Personal data refers to any type of information that relates to a living person. Examples of personal data include, date of birth, passport number, email, home address amongst others. In numerous circumstances, we as individuals find ourselves in situations where we have to disclose some personal information. These events occur on a daily basis. To illustrate this, when you are shopping online and making an order, you will usually be asked for some information such as your name, email, shipping address etc. It happens all the time, when opening a bank account, buying a flight ticket, or simply answering a survey. However, have you ever wondered how this information is stored and how it is processed?

Privacy is a very important matter in peoples social, professional and personal lives. Moreover, the privacy of personal information has a large impact on the private life of citizens. The law has recognised the importance of personal data and the need for it to be addressed by the public and other organisations during general daily operations.

The the processing, collection and proper use of the personal data is regulated by EU Law and in particular by the general Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Regulation 2016/679, that entered into force in May 2016 and was implemented as of the 25th of May 2018. GDPR  applies to all areas of the public and the private sector.

F. Boehm, ‘Assessing The New Instruments In EU-US Data Protection Law For Law Enforcement And Surveillance Purposes’ (2016) 2 European Data Protection Law Review.

M. Brkan, ‘Data Protection And Conflict-Of-Laws: A Challenging Relationship’ (2016) 2 European Data Protection Law Review.

We are living in a digital, connected world. For this reason, when we talk about protecting our data we do not only think about keeping our letters private or avoiding the neighbours from knowing our political or religious beliefs.

Data protection laws in all countries are a measure to protect the individual’s personal data, by controlling how it is used by entities who may have them. Even if there might be differences between countries depending on their laws, some basics are always considered sensitive information (religious background, race, information about children …).

Data protection is especially controlled all over the European Union due to the recent Data Protection Act, which applied on May 25, 2018. Anyway, in the following chapter we will have a deeper vision on how it is conceived in each country.


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