Privacy of the users of the ScotlandsPeople website is a government Website owned, operated and managed by National Records of Scotland (NRS) and we recognise the importance of protecting the privacy of the users of our website.  

When you use we collect certain information or data about you. This includes:

  • questions, queries or feedback you leave, including your email address if you send an email to
  • your IP address (defined below), and details of which version of web browser you used
  • information on how you use the site, using cookies and page tagging techniques to help us improve the website
  • details to allow you to access services including registration and transactions (for example, a name, address, email address).  However, you will always be told when this information is being collected, and it will only be used for the purpose you provide it for.

This will help us to:

  • improve the Website by monitoring how you use it
  • respond to any feedback you send us, if you have asked us to
  • provide you with information about the Website if you want it
  • deliver the services you have requested.

We can only personally identify you using your data where you have registered as a User on our website or contacted us directly by sending an email to or used the Contact us/ feedback form.

We will not collect any personal information about you, except where it is specifically and knowingly provided by you when you register as a user of the website, or request information or provide us with feedback on the website.

Keeping your data secure

Transmitting information over the internet is generally not completely secure, and any data you send us is at your own risk. However, we have procedures and security features in place to keep your data secure once we receive it.

We will not share your information with any other organisations for marketing, market research or commercial purposes and we do not pass on your details to other websites.

However, we reserve the right to use non-personal information for business, research and marketing purposes. Where we do this the information does not identify the person who provided it or contain any contact information relating to that person.

Payment transactions are made through a third party provider and we do not store any of your payment details.  These payment transactions are always encrypted.

Contacting you by email processes personal data for the purposes of providing the service that you have signed up for and we will only send you emails which provide information on the website service which includes registration where you will be provided with information on how to use the ScotlandsPeople service with a link to video content and some supporting content, confirmation of orders and dispatch of order following payment confirmation, notification of credits which are due to expire, or where we will be making a change to the website you should be aware of or where it is necessary to resolve a problem with the website or its services. You cannot unsubscribe to these emails. maintains an opt-in policy with regard to sending marketing/ promotional e-mails. When you register on the website you will be asked to tick the box which states 'I would like to receive information by email on the latest ScotlandsPeople news, helpful advice and record collections' before we will send you these emails. Where you agree to this you can notify us at any time if you no longer wish to receive marketing/ promotional e-mails by changing your preferences in your 'my account' section of the website.  

Disclosing your information

We may pass on your personal information if we have a legal obligation to do so, or if we have to enforce or apply our ScotlandsPeople Website Terms and Conditions of Use and other agreements. This includes exchanging information with other government departments for legal reasons.

Information collected by this Website

Information that is routinely collected by this Website falls into the two categories of contact us/feedback forms and Website log files:

  • Contact us/ feedback forms

This Website provides a contact form to allow Users to contact ScotlandsPeople. The information collected will be stored and used for the purpose of fulfilling the ScotlandsPeople service.

Information collected from contact us/ feedback forms is not stored on this Website, but is instead sent to a separate service desk system that is accessible only by authorised ScotlandsPeople staff. These contact us/ feedback forms are not intended for the transmission of confidential or security-related material and should not be used for such purposes.

  • Website log files

All Websites produce log files that record the activity on that site. Log files record which pages on the site have been accessed and how many times. From this information it is possible to produce statistics such as how busy this Website is, which pages are the most popular and whether there are any broken links.

When you delete your account with us some material, including log and activity records, may remain in our database for management information purposes but it is disassociated from any personal identifiers.

Log files typically record the IP address and/or hostname of all users accessing this Website. This allows us to distinguish between different users and therefore estimate the number of unique visitors to this Website. IP addresses and hostnames are not linked to any individual's personally identifiable information.

Specific IP addresses and hostnames will only be used by Website log file software to compile overall summary statistical reports on the performance of this Website. (For more information about IP addresses and hostnames, see the additional information on the Terms and Conditions page.)

Website log files are stored securely on this Website using industry best practice methods for safeguarding information and server functions.

Additional information


Depending on your browser's security settings puts small files (known as cookies) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the Website. Cookies cannot harm your computer in any way.

There are two types of cookies:

  • Session Cookies - these are temporary cookie files, which are erased when you close your browser. When you restart your browser and go back to the site that created the cookie, this Website will not recognise you.
  • Persistent Cookies - these remain on your computer for a period of time to allow a Website to recognise you when you return and present you with the appropriate customised page.

Cookies are not used to identify you personally. Cookies are used to:

  • measure how you use the Website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs.
  • remember notifications you have seen so that we do not show them to you again.

