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Personal data means information from which a person can be identified. What identifies an individual could be:

  • as simple as a name, e-mail address, assigned number; such telephone number, National Identification Number, Tax Identification Number, Social Security Number.
  • Or it could be information relating to an individual; such as nationality, age, marital status, educational level qualifications, occupation, behaviour and preferences like internet searches and browser history.

Within personal data, there is a category called special personal data which reveals information about an individual that is sensitive that includes the following:

  • racial or ethnic origin;
  • political opinion;
  • religious or philosophical beliefs;
  • trade union membership;
  • genetic data;
  • biometric data;
  • health status or medical records;
  • sexual life;
  • financial information.

Special personal data is sensitive in nature and therefore requires a higher level of protection.

Personal data doesn’t have to be in written form, it can also be information about what an individual looks or sounds like, for example photos or audio or video recordings.

NOTE: personal data does not include: any data about a dead person; any information, facts or opinions that do not relate to, or identify people (e.g. employment statistics, company information).

Who is a Data Controller?

Means a person who alone or jointly with other persons or in common with other persons or as a statutory duty determines the purposes for and the manner in which personal data is processed or is to be processed.

A controller is the person that decides how and why to collect and use the personal data. This will usually be an organisation, but can be an individual (e.g. a sole trader). If you are an employee acting on behalf of your employer, the employer would be the controller. The controller must make sure that the processing of that data complies with the Act.

Who is a Data Processor?

In relation to personal data, means a person other than an employee of the data controller who processes the data on behalf of the data controller.

What is a ‘data subject’?

This is the technical term for an individual from whom or in respect of whom personal data has been requested, collected, collated, processed or stored.

What are the individual’s rights under the Data Protection and Privacy Act?

  1. Right to access personal data.
  • to rectification, blocking, erasure and destruction of personal data.
  • s in relation to automated decision-taking.
  • Right to file a complaint against breach and non-compliance.

Please visit the page on “Rights of Individuals under the Data Protection and Privacy Act” for more information on these rights and how to exercise them.

This Article Also Answers the Following Questions :

  • Who is a Data Controller?
  • Who is a Data Processor?
  • What is a ‘data subject’?
  • What are the individual’s rights under the Data Protection and Privacy Act?

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