What information we collect and what we use it for

What kinds of personal information do we collect and how do we use it? 

The personal information we collect depends on the products and services you have and how you use them. We’ve explained the different ways we use your personal information below. 

To provide you with products and services 

We’ll use your personal information to provide you with products and services. This applies when you register for or buy a product or service from us. Or if you register for an online account with us or download and register on one of our apps.

This means we’ll:

  • record details about the products and services you use or order from us;
  • send you product or service-information messages (we’ll send you messages to confirm your order and tell you about any changes that might affect your service, like when we have infrastructure work planned or need to fix something);
  • update you on when we’ll deliver, connect or install your products and services; 
  • let you create and log in to the online accounts we run;
  • charge you and make sure your payment reaches us;
  • develop our network, products and services to provide you with a better service.
  • give information to someone else (if we need to for the product or service you’ve ordered) or to another communications provider if you’re buying some services from them and us (if we do this, we still control your personal information and we have strict controls in place to make sure it’s properly protected); and
  • support you more if you are a vulnerable customer. 

We use the following to provide products and services and manage your account.

  • Your contact details and other information to confirm your identity and your communications with us. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, email address, passwords and credentials (such as the security questions and answers we have on your account).
  • Your payment and financial information.
  • Your communications with us, including emails, webchats and phone calls. We’ll also keep records of any settings or communication preferences you choose.
  • Information from cookies placed on your connected devices that we need so we can provide a service.

We use this information to carry out our contract (or to prepare a contract) and provide products or services to you. If you don’t give us the correct information or ask us to delete it, we might not be able to provide you with the product or service you ordered from us.

If you tell us you have a disability or otherwise need support, we’ll note that you are a vulnerable customer, but only if you give your permission or if we have to for legal or regulatory reasons. For example, if you told us about a disability we need to be aware of when we deliver our services to you, we have to record that information so we don’t repeatedly ask you about it. We will also record the details of a Power of Attorney we have been asked to log against your account.

Because it is in our legitimate interests as a business to use your information

We’ll use your personal information if we consider it is in our legitimate business interests so that we can operate as an efficient and effective business. We use your information to:

  • share within the BT Group for administrative purposes;
  • create aggregated and anonymised information for further use;
  • identify, and let you know about fibre broadband initiatives that may interest you, for example through our Community Fibre Partnerships programme;
  • make and defend claims to protect our business interests;
  • detect and prevent fraud; and
  • secure and protect our network. 

To create aggregated and anonymised data

We’ll use your personal information to create aggregated and anonymised information. Nobody can identify you from that information and we’ll use it to:

  • make sure our network is working properly and continuously improve and develop our network and products and services for our customers;
  • run management and corporate reporting, research and analytics, and to improve the business; and
  • provide other organisations with aggregated and anonymised reports

We use the following to generate aggregated and anonymised information.

  • Your gender, address and date of birth.
  • Information about what you buy from us, how you ordered it and how you pay for it, for example, broadband ordered online and paid for on a monthly basis.
  • Information from cookies and tags placed on your computer.
  • Information from other organisations who provide aggregated demographic information, data brokers (such as Response One), our partners and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.

We have a legitimate interest in generating insights that will help us operate our network and business or would be useful to other organisations.


To develop our business and build a better understanding of what our customers want

This means we’ll:

  • maintain, develop and test our network (including managing the traffic on our network), products and services, to provide you with a better service;
  • train our people and suppliers to provide you with products and services (but we make the information anonymous beforehand wherever possible);
  • create a profile about you to better understand you as our customer;
  • share personal information within the BT Group for administrative purposes, such as sharing contact details so we can get in touch with you; and
  • run surveys and market research about our products.

We use the following information to do this.

  • Your contact details.
  • Your payment and financial information.
  • Your communications with us, including emails, webchats and phone calls (and any recordings made).
  • Information from cookies placed on your connected devices.
  • Details of the products and services you’ve bought from us

If we use this information for market research, training, testing, development purposes or to create a profile about you, we do so because it is in our legitimate business interests of running an efficient and effective business which can adapt to meet our customers’ needs.

We’ll send you information about fibre broadband initiatives by phone, post, email, or text message if you contacted us through our Community Fibre Partnerships programme. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with opportunities available in your area. We also check that you are happy for us to send you these marketing messages by text or email before we do so. In each message we send, you have the option to opt out.

To run credit and fraud prevention checks

Before we provide you with a product or service (including upgrades or renewals), or sometimes when you use our products and services, we’ll use personal information you have given us together with information we have collected from credit reference agencies (such as Experian or Equifax), the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) security alert, or fraud prevention agencies (such as Cifas). We use this information to manage our credit risk, and prevent and detect fraud and money laundering. We’ll also use these organisations to confirm your identity. When they get a search from us, a 'footprint' goes on your file which other organisations might see. We might also share the information with other organisations. We do this because it’s in our, and the organisations’, legitimate interests to prevent fraud and money laundering, and to check identities, to protect our business and to keep to laws that apply to us.

