GDPR/Data Protection: FAQs

Is BridgeU GDPR compliant?

Yes, we comply with the principles and requirements of the UK Data Protection Act (DPA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). BridgeU takes its responsibilities to protect the security, confidentiality, integrity and privacy of your data very seriously, and continuously reviews and improves its technical and organisational approach to protecting data and privacy.

Where can I find BridgeU’s statements on data protection?

You can find our privacy policy, that describes how we process personal data we collect from you or that you provide to us, here https://bridge-u.com/platform-privacy/. You can also find our policy on cookies, which are small text files that a website may put onto your device in order to help provide service to you, here https://bridge-u.com/cookies/. We will inform you when we make any changes to these policies.

Where is my data stored? Where are BridgeU servers located?

Our data is stored in the cloud. That means that the data lives on computers that are based in secure facilities in a number of countries around the world. We work with schools all around the world and using the cloud means that our website operates well wherever it is accessed from.

We only store personal data in, or transfer personal data for processing to, countries that are in the European Economic Area (EEA), or are international countries recognised by the EU as providing adequate protection of personal data, or, in certain cases and only for schools based in China, to China.

In particular, we make use of cloud hosting services for the purposes of storing and processing personal data in Ireland (Amazon Web Services, Heroku) and the USA (Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Heroku).

How is my data protected? How secure are the servers you use?

Your data is protected by industry-standard processes at every layer.

Our servers are maintained by our cloud platform providers, ensuring that the infrastructure that the platform runs on – both the hardware and operating system – is kept up to date by a dedicated team. We use automated alerts to ensure that the software our servers run is kept up to date too, and prioritise security updates.

In addition to that, we take extra precautions to restrict access to data and ensure its integrity. Our databases use encryption-at-rest, meaning that even in the unlikely event of unauthorised access to the cloud servers, data is inaccessible.

Finally, any connections to BridgeU servers are secured by HTTPS and other encryption technologies, using the latest recommendations for encryption strength. This protects your data from any network-based attacks.

What level of encryption do you use across your site?

We currently generate our HTTPS certificates using LetsEncrypt and AWS Certificate Manager. Both of these currently secure connections with the following properties, but as our certificates are regularly rotated these may increase as and when industry recommendations change:

Connection to our servers are encrypted and authenticated using the TLS 1.2 protocol, an ECDHE_RSA with P-256 key exchange, and the AES_128_GCM cipher. Our key size is 2048-bit. These properties are all rated as “strong” by browsers.

How frequent are your site backups?

We perform full site backups at least daily, and additional ad-hoc backups depending on our development workflow.

The purpose of these backups is disaster recovery and are not designed for recovering from accidental user error. However in emergency situations we can attempt recovery from our backups on a best-effort basis.

How does BridgeU use student, staff and parent personal data?

We store and process personal data of students, staff and parents, when a school is considering to enter into an agreement with BridgeU, or when an agreement is in place and BridgeU is providing the service to a school. The school is the data controller and BridgeU is acting as the processor of personal data on behalf of the school.

We process personal data in order to provide service, to analyse use of our website to better understand how people use our service, to make the website better, to administer the service, and to notify users about changes to the service.

We may send service, maintenance and other transactional emails to users of the website. Transactional emails are sent in response to a users using or administering the service, and include things such password reset emails, maintenance announcements, and changes to the service, features or supported browsers.

We may send non-transactional emails to users, such as newsletters, but only when either the user has explicitly opted to receive these emails, or where we believe, or have been informed, that the user has a legitimate interest in receiving targeted email communications. In either case, we make it easy for users to opt-out of receiving non-transactional emails.

What data does BridgeU collect?

As well as the data that users and schools provide about themselves or others on BridgeU, such as name and email address, we keep records of correspondence, information from our partners (e.g. ManageBac), device-specific information (e.g. the kind of device used to access BridgeU), network information (for administration and analytical purposes), and details of your visits to our website.

Can I opt out of sharing my data with BridgeU?

