Data Protection: The Basic Concepts


When considering the concept of data protection within the European Union, one has to keep in mind that:

  • the data that is being protected is that which relates to an identified or identifiable natural person (“personal data”) and can include information of a sensitive nature such as data reveals an individual’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union, health, or sex life (“sensitive data”);
  • “data processing” means mean any operation or set of operations which is taken in regard to personal data, including the collection, recording, organisation, storage, adaptation, alteration, retrieval, gathering, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making information available, alignment or combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of such data.
  • the protection of any such data remains subject to certain exceptions in the interest of national security or justice.