Privacy Notice for Beeb BETA

Page updated: 18 June 2020

We promise to look after your personal information. This privacy notice gives you information about how we process your personal information when you use Beeb. It explains what happens when you interact with Beeb, including how we will use your interactions with Beeb to improve our services.

Beeb is a voice assistant from the BBC. You can speak to it to get live and on demand radio, news, local weather, music mixes, and the BBC’s wide range of podcasts. This BETA version allows us to release an experimental version to an audience to get feedback that can help us improve Beeb.

The BBC is the “controller” of the personal information collected. This means the BBC is responsible for deciding what personal information we collect and how we use it.


What we will collect and how we use it

Your BBC account

You will need to sign in to your BBC account to use Beeb. We’ll use information from your account to make Beeb more personal to you. We use the partial postcode from your account to provide localised content, such as the weather forecast. We may use your account information to send important messages to you about Beeb.

We will also use your age and your gender so Beeb can be trained to recognise voices representative of its users.

User identifier

If you use Beeb, you will get a random user identifier (ID) so that Beeb can provide individual responses to you based on the personal information you provide. Your ID will be used as described in this privacy notice and stored separately from your BBC account to protect your personal information.

We’ll securely hold a link between the ID and your BBC account so Beeb can use information from your account.

Your accent

We will ask you to tell us your accent. If you choose to provide this we will use it to train the speech recognition services to recognise different regional accents.

What you say

Beeb does not listen to everything you say

The ‘wakeword’, “OK Beeb”, is how Beeb knows to start listening. When that phrase is picked up, Beeb will start to take notice of what is being said.

And Beeb will only stay alert for a few seconds after it picks up the wakeword.

Occasionally there may be ‘false wakes’ if Beeb has picked up on something that sounds like the wakeword. By improving Beeb’s speech recognition it should get better at picking up the wakeword and understanding language generally.

Beeb writes what you say

Beeb works by using speech recognition services to recognise what you say and work out what it means. This process starts when you say the wakeword ‘OK Beeb’.

We are not currently storing audio recordings of your voice.

What Beeb thinks you’ve said is transcribed so it can be written out on screen and used by the speech recognition system to work out what you said.

If you choose to include any information that identifies you in what you say to Beeb, this will also be transcribed as part of what you said. However, we will not be using this information to identify you.

Using your personal information

We need a valid reason to use your personal information. It’s called our “lawful basis of processing.” When you use Beeb we have a “legitimate interest” to process your personal information. It will be used as described in this privacy notice and to:

    • make sure that Beeb understands what you say and can respond in the right way
    • understand how our audience uses Beeb so that we can continually make Beeb and our conversation as a service platform better

Keeping your information

The BBC will keep the written transcripts for up to 5 years for analysis and product improvements. The transcripts will then be deleted.

We will keep other personal data including your accent, age and gender until your BBC account is deleted, from that point the data will be anonymised. This means you can continue to use Beeb and we can monitor how the service is being used.

Other information we keep includes:

     • the random user identifier (ID)
     • the client ID (code combining your user ID and device)
     • coded instructions for what Beeb needs to do after you’ve spoken
     • Beeb’s response

In the unlikely event that we need to restore data from our back-up system, data will be used for disaster recovery to get the service back up and running.

Who sees your personal information

For us to give you a good experience and to understand how you're using our services, we often use other companies to process your personal information on our behalf. We are partnering with Microsoft, using their speech recognition services for Beeb.

The transcriptions of what has been said to Beeb will be used by a specific team of BBC employees and our partners at Microsoft to check and improve the speech recognition service that powers Beeb.

We will also use the data to understand who is using Beeb, where and how often.

We also use third party hosting providers that support  Beeb. These third-party providers are subject to BBC Cloud and Security Policies and appropriate contractual clauses.

Your data will remain within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Your rights and more information

You have rights under data protection law.

You can ask for a copy of the transcripts and current accent information for your use of Beeb, by going to “Download your personal data” in the app settings.

You have the right to ask for your personal data to be deleted, however in some instances we may refuse this request.

Personal data from your use of BBC services can be downloaded from your BBC account.

If you delete your BBC account, any data about how you've used BBC services will no longer be linked to you. We will no longer be able to identify you.

You can send any questions you have to our Data Protection Officer.

If you have a concern about the way the BBC has handled your personal information, you can raise your concern with the supervisory authority in the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Updating this privacy notice

We will revise the privacy notice if there are significant changes to how we use your personal information.

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