are going to do so.
  • Advertising. The Genes Reunited Service may include interactive advertising for other businesses. We may use, and provide to third parties, anonymised demographic data provided by Members to target this advertising more appropriately. Please see 'Our use of cookies' above for more information.
  • Credit or debit card information. We use Worldpay plc and Datacash as our payment providers. Both operate a secure server, to process our card payments. They encrypt Members' credit or debit card information and authorise payment directly. This means that Members' full card details are never revealed to or held by us. Worldpay plc or Datacash may transfer to, process and hold your card information in countries either within or outside the European Economic Area in connection with performing their duties.
  • Companies in the Genes Reunited group. We may share data supplied by you (or collected about you) with our subsidiaries and other companies in our group (meaning Genes Reunited Limited, brightsolid Online Innovation Limited, and any of their subsidiaries from time to time), but only for the purposes described in this policy or if we are required or otherwise permitted to do so by law. In general, we try to make sure that people only have as much access to your information as they need to carry out their job.
  • Changes in Genes Reunited's business. If all of the assets which Genes Reunited uses to operate its business (or substantially all of them) are acquired by a third party, we may transfer personal data we then hold to that party so that the acquirer can continue to provide the Genes Reunited Service.
  • Place of processing. The vast majority of your information held by us is held on and processed by computers situated in the United Kingdom. Some of our third party partners use servers in the United States. When we process data in the United States, we only use providers certified under the EU approved Safe Harbor scheme.

4. Security

We have high quality security measures in place to protect your information, including your details in our customer database, and access to this database is restricted internally. However, please be aware that, although our systems are secure, your information may be intercepted on its way to us via the internet, although it is extremely uncommon for this to happen. It remains each Member's responsibility:

  • to protect against unauthorised access to Your Details;
  • to ensure no-one else uses the Genes Reunited Service on that Member's machine while it is "logged on" to the Genes Reunited Service;
  • to log off or exit from the Genes Reunited Service when not using it; and
  • to keep his/her password secret.

5. Removing your profile from the Genes Reunited Service

You may remove your profile from the website by clicking here. Any public content you have added to the website will remain; however, your profile page will not be accessible, and other subscribed Members will not be able to contact you. Any content you chose to share publicly, understandably, may be copied or stored by other subscribed Members even after your profile has been removed. When your profile has been removed, we will archive and store your information for a reasonable time period for legal and administrative reasons and for the purposes of re-activating your account with us, if you wish to do so.

6. Disclosure for legal reasons

We reserve the right to communicate any personal information we hold about you to third parties which seek the disclosure of it, and which make a legally-compliant request for its disclosure.

7. Changes to this Privacy Policy

We might make changes to this Privacy Policy from time to time. Check back here to stay up to date. If we make a major change to it, we will usually send you a service email describing the change and what it means for you.

8. Contacting Genes Reunited

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of the Genes Reunited Service, or your dealings with Genes Reunited, you can contact us here. You can also use this address if you wish to request from Genes Reunited a copy of the personal data we hold about you or a description of that data. Please note that by law we are entitled to charge you a small sum for providing this information.

9. Links to third party sites

The Genes Reunited Service contains links to other sites. Genes Reunited is not responsible for the privacy practices, or the content, of those web sites.

10. Data Protection Information

You can obtain further information about data protection laws by visiting the UK Information Commissioner's website. You can search for our Data Protection Notification there, should you so wish (our registration number is Z895288X).

11. Updating your personal information

If the information we hold about you is no longer correct, please update your details in the My Account area or, alternatively, let us know and we will update our records. In certain situations, we may choose not to amend your personal information. In this event, we will include an appropriate statement or note about it with the information.