GDPR personal data – what information does this cover?
What is meant by GDPR personal data and how it relates to businesses and individuals.
Under GDPR, personal data means any information that could feasibly be used to identify a person.
Personal data covers a much broader definition than the previous legislation demanded. While it includes the obvious personal information such as This includes credit card number, email address, name and date of birth, it also covers political opinions, race, gender and much more.
Today, social media and smartphones are everywhere. This changes the kind of personal information that’s shared by users. It includes biometric data, such as retina scans and fingerprint identification. It also covers location data from Google Maps, IP addresses and absolutely everything people share online.
Personal data is sometimes referred to as personally identifiable information (PII) and is evolving as fast as technology is changing. Pseudonymous data must come under personal data for companies auditing their websites and information. This refers to data that can’t be used on its own to identify a person, but in conjunction with other pieces of personal data it can be used to do so.
Which pieces of personal data are legally defined as PII does depend on the country of origin. PII can vary from region to region but the GDPR refers to data relating to a person that can be identified from it, either directly or indirectly.
This covers a wide range of identifiers that includes but is not restricted to:
GDPR refers to processing personal data that:
Personal data relating to GDPR does not cover:
What are GDPR identifiers?
A person can be identified if they are distinguishable from another individual.
The most common identifier is a name. But any possibly identifier can feasibly identify a person depending on context. Sometimes a number of identifiers together can identify a person.
GDPR comes with a non-exhaustive list of identifiers, including online identifiers as outlined above.
Identifier checklist for companies:
For more information refer to our dedicated page on special categories of personal data