• 2 min read

What is personal data?


Personal data is defined in the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) as: “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

So when we talk about personal data it means data in relation to a living person (which therefore excludes information about someone who is deceased and information about a company or LLP) who can be identified from the information. At a basic level, an employee’s email address is personal data, as is their work telephone number and email address. A perhaps less obvious example of personal data is data which a business receives about the location of a company car which is recorded by reference to the registration of the vehicle where the business has details of the employee to whom the vehicle with that registration has been allocated. Another example may be the bank details of a supplier who is a sole trader or a traditional (non-LLP) partnership.

Identifying personal data is not necessarily straightforward. However, it is important for businesses to know what personal data they are processing as they will have various obligations in relation to that data under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Our article “What is personal data” explains in more detail the concept of ‘personal data’.

Our data protection team have many years of experience in advising organisations on their compliance with UK data protection law. To speak to one of the team you can get in touch here or call us on 0800 2800 421. 

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