Last updated: 10 Jun 2021
Information collected from users of the OWL app (hereafter referred to as "the app") will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to third parties unless required by UK law. Personally identifiable information is not captured or stored unless voluntarily offered by yourself, for example, providing your details via a feedback form or sending an email.
Where the provision of personal data is required to enable us to provide a specific service to the user, the information collected will only be used for the stated purpose. Children under the age of 16 should not submit information without the consent of a parent or carer.
What data is collected?
Limited, anonymous data is collected. We do not collect any information that could personally identify you. No names, no email addresses, and no phone numbers. What we do collect is for the following purposes:
- Your Location - The app collects location data to enable you to receive important, geozone based, notifications from the police and local authorities, even when the app is closed or not in use. The police and local authorities do NOT have access to your location data and is accessed only by the cloud service for the purpose of sending you notifications based on your current location. Location history is not stored by this app and is not a feature of this app.
- Device Identifier - To receive push notifications direct to your device, the app needs to store a unique identifier relating to your device with the cloud service that sends you an appropriate push notification. The identifier is a unique code - it's not connected to your phone number, name, or any other personal information. The identifier is not used for any purposes other than to make sure the alerts you want are sent to the correct device.
- Google Analytics - anonymous information is collected about how you use the app so we can tell how many users there have been each day, which are the most popular sections of the app, which are the most popular brands of phone and operating system, etc.
- Settings - some of your settings from the OWL app are stored in a secure cloud service so that the push notifications you've asked for can be delivered to your device. This is limited to your chosen zones (postcode sectors) and the types of alerts you're interested in such as Local, Business, Rural, etc. Your full postcode is not stored in the cloud, only the sector (e.g. AB1 2) which can cover an area the size of 1000's of homes.
The types of data referred to above are sent from the app using a secure, encrypted protocol. The limited set of data is stored on secure servers.
Limited, anonymous and personally unidentifiable data in the form of usage statistics is periodically shared with our partner police forces and councils. No-one's individual data is shared. Data is not used for marketing, sales or advertising and is not sold or shared with other parties.
Data Retention and Deletion
We keep your limited data only as long as necessary to provide you with the service offered by the app. If you delete the app then locally stored data will be deleted at the same time while your limited set of personally unidentifiable data stored in the cloud will be purged within 6 months.
The app adheres to GDPR, part of the Data Protection Act under UK law. The Data Controller varies by location and will be the police force or local council authority that is participating in the provision of the app. For example, in Hertfordshire the Data Controller is the Chief Constable, whereas in London it's each participating borough's police or council (varies by borough).
The app contains links to other websites which are not within our control. Once you have left our app, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide to the website you're visiting. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
Voluntarily shared data
The app lets you send a message to the police or reply back to a sender of an alert if you have useful information you'd like to provide them with. The app also lets you send feedback directly to the developers if you want to report a fault or make a comment.
In all of the above cases, by doing so you are also sending personal information such as your name, email address and IP address. This information will be treated as confidential by the recipients, meaning that it won't be disclosed to other parties, unless you are providing information that can prevent or solve a crime and an emergency service or authority needs to be informed. No information or content submitted via the app will be made public.
The app has a "share" facility so you can share alerts on your social media platforms or by email. Sharing will reveal your social media name or username to your audience, as you would expect. The app appends its own name (OWL) in the shared post or email, but you have the opportunity to review and edit the content before you post it.