The Scottish Register of Tartans

20 July 2024
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Privacy Statement


The Scottish Register of Tartans ( is a government website owned, operated and managed by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

When you use the Scottish Register of Tartans we collect certain information or data about you. We recognise the importance of protecting the privacy of the users of our website and this privacy notice tells you what to expect when the Scottish Register of Tartans collects personal information. It applies to information we collect when you:

  • visit this website (including cookies, IP addresses, hostnames and search engine)
  • register an account with this website
  • apply to register a tartan
  • allow us to contact you by email
  • use our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter)
  • email or make a complaint to us
  • want to access your personal information

It also explains when and how we disclose personal information.

The controller of the personal information we process is the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. They can be contacted via the NRS Data Protection Officer, whose address is at the end of this notice.

Visit the Website

Information collected by this website

Information that is routinely collected by this website consists mainly of website log files.

Website log files

All websites produce log files that record the activity on that site. Log files record which pages on the site have been accessed and how many times. From this information it is possible to produce statistics such as how busy the website is, which pages are the most popular and whether there are any broken links.

Log files typically record the IP address and/or hostname of all users accessing the website. This allows us to distinguish between different users and therefore estimate the number of unique visitors to the website. IP addresses and hostnames are not linked to any individual's personally identifiable information.

Specific IP addresses and hostnames will not be made publicly available. They will only be used by website log file software to compile overall summary statistical reports on the performance of the website.

Website log files are stored securely on the website using industry best practice methods for safeguarding information and server functions.

When you delete your account with us some material, including log and activity records, may remain in our database for management information purposes, but this is disassociated from any personal identifiers.

Cookies and Google Analytics

To gather information about how people use this site ( we use Google Analytics. The information collected helps us investigate whether the website meets its users’ needs as well as to evaluate how the website can be improved. Google Analytics stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you clicked on. We do not collect or store your personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

Use of cookies

Websites may be allowed, depending on your browser settings, to create and store small files in a specific directory on your computer to help with the functionality of the site. These files are called 'cookies' and cannot harm your computer. Only the website that created the cookie can subsequently reuse it.

There are two types of cookies:

  • Session Cookies - these are temporary cookie files, which are erased when you close your browser. When you restart your browser and go back to the site that created the cookie, the website will not recognize you.
  • Persistent Cookies - these remain on your computer for a period of time to allow a website to recognise you when you return and present you with the appropriate customised pages

Cookies used by the Scottish Register of Tartans website for Google Analytics are as follows :

For further details on these cookies, please refer to the Google Code website.

The Scottish Register of Tartans website also uses session cookies to pass information between pages within the site, for instance when you fill out forms or to hold details of a search you are carrying out. These cookies are all deleted as soon as you close your browser, and are never shared with any other website or organisation.

Search Engine

The Scottish Register of Tartans website uses a search engine. No user-specific data is collected or used by our website search facility.

Security and Performance

The Scottish Register of Tartans uses a third party service to help maintain the security, performance and availability of the website. IP addresses of visitors to the website are processed to deliver this service. The information collected is not linked to any individual's personally identifiable information.

IP addresses and hostnames

An IP address is the numeric address of a computer. The IP address recorded on website log files is the address provided by your internet service provider's equipment and not your own personal computer's address.

Hostnames are similar in appearance to the domain names you see in URLs and email addresses. The hostnames recorded on website log files are those of the internet service provider's equipment that you are using to access the internet, and not your own computer's name or location.

Your internet service provider will keep records of which customer is using any IP address or hostname at any given time, and so it is theoretically possible to trace back activity shown on any website log file to a specific individual. In practice, this can only be done with the explicit involvement of the internet service provider, and such a trace would therefore only take place in the event of serious criminal misuse of the internet and would be carried out by the police.

NRS will not attempt to associate IP addresses and hostnames with individuals. In the event of serious criminal misuse of the website, the matter would be referred to the police for investigation.

Register an Account with this Website

Our ‘Sign Up’ page explains how to create a user account. You are responsible for ensuring that all of your personal information is correct and up-to-date. You can change your information under ‘Edit Your Account’ or request changes by emailing [email protected].

Please note that you need to be 16 years or older to register with this website. By registering on the Scottish Register of Tartans website you are confirming that you are either 16 years or older.