How Cookies are used on

Measuring Website usage (Google Analytics)

We use Google Analytics and Google Signals software to collect information about how you use We do this to make sure the website is meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • what pages you visit on
  • how long you spend on each page
  • how you got to the Website
  • what you click on whilst you are visiting the Website

Google Signals is a feature integrated with Google Analytics which enables cross-device reporting and remarketing. It helps us understand how users, who have signed in to their Google accounts and who have turned on Ads personalisation, interact with the Website across multiple devices and sessions.

We do not collect or store your personal information so this information cannot be to identify who you are and we do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

Further details can be found at cookies set by Google Analytics.

You may see a pop up welcome message when you first visit We will store a cookie so that your computer knows you have seen it and knows not to show it to you again. You can reset your cookies settings at any time here.

IP addresses and hostnames

An IP address is the numeric address of a computer. The IP address recorded on Website log files is the address provided by your internet service provider's equipment and not your own personal computer's address.

Hostnames are similar in appearance to the domain names you see in URLs and email addresses. The hostnames recorded on Website log files are those of the internet service provider's equipment that you are using to access the internet, and not your own computer's name or location.

Your internet service provider will keep records of which customer is using any IP address or hostname at any given time, and so it is theoretically possible to trace back activity shown on any Website log file to a specific individual. In practice, this can only be done with the explicit involvement of the internet service provider, and such a trace would therefore only take place in the event of serious criminal misuse of the internet and would be carried out by the relevant law enforcement authority (that is the Police). will not attempt to associate IP addresses and hostnames with individuals. In the event of serious criminal misuse of this Website the matter would be referred to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation.

This Privacy policy only covers this Website and does not cover links within this Website to other Websites.

Our Performance Survey

We may occasionally select some Users to take part in a performance survey. If you choose to take part, or dismiss the survey, we will save a cookie that will tell us you have seen the message so we do not show it to you again.

We may use SurveyMonkey to collect responses to a survey on our behalf. If you take part in the survey, SurveyMonkey will save extra cookies to your computer to track your progress through the survey.

Retention of personal information

We will keep your personal information for no longer than is necessary to fulfil the purposes for which it was collected, taking into account the requirements from the following criteria:

  • any laws or regulations that we are required to follow
  • whether we are in a legal or other type of dispute with each other or any third party
  • the type of information that we hold about you
  • whether you are still signed up to our services
  • retention in case of queries – we will retain it for a reasonable period in case of further queries from you

If you unsubscribe from our newsletter, we will keep a record of the fact that you have unsubscribed.

If you would like further information on our information retention please contact us.

Data Controller

The data controllers for the personal information we process are the Registrar General for Scotland and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. They can be contacted via the NRS Data Protection Officer:

Data Protection Officer
National Records of Scotland
HM General Register House
2 Princes Street


Lawful basis for processing

The lawful basis we rely on to process your personal information is Article 6(1)(e) of the UK GDPR: “processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller”.

Your data protection rights

Under data protection law, you have rights we need to make you aware of, including:  

  • The right of access – you have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information. 
  • The right to rectification – you have the right to ask us to rectify personal information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete. 
  • The right to erasure – you have the right to ask us to erase your information in certain circumstances.
  • The right to restriction of processing. 
  • The right to object to processing. 

The rights available to you depend on our reason for processing your information. Many of your rights can be exercised by accessing and managing your account. We will deal with requests on a case by case basis. You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

Access to personal information

You can access the personal information you provided us with when you registered for an account or purchased credits by logging into your user account. You can find out whether we hold any additional personal information about you by making a subject access request. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • provide you with a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it and how long for;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • where possible let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

A subject access request needs to be made in writing (either by email, letter or by using our form). You can find out more about the process of requesting information on our dedicated website page.

How to delete your account

You are able to delete your account from the ScotlandsPeople Website at any time. This process is immediate and cannot be reversed. All your account details, including details of credits, orders, search history and saved images are removed.

Complaints or queries about our use of personal information

We take any complaints we receive about how we collect and use personal information very seriously, as we try to meet the highest standards in this regard. If you think that we collect or use information unfairly, misleadingly or inappropriately, please contact us and bring this to our attention. We also welcome any thoughts and suggestions for improving our procedures.

You also have the right to report your concerns to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). For more information visit the ICO website.

This privacy notice was drafted with brevity and clarity in mind. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of ScotlandsPeople's collection and use of personal information. More details about how we may use personal information to carry our functions is provided in our Terms and Conditions. We are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any requests for this should be sent to:

ScotlandsPeople Customer Services,
National Records of Scotland (NRS),
New Register House,
3 West Register Street,

or contact us.

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review to make sure it is up to date and accurate. This privacy policy was last updated on 16 June 2023.