Print this page

Privacy & Cookies Policy


This privacy notice was updated on 1 May 2021.

Following signatory of the constitutive treaty, The Convention Establishing the Square Kilometre Array, and subsequent entry into force of that Convention on 15th January 2021, SKA Observatory has been established as an international intergovernmental organisation. As an intergovernmental organisation, the SKA Observatory (“SKAO”) is not legally bound by UK data protection legislation. However, the SKAO intends to follow the principle of data protection legislation within our member states, including the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), as much as possible. This Privacy Notice explains what you should expect in relation to personal information about you which is collected, handled, and processed by the SKAO.  

We acknowledge and agree that any personal data of yours that we handle will be processed in the spirit of the General Data Protection Regulation.

To ensure that we process your personal data fairly we will inform you of information such as:

  • Why we collect your data
  • How it will be used
  • Who it will be shared with

What is this privacy notice for?  

This privacy notice explains how we use your data in relation to your use of SKAO’s website.

Our commitment to you

When we ask you for personal data, we will:

  • Explain why we need it
  • Only ask for relevant information
  • Ensure it is securely stored and is only accessible to individuals within SKAO who have a legitimate need to access it
  • Only keep it for as long there is a business or statutory obligation 
  • Ensure your personal information is not made available for commercial use without your explicit permission

In return, we ask you to:

  • Provide us with accurate information
  • Inform us as soon as possible if there are any changes
  • Inform us if you don’t want your data to be used for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes

What personal data will be processed?

SKAO mailing list:

The SKAO will process the following information, which you provide when you register to join our mailing list:

  • Your name, email address, nationality and country of residence

If you wish to sign up to the SKAO Mailing list to receive SKAO publications, you can do so here.

Use of SKAO Website:

Please refer to the SKAO Cookies information below.

What is the purpose of the processing?

SKAO will process your personal data, that you have provided, for the purpose that you have provided it for. This includes but is not limited to receiving future issues of SKAO publications, new SKAO products, information about engagement opportunities, or other outreach activities.

What is the basis of the processing?  

We ask for your consent to process your personal data for the purpose set out above, and you can withdraw your consent at any time.

When we use your data we do so on the basis that this is necessary:

  • Where the SKAO has a legitimate interest
  • To align with legislation

We will only process your Special Category data (sensitive information about you) with your explicit consent or if it is necessary:

  • For the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims
  • Very occasionally, when it is needed to protect your or another person’s vital interests and you are not capable of giving your consent (for example, in an emergency)
  • Archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes

Who will your personal data be shared with?

Within SKAO, your data is shared only with those who need access for the processing purposes set out above.

We may share some of the information with external organisations as follows:

  • Contact magazine, other publications

We use a third-party provider, MailChimp, to deliver our publications. We gather statistics around email opening and clicks using industry standard technologies to help us monitor and improve our e-newsletter. For more information, please see Mailchimp’s privacy notice.

Similarly, SKAO magazine Contact is hosted on a platform called Issuu, that we also use to gather statistics to help us monitor our readership’s location (country), habits (preferred pages, read time spent, etc.). For more information, please see Issuu’s privacy notice.

  • WordPress/Drupal

We host our own websites, but currently use a third party service,, as a Content Management System for the SKAO public website, the science website and the country mini-sites. WordPress is run by Automattic Inc. We use a standard WordPress service to collect anonymous information about users’ activity on the site, for example the number of users viewing pages on the site, to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the site and help us improve it. For more information about how WordPress processes data, please see Automattic’s privacy notice. The future SKAO website currently under development will be using a separate Content Management System called Drupal, with its own privacy notice.

How long is your data kept?

We will retain your personal information where we have an ongoing legitimate business need to do so. In order to determine the retention period, we will consider whether we have a contractual need to retain the data, and whether the data is necessary to continue to provide our newsletters and other publications to you. You may request that we delete your personal data at any time.

