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Transferring data outside the UK

What does ‘transferring data’ mean?

The transferring data is not always as straight forward as sending data sets to a collaborator via email, hard copy, usb sticks.  It also involves transient or unintentional transfers of data.  This is where data is transferred to another recipient who is not the intended recipient.

For example:

- A researcher may use a web-based file storage application to store and share this data with collaborators who log in to view the files. 

- A researcher may use an online survey website to collect responses from participants for their research.

On the face of it, if the researcher and participants are based in the UK then it would seem that the data remains within the UK.  However, this is not the case if the website/application is based outside of the UK.  This is because when the data is transferred (either to the collaborator or when the participant hits submit) it first goes to the website/application and then to the researcher/collaborator and therefore through the country in which the website/application is based. 

As such all UCL staff and students are strongly advised to check the terms and conditions of any web application or site that is being used to either transfer or store personal data to ascertain which country the website/applications is based in.

Researchers should also ensure they are familiar with the UCL guidance on data protection including the guidance relating specifically to research. 

Transferring data within the European Economic Area
Transferring data outside the European Economic Area (excluding the US)
Transferring data to the United States

UCL Data Protection 

Alex Daybank, UCL Data Protection Officer

data-protection@ucl.ac.uk