Personal data: GDPR and data explanation

Personal data: what does GDPR say?

In the first paragraph of the art. 9 of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) there is a definition of personal data. Attached to this definition, you can find the prohibition of processing such data:

“Processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.”

However, in the second paragraph of the same article there is a list of curcumstances that allow this kind of processing.

“Paragraph 1 shall not apply if one of the following applies:
a) the data subject has given explicit consent to the processing of those personal data for one or more specified purposes, except where Union or Member State law provide that the prohibition referred to in paragraph 1 may not be lifted by the data subject;
b) processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of employment and social security and social protection law in so far as it is authorised by Union or Member State law or a collective agreement pursuant to Member State law providing for appropriate safeguards for the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;
c) processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent;
d) processing is carried out in the course of its legitimate activities with appropriate safeguards by a foundation, association or any other not-for-profit body with a political, philosophical, religious or trade union aim and on condition that the processing relates solely to the members or to former members of the body or to persons who have regular contact with it in connection with its purposes and that the personal data are not disclosed outside that body without the consent of the data subjects;
e) processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject;
f) processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity;
g) processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;
h) processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services on the basis of Union or Member State law or pursuant to contract with a health professional and subject to the conditions and safeguards referred to in paragraph 3;
i) processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices, on the basis of Union or Member State law which provides for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject, in particular professional secrecy;
j) processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) based on Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.”

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Personal data

As previously said, according to the GDPR, personal data refers to the most intimate and private sphere of a person. From the previously listed categories, we can extrapolate two subcategories (sex life and health) that needs to be considered as supersensitive.

According to GDPR, this category includes genetic data and biometric data as well because these kinds of data identify a person.

Personal data: identificative data

Any information that allows to identify a person (identificative data) is called PII (PII, Personally identifiable information) and this includes:

  • Name and surname;
  • Mail address;
  • Address;
  • Passport number;
  • IP address (when linked to other data);
  • Credit card number;
  • Birth date;
  • Face;
  • Digital fingerprints or handwriting;
  • Birth place;
  • Digital identity;
  • Account name or nickname;
  • Phone number;
  • Genetic information.

Personal data: anonymous and pseudo-anonymous data

Companies can anonymize data, what does it mean? It means stripping data of any identificative element. This set of anonymized data will not be considered as personal data anymore.

On the other hand, pseudo-anonymous data have their key identificative element replaced with another element (it could be characters or a nickname). In this way, identification is very difficult and a decryption key becomes necessary.

Unlike anonymous data, these data are personal because, using another data, it is possible to go back to the data subject.

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Personal data: Swascan and GDPR

Swascan offers specific CyberSecurity services to help companies manage GDPR Compliance and Security.

In order to assure to your business the best tool available, Swascan together with Raoul Chiesa ( Raoul Chiesa interview ) developed a special cybersecurity platform. It is completely in Cloud, Pay per Use and SaaS. You can see for yourself in our brochure: Cybersecurity platform and have an in-depth look at our services. Our four services cover all the governance needs in terms of risk management and periodic assessment. Basically, the right tools to understand your focus areas are Vulnerability Assessment, Network Scan, Code Review and GDPR Assessment. Last but not least, don’t forget GDPR: our platform is 100% GDPR compliant ( GDPR infographic ) and to provide a full documentation here you can find some information about the new figure introduced by this law: DPO .