Last updated: 9 June 2022

Who we are - IELTS owners

The IELTS Owners are the British Council, IELTS Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 84 008 664 766), (wholly owned by IDP Education Ltd) and Cambridge Assessment English (Part of the University of Cambridge). 

This Privacy Notice describes how the IELTS Owners collect and use your personal information that we obtain when you register to sit an IELTS Online test. It is intended to provide further information on how your personal data is used and supplements any information the IELTS Owners may have already provided to you about how they will use your personal data. Some of the IELTS Owners’ activities will be carried out by IELTS UK Services Limited, which is a joint venture owned by the IELTS Owners. 

Data shared amongst the IELTS Owners and subcontractors

The IELTS Owners may share any relevant information from your IELTS registration or the IELTS Online test with the other joint owners of the IELTS test for purposes such as administering the IELTS test and reviewing IELTS test results for statistical and fraud detection purposes. 

The IELTS Owners may forward any enquiries you make to the other joint owners of the IELTS test where necessary and appropriate. 

The IELTS owners use third party subcontractors to provide parts of the IELTS services as detailed below. For these services it is necessary to share your information with these subcontractors in order for us to provide the IELTS test and associated services. 

Snowflake – Data warehousing, including storing, cataloguing and enabling analysis of data by IELTS. 

Tableau – Data visualisation and reporting tool to enable the analysis of data by IELTS. 

Types of Information collected: 

IELTS Online Testing

If you apply to take, or have taken, an assessment service provided by, or through, the IELTS Owners we will collect personal details such as; 

  • name
  • postal address
  • email address
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • contact details
  • languages spoken
  • country of nationality
  • residency status
  • education qualifications
  • national identity card number  
  • passport details
  • employment history 
  • occupation.

information required for visa application and professional memberships. This will include copies of your passport that you provide to us as proof of identity  

In the case of individuals who have taken any test or assessment provided by, or through the IELTS Owners, results achieved by the individuals will also be held. 

We may also hold sensitive information about individuals, including 

  • medical information (which you may provide to obtain special consideration in relation to your testing) and  
  • racial or ethnic origin (from information you submit during registration and in the recording of your test). 

Some personal data, such as gender, may be used to ensure that Greeters, Proctors and Examiners are assigned to test takers in accordance with local laws and practices, where applicable. 

We will also process biometric information of IELTS Online Test takers in capturing a visual image of their face for identity verification purposes. The image taken at the beginning of the test will be used throughout the test to confirm that it is the same person at all times. 

We will also conduct video, audio and screen recording during the test for proctoring purposes. Further information regarding online proctoring is provided below. 

Remote Proctoring

As IELTS is a high stakes test, all IELTS tests are subject to proctoring to ensure test integrity and prevent malpractice. Audio and video from your webcam and microphone, as well as a recording of your computer screen, are captured throughout all parts of the test for proctoring purposes.  

The use of remote proctoring is a condition of taking the IELTS test online. If you do not agree to this condition, the alternative is to attend an IELTS Test Centre.  

IELTS works with a company called Inspera to provide the IELTS online platform, including remote proctoring services. You can find out more about Inspera’s privacy practices on their website here: https://www.inspera.com/legal/privacy 

Remote proctoring is made up of two parts:  

Pre-test identity checking

Before the test begins, you will be asked to present an approved form of picture ID. The Greeter will match the facial image on the ID with the person in front of the camera for the test session. This is to ensure that the person taking the test is the same person that registered. 

Test session 

During the test we will record audio and video from your device’s camera and microphone and a capture of the screen of the device used for the test. You will also be asked to provide a complete view of the room before the test begins. This is to verify that there is no one else present to assist you. 

Your entire testing session is monitored in real time and recorded through your device. Audio and video of your face, voice and workspace will be captured. 

These recordings are held securely within the Inspera test platform in Europe for a period of sixty days, after which they will automatically be deleted. They may be retained for longer if there are legal grounds to keep them, such as for ongoing investigations. 

The remote proctoring system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) software to monitor the audio and video from your device for suspicious or unusual behaviour that may indicate malpractice. If the software flags any behaviour as potentially suspicious, either during or after the test, that report is reviewed by the human proctor monitoring your test session before any action is taken. 

The software will flag the following behaviours for further investigation:

  • Unexpected noise – the systems will detect unusual noises that are picked up by your microphone. This is intended particularly to detect speech that is not coming from the test taker 
  • People entering or leaving the frame – whenever someone enters or leaves the frame during the test, the software will compare the facial image of the person entering the frame with the facial image on the ID submitted at the start of the test. If the images do not match, the software will flag the behaviour.

The recordings do not form part of the exam and do not influence your grade – they are only used to prevent malpractice, investigate fraudulent activities and to verify the identity of the person taking the test.  

Remote Speaking Test

For the Speaking part of the IELTS Online Test, the Zoom video conferencing platform will be used. A digital recording of the Speaking test will be made via Zoom.  

This recording will be stored temporarily within Zoom and transferred to our cloud storage in Singapore where it will be split into Audio and Video components. The recording will be not retained on the device you use to take the test. The video file will be retained for 3 months and the audio file for 3 years. 

For further information on how Zoom approaches data protection, please visit the privacy sections of their website: https://zoom.us/privacy

Purposes

We collect your Personal information to allow us to: 

  • administer your IELTS Online test 
  • protect test integrity and prevent fraud 
  • improve the way in which IELTS Online is delivered 
  • inform you of and provide you with information on the services we provide (including events and opportunities to participate in projects/programs) 
  • use your information in an anonymous form, for informational, research, statistical and training purposes for the development of Cambridge Assessment English examinations 
  • manage our internal business operations 
  • respond to your questions. 