Details of the personal information that will be used include your name, address, date of birth, contact details, financial information, employment details and device identifiers, including IP address and vehicle details.

If you don’t become one of our customers, we’ll still keep the result of our credits checks about you if we have a legal obligation and it’s in our legitimate interests to help prevent or detect fraud. Fraud prevention agencies can hold your personal information for different periods of time, and if you are considered to pose a fraud or money laundering risk, your information can be held by us and the organisations we share it with for up to six years.

If you give us false or inaccurate information which we identify as fraudulent, we’ll pass that on to fraud prevention agencies. We might also share it with law enforcement agencies, as may the agencies we have shared the information with.

If you tell us you’re associated with someone else financially (for example, by marriage or civil partnership), we’ll link your records together. So you must make sure you have their agreement to share information about them. The agencies we share the information with also link your records together and these links will stay on your and their files – unless you or your partner successfully asks the agency to break that link.

If we, a credit reference or fraud prevention agency, decide that you are a credit, fraud or money laundering risk, we may refuse to provide the services or financing you have asked for, or we may stop providing existing services to you.

The credit reference and fraud prevention agencies will keep a record of any fraud or money laundering risk and this may result in other organisations refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you. If you have any questions about this, please contact us using the details below.

We send credit reference and fraud prevention agencies information about applications, and they keep that information. We might also give them details of your accounts and bills, including how you manage them. This includes telling them about your account balances, what you pay us and if you miss a payment (going back in the past, too). So if you don't pay your bills on time, credit reference agencies will record that. They, or a fraud prevention agency, might tell others doing similar checks – including organisations trying to trace you or recover money you owe them.

There are different credit reference agencies in the UK (for example, Callcredit, Equifax and Experian). Each one might hold different information about you. If you want to find out what information they have on you, they may charge you a small fee.

Whenever credit reference and fraud prevention agencies transfer your personal information outside of the European Economic Area, they place contractual responsibilities on the organisation receiving it to protect your information to the standard required in the European Economic Area. They may also make the organisation receiving the information subscribe to ‘international frameworks’ aimed at sharing information securely.

Here are links to the information notice for each of the three main Credit Reference Agencies. 
Callcredit
Equifax
Experian

To collect debt

If you don’t pay your bills, we might ask a debt-recovery agency to collect what you owe. We’ll give them information about you (such as your contact details) and your account (the amount of the debt) and may choose to sell the debt to another organisation to allow us to receive the amount due.

To prevent and detect crime

We’ll use your personal information to help prevent and detect crime and fraud. We’ll also use it to prevent and detect criminal attacks on our network or against your equipment. We monitor traffic over our network, trace nuisance or malicious calls, and track malware and cyber-attacks.

To do that we use the following information, but only where strictly necessary.

  • Your contact details and other information to confirm your identity and communications with us. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, passwords and credentials (for example, security questions).We do not store the original copy of your password. Instead we keep it in a form that allows us to authenticate you but does not allow us to work out what your original password is.
  • Your payment and financial information.
  • Information from credit reference and fraud prevention agencies.
  • Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them
  • CCTV footage in our buildings and on our vehicles.

We use this personal information because we have a legitimate interest in protecting our network and business from attacks and to prevent and detect crime and fraud. We also share it with other organisations (such as other communications providers and banks) who have the same legitimate interests. Doing this helps make sure our network works properly and helps protect you from attacks.

If you call the emergency services, we’ll give them information about you and where you are so they can help. We do this because it is necessary to protect you, or another person, and because it is in our interests to help the emergency services in providing help to you.

To meet our legal and regulatory obligations

We might have to release personal information about you to meet our legal and regulatory obligations.

To law enforcement agencies

Under investigatory powers legislation, we might have to share personal information about you to government and law enforcement agencies, such as the police, to help detect and stop crime, prosecute offenders and protect national security. They might ask for the following details.

  • Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, passwords and credentials (such as your security questions and answers) needed to confirm your identity and your communications with us.
  • Your communications with us, such as calls, emails and webchats.
  • Your payment and financial information.
  • Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them

The balance between privacy and investigatory powers is challenging. We share your personal information when the law says we have to, but we have strong oversight of what we do and get expert advice to make sure we’re doing the right thing to protect your right to privacy. You can read more about our approach to investigatory powers in our report on Privacy and free expression in UK communications. And you can see the terms of reference for our oversight body here.

We’ll also share personal information about you where we have to legally share it with another person. That might be when a law says we have to share that information or because of a court order.

In limited circumstances, we may also share your information with other public authorities, even if we do not have to. However, we would need to be satisfied that a request for information is lawful and proportionate (in other words, appropriate to the request). And we would need appropriate assurances about security and how the information is used and how long it is kept.

For regulatory reasons

We have to report certain information to our regulators, such as Ofcom, which might include personal information. We will only do so in confidence and where it is necessary to fulfil our obligations.