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Privacy Policy for the Biosafety Clearing-House


  • Information provided to the BCH
    • Official Information of National Focal Points
    • Personal Information of other visitors
    • Non-Personal Information
    • Security
  • Visitor identification
    • What information is captured from visitors to the BCH?
    • What is a cookie?
    • Can I stop the BCH collecting this information?
    • Why does the BCH use cookies?
    • What happens when I leave the BCH to visit a linked Web site?

Information provided to the BCH

Official Information of National Focal Points

National Focal Points and Competent National Authorities agree to make certain information publicly available through the BCH databases (such as name, address, e-mail address and telephone number). This information is provided in accordance with Article 19 of the Protocol to fulfill certain administrative functions under the Protocol, and may be used by the Secretariat and others to contact the National Focal Points when the need arises.

Personal Information of other visitors

Authorized users of the Management Centre, or visitors wishing to participate in on-line discussion fora, may be requested to provide some personal information during the registration process. The Secretariat may use this information to respond to requests, or to contact visitors via mail, e-mail or phone to inform of new facilities offered through the BCH (however, an option to “opt-out” of the notification process is provided during registration). The Secretariat does not provide this information to third parties.

Non-Personal Information

In addition to any personal information that you may provide, this BCH web server may use technology to collect certain technical information like your Internet protocol address, your computer's operating system, your browser type, traffic patterns and the address of any referring Web sites. This information is used by the Secretariat to improve the services provided through the BCH.

The Secretariat may make available aggregate statistics about traffic patterns and related site information as part of its reporting function, but these statistics will include no personally identifying information.


Please note that while there are always risks associated with providing personal data, whether in person, by phone or over the Internet, and no system of technology is completely safe, or "hacker- proof", the Secretariat has endeavoured to take appropriate measures to prevent and minimize risks of unauthorized access to, improper use and the inaccuracy of your personal information. For example, encryption technology is used when collecting or transferring sensitive data such as passwords.

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Visitor identification

What information is captured from visitors to the BCH?

From time to time, information may be placed on your computer to allow the BCH web server to identify you. This information is commonly known as "cookies". If you have set your browser to accept cookies, the BCH Web server may use an extended log file format that captures: date and time of visit, refer address (location from which a visitor comes to the BCH), type of Internet browser, and visitor’s IP address. (Each computer that connects to the Internet is assigned a unique number, an IP Address, for identification purposes). The log file does not capture a visitor's email address.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a series of data characters that is placed by a Web Server into the browser's application folder on your computer. Once placed onto your machine, the cookie will allow the web site (in this case, the BCH) to "recognize" you as a unique individual. Cookies are used only to view information on your hard drive that was put there by a cookie from this Site (e.g. the date the website was last accessed from your computer).

Can I stop the BCH collecting this information?

Cookies are stored on your computer and not on this site. If you do not wish to receive cookies, or want to be notified of when they are placed, you may set your web browser to carry out this function (please review your web browser documentation for more information on how to do this, as it depends on which software you are using to access the site). You may also delete cookies from your hard drive.

Why does the BCH use cookies?

The use of cookies is an industry standard and many web sites use them. Cookies are used by the BCH website to achieve two goals. The first is to show the Secretariat how and when visitors use the web site, to enable continuous improvement of the BCH. Secondly, in some instances, cookies are used to give the website the opportunity to associate individual visitors with their information profiles. As an example, through the use of cookies, the Management Centre of the BCH can automatically fill in key information, such as a user name, and in the process save you time.

What happens when I leave the BCH to visit a linked Web site?

Due to its distributed nature, many records in the BCH contain information hosted by third parties. When you leave the BCH to visit one of these sites, the only information that may be transferred to the third party is the fact that you came from bch.biodiv.org (the refer address). This practice allows the third party to monitor its own Web site traffic, but does not provide them with any information about you. You should consult the privacy policies at those sites to determine how your information may be used.

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Update on 2008-10-08
United Nations Environment Programme United Nations