If a student, staff member, of parent objects to their data being processing by BridgeU on behalf of the school, we will not be able to provide the service to that individual.

Is any of my data shared with third parties?

We use a variety of carefully selected third parties to fulfil essential activities (e.g. processing data, storing data, and analysing data). We only use third parties that also comply with the GDPR. We only transfer personal data to a third party that stores data in the EEA, or in a country determined by the EU to provide adequate protection of personal data, or, in certain cases and only for schools based in China, to China.

Some of the main third party services that we may use are:

To provide platform functionality

  • ManageBac (if a school has an existing account there)
  • iSAMS (if a school has an existing account there)
  • Parchment (if document sending is enabled and used)

As providers of cloud hosting services

For customer success and operations

To allow us to monitor and improve our service

Do you comply with EU-US or Swiss-US Privacy Shield?

BridgeU does not have operating subsidiaries in the US and so does not need to register for programs such as these. We do, however, ensure that any third party is registered with the US Department of Commerce where it is appropriate.

Do you have a Data Protection Officer (DPO)?

The responsibility for governance and oversight of data protection, and overall information security, is predominantly with BridgeU’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but is reviewed by the leadership team of the company at the highest levels. We have determined that we do not currently need to appoint a DPO and this decision will be reviewed at least annually by the company’s senior leadership team.

[Added October 2019] When and how is information shared with universities?  

BridgeU does not share personally identifying information about students with universities unless, as described below, the student has explicitly chosen to do so or, as a result of a student applying to a university, their school counsellor or advisor is required to submit application documents. BridgeU does not “sell” the personal details of students to any third party, including universities, in any circumstances.

University Applications

A student must explicitly choose to apply to a university when using BridgeU, either on the BridgeU platform itself, or when they apply via the Common App and choose to link their Common App and BridgeU accounts. A student can choose whether to apply directly to the university or to use an electronic application delivery route such as the Common App (for higher education institutions predominantly in the US and Canada).

In the event that a student chooses to apply to a university then either the student and/or their school counsellor may be required to submit one or more application documents to the university they are applying to using the BridgeU platform.

Information shared in this way includes:

  • Information provided by the school staff specifically for the purpose of supporting the application, including transcripts or other uploaded documents.
  • Information specifically relating to the student’s application, for example their Common Application ID.
  • Demographic information about the student, as entered by the student/school staff, for example the student’s name and date of birth.
  • Basic information about the member of staff submitting the supporting document, for example their name, email address and school contact details.

Note that other information entered into BridgeU for the purpose of exploring and recommending universities – for example an individual student’s interests, preference data and target grades – are not shared with universities.

University Information

BridgeU collects and publishes information about universities and courses to help students, supported by their school counsellors, research and decide on their higher education options. BridgeU may provide or highlight information, both within the platform and using email, to students where we think it is relevant and useful for them. This information may be provided to us by universities or it may be information we have created or collected ourselves.

The information we provide may include links to third party websites, at universities or other organisations, that a user may make use of. If a user does so, they leave the BridgeU platform, and their use of any 3rd party website is subject to the terms and conditions published by the 3rd party. BridgeU has not control over the 3rd party website and is not responsible for its content.

BridgeU may, in the future, provide a way for users to explicitly opt-in to sharing their certain information about themselves with 3rd parties, such as universities, from within the BridgeU platform. This could be to register to receive tailored information from the 3rd party or access existing content and material.

University Visits

BridgeU Connect is a feature of the BridgeU platform that allows universities and schools to exchange information and schedule visits (typically where a university will visit a school). At no time is personally identifying information about students shared.

BridgeU Connect does make certain aggregated and anonymised information available to universities to allow them to search for and discover schools that they would like to visit. This information includes publicly available information (the name of the school; the city, region and country the school is located in) as well as aggregate information about the preferences of students (e.g. a school may be listed if some number of students have selected a subject preference that a university is particularly interested in). At no point are the preferences, or any personally identifying information, of a single student shared, and we do not share the exact number of students that had a particular preference only a numeric range.

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