Legal basis for Processing your personal data

We will only process personal data where we have a lawful basis to do so. The basis for processing your personal data varies depending on the activity we collected it for. In some occurrences, we may have more than one lawful basis for processing. 

The information below summarises the bases on which the IELTS Owners process personal information. 

Contract

The IELTS Owners process personal data necessary for the performance of a contract for your IELTS Online Test. This includes, but is not limited to, IELTS registration, identity checks and test administration.

Legal Obligation

The IELTS Owners process personal data necessary to comply with legal obligations. This includes, but is not limited to, providing personal information to regulators, law enforcement agencies and statutory bodies.

Legitimate interest

The IELTS Owners process personal data to meet our legitimate interests as a global provider of the IELTS tests. This includes, but is not limited to, responding to general enquiries, supporting test takers, preventing fraudulent activity and improving our services. 

Consent

The IELTS Owners process personal data where you have provided your consent to do so. Where the IELTS Owners are relying on your consent, for example, where your personal data is being used for marketing purposes, you may withdraw your consent at any time. 

Special Category personal data (also known as sensitive personal data) processing

The IELTS Owners will process Special Category personal data under the following legal bases. 

Explicit Consent

The IELTS Owners process personal data with your explicit consent when you provide a visual image of your face for identity verification purposes at the beginning of the IELTS Online test.  

We also carry out video, audio and screen recording during the test for proctoring with your consent. 

We may also process medical information with your consent if you provide it to support requests for special arrangements to be made in relation to your IELTS Online test.

Public Interest

In the case of Cambridge Assessment, the collection of your personal data in remote proctoring is required in the public interest to prevent test malpractice and to ensure test integrity, for the benefit of Recognising Organisations and the public in applying to Recognising Organisations.

Equality of opportunity monitoring

The IELTS Owners process special category personal data to monitor equality of opportunity provision. Any such outputs from this processing would be aggregated and not identify specific individuals. 

Special category data will only be shared on a strictly need to know basis in line with the individual IELTS Owner security policy.

Recipients of personal data

We also use other organisations to process your personal information to carry out services on our behalf. We use them to: 

  • Provide customer service, surveys and marketing 
  • Personalise our services 
  • Process payments 
  • Carry out fraud and other legal investigations. 

Where we use another organisation, we make sure that your personal information is protected and remains in our control. 

Disclosure

The IELTS Owners may disclose the relevant information from your IELTS Online registration or IELTS Online test with: 

Educational institutions, IELTS test centres, governments (including visa processing authorities), or professional bodies and commercial organisations that recognise IELTS Online scores 

With regulatory authorities for verification purposes, to protect the IELTS Online test and its stakeholders or where legally required 

In certain situations, share personal information to government bodies and law enforcement bodies. 

Unless required by law, the disclosures listed above take place in accordance with your instructions as to which organisations you want to be able to view your IELTS information. 

Where we do share personal information with these types of organisations, we make sure it is protected, so far as it is reasonably possible. 

Retention of personal data

We will retain your details for as long as they are needed for the relevant purposes listed in the Purposes section. When retaining information for the purpose of administering the IELTS Online test. 

  • All test results and records relating to your registration and sitting of the test, including your ID document, are held for 3 years after your most recent test result 
  • Video and audio recording of the test taker and their computer screen captured during the remote proctoring of your IELTS Online test is held for 60 days after your IELTS Online test 
  • Video of your speaking test is held for 3 months after your IELTS Online test 
  • Audio of your speaking test is held for 3 years after your IELTS Online test

We may also retain certain other records for other legitimate reasons (including after your relationship with the IELTS Owner(s) has ended), for example to resolve any potential disputes, to comply with other reporting and retention obligations, or for the prevention of fraud. 

All the personal information that we collect and generate during the test (e.g. video and voice recording, your answers to the questions or the document to prove your identity, such as your Identity Card or your Passport) is temporarily stored on the device you take the test on and normally removed at the end of the test. If the test process is not completed some of this personal information will remain on the device until manually removed.  

Your rights in relation to your personal data

Under data protection law, you have rights including: 

  • Your right of access – you have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information. However, material produced in your IELTS Online test will not generally be provided. 
  • Your right to rectification – you have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete. 
  • Your right to erasure – you have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances. This may not be possible in all cases when it comes to maintaining a record of your results. 
  • Your right to restriction of processing – you have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances. 
  • Your right to object to processing – you have the right to object to the processing of your information in certain circumstances. 
  • Your right to data portability – you have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisations, or to you, in certain circumstances 
  • You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you. 

For more information on these rights please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website at https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/ 

If you wish to exercise any of the rights detailed above, please email the IELTS partner that you register with using the following details: 

For further details on exercising your rights in relation to personal data processed by the IELTS Owners please see the privacy and data protection policies of the IELTS Owners for IELTS at https://www.ielts.org/policy/privacy-policy

Making a complaint

If you are unhappy about how we have handled your personal information, we have procedures in place to deal with your enquiries or complaints.  

In the first instance, you should address your complaint to the IELTS Owner through whom you booked your test. Your booking confirmation will specify whether this is the British Council or IDP Education. 

If you wish to raise a complaint with the British Council, please contact IGDisclosures@britishcouncil.org 

If you feel we have intruded on your privacy or misused your data, you are able to raise a complaint as follows: 

In Australia - Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) website at https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-complaints 

In the UK - Information Commissioner’s Office https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/ 

Website usage and other information collected on this website

The IELTS Owners’ Privacy Notice applies solely to information collected by us and may differ from the policies of other companies’ or organisations’ websites that you link to from this website. We recommend that you read the privacy policy of any other companies’ or organisations website that you link to from our website.