Data Protection and third party websites

This website may contain hyperlinks to and from other third party websites, please note that we assume no responsibility or guarantee for third party content or data provisions.

Your rights

Under the GDPR you have a number of rights with regard to your personal data. The SKAO will seek to honour these rights as far as possible.

You have the right to request from us access to and rectification or erasure of your personal data, the right to restrict processing, object to processing as well as in certain circumstances the right to data portability.

Where you have provided consent for the processing of your data, you have the right (in certain circumstances) to withdraw that consent at any time which will not affect the lawfulness of the processing before your consent was withdrawn.

You have the right to lodge a complaint to the SKAO if you believe that we have not processed your personal data fairly and in the spirit of the GDPR or other relevant data protection within our member states legislation.

Data Controller

The Data Controller is SKA Observatory. You can contact us at:

SKA Observatory

Jodrell Bank

Lower Withington


SK11 9FT

Data Protection Officer

The Data Protection Officer is responsible for advising the SKAO regarding compliance with Data Protection legislation and monitoring its performance against it.

If you wish to contact us regarding your data or lodge a complaint, the Data Protection Officer is Samantha Lloyd. Samantha can be contacted at or you can write to Samantha at the above address.

Cookies Policy

A cookie is a small text file that is downloaded onto ‘terminal equipment’ (eg a computer or smartphone) when the user accesses a website. It allows the website to recognise that user’s device and store some information about the user’s preferences or past actions.

To help us improve the performance and user experience of this website, we use cookies to record anonymous data about your visit whilst on this site. Your identity is never linked to this data, and we only record data about the pages you visit on our website. This is a standard technique employed by a majority of websites, as a way to improve the website over time.

If you’d prefer not to have this data recorded, you can easily stop this by following instructions here (instructions differ depending on the web browser you’re using):

Below is an explanation of the cookies we do use:


Google Analytics sets first party cookies via a piece of JavaScript code which is added to every page of our website. Up to five cookies can be created on your device.

Globally and in the European Union member states, Google sets the following cookies:


A persistent cookie – remains on a computer for up to two years or the cookie cache is cleared. It tracks visitors. Metrics associated with the Google __utma cookie include: first visit (unique visit), last visit (returning visit). This also includes Days and Visits to purchase calculations which afford ecommerce websites with data intelligence around purchasing sales funnels.


This cookie expires after 10 minutes of creation, and is used to throttle request rates, to limit data collection on high traffic sites.


These cookies work in tandem to calculate visit length. Google __utmb cookie demarks the exact arrival time, then Google __utmc registers the precise exit time of the user.

Because __utmb counts entrance visits, it is a session cookie, and expires at the end of the session, e.g. when the user leaves the page. A timestamp of 30 minutes must pass before Google cookie __utmc expires. Given__utmc cannot tell if a browser or website session ends. Therefore, if no new page view is recorded in 30 minutes the cookie is expired.

This is a standard ‘grace period’ in web analytics. Ominture and WebTrends among many others follow the same procedure.


Cookie __utmz monitors the HTTP Referrer and notes where a visitor arrived from, with the referrer siloed into type (Search engine (organic or cpc), direct, social and unaccounted). From the HTTP Referrer the   __utmz Cookie also registers, what keyword generated the visit plus geolocation data.

This cookie lasts six months. In tracking terms this Cookie is perhaps the most important as it will tell you about your traffic and help with conversion information such as what source / medium / keyword to attribute for a Goal Conversion.


Google __utmv Cookie lasts for up to two years from the creation time. It is a persistent cookie. It is used for segmentation, data experimentation and  the __utmv works hand in hand with the __utmz cookie to improve cookie targeting capabilities.


We reserve the right to change these data protection provisions, at any time, effective for the future.


Noting SKAO’s legal status as an intergovernmental organisation, nothing in this Privacy Notice will be deemed or interpreted as a waiver, express or implied, of any privileges or immunities accorded to SKAO by its constituent documents or under international public law.