Deleting your account

You may request the deletion of your user account at any time by emailing [email protected]. If you have not registered a tartan we will delete all of your personal information. Once your account is deleted, there is no option for recovery.

Apply to Register a Tartan

When you complete an application for tartan registration you must provide us with your customer details. We cannot delete this information as we need it to maintain the registration of your tartan in the Scottish Register of Tartans.

Publication of contact details in the Register

When you complete an application to register a tartan you can choose whether you want your name and address or email address to be published online in the Scottish Register of Tartans. If you decide that you want your customer details to be published and then subsequently change your mind you can request that your information is taken down from the website by emailing [email protected].

Contacting you by email

We process your personal data for the purposes of providing the service that you have signed up for. We may send you emails where we will be making a change to the website you should be aware of or where it is necessary to resolve a problem with the website or its services. You cannot unsubscribe from these emails.

We can also send notifications of the registration of new tartan designs. When you register for an account you have the option to opt in to receive these emails. Should you change your mind once you have opted in, each tartan email notification gives you the option to unsubscribe or you can go to your user account and click ‘Request news updates/unsubscribe’ and then select ‘Unsubscribe to news updates’.

Social Media

When you contact us via Twitter or Facebook

The Scottish Register of Tartans uses Hootsuite, a third party provider, to manage its social media interactions. Hootsuite stores messages sent by you via social media for three months. These will not be shared with any other organisations.

When you contact us via email or make a complaint

When you email the Scottish Register of Tartans

When you contact us via email, we will retain your email and our response to it for business reasons usually for no longer than 5 years. Thereafter the information will be confidentially destroyed.

When you make a complaint to us

When you make a complaint to us, we ask for your full name and address as well as for as much detail about the complaint as possible. This information is stored in a file which is restricted to specific staff handling the complaint within NRS, who operates and manages the Scottish Register of Tartans. We retain the material for 5 years and destroy it thereafter confidentially.

In most cases we will have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about in order to resolve the matter. If a person making a complaint would prefer to stay anonymous, we will do our best to ensure this, but it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.

Complaints or queries about our use of personal information

The Scottish Register of Tartans takes any complaints we receive about how we collect and use personal information very seriously, as we try to meet the highest standards in this regard. If you think that we collect or use information unfairly, misleadingly or inappropriately, please contact us and bring this to our attention. We also welcome any thoughts and suggestions for improving our procedures.

You also have the right to report your concerns to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). For more information visit the ICO website (

This privacy notice was drafted with brevity and clarity in mind. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of the Scottish Register of Tartans’ collection and use of personal information. More details about how we may use personal information to carry our functions is provided throughout this website. We are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any requests for this should be sent to the address below.

Access to personal information

You can find out if we hold any personal information on you by making a ‘subject access request’ under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • provide you with a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it and how long for;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • where possible let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

A subject access request needs to be made in writing (either by email, letter or by using our form). You can find out more about the process of requesting information on our dedicated website page.

If you find that the information we hold about you is incorrect, you can make a request for this to be corrected. In addition, you can ask us to delete the information. We may, however, need to retain some information we hold to enable us to administer registrations in the Scottish Register of Tartans.

Requests to take down content

You can ask for content to be taken down from our websites. We will only do this in certain cases, for example, if it breaches copyright laws, contains sensitive personal data, or material that may be considered defamatory or obscene. You will need to send us details of the content and explain why you think it should be removed. When a valid request is received, the content will be temporarily taken down from public view on the website pending the review process.

Takedown requests are assessed by an NRS Takedown panel composed of staff with relevant experience and chaired by a senior manager. All assessments will be completed within 30 days of the request being received and we will let you know the outcome. Any decision to remove/take down content is at our discretion. This does not affect your statutory rights to request information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018. For more information please read our Takedown and Reclosure Policy.

Disclosure of personal information

We will not disclose personal data you provide without consent in most cases, but as highlighted above, we might need to do so when we investigate a complaint, or want to obtain a reference or a ‘disclosure’. We will inform you of this beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law to prevent and detect crime or to produce anonymised statistics.

Links to other websites

This statement does not cover links within this site to other websites.

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated on 2 September 2019.

How to contact us

If you want to request information about our privacy policy you can use our contact form or write to:

Data Protection Officer
National Records of Scotland
HM General Register House
2 Princes Street