A Glossary of Terms and Definitions as used in relation to the GDPR.

GDPR Glossary

Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs)- a set of binding rules put in place to allow multinational companies and organisations to transfer personal data that they control from the EU to their affiliates outside the EU (but within the organisation)


Biometric Data - any personal data relating to the physical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics of an individual which allows their unique identification


Consent- freely given, specific, informed and explicit consent by statement or action signifying agreement to the processing of their personal data

Data Concerning Health - any personal data related to the physical or mental health of an individual or the provision of health services to them

Data Controller - the entity that determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data

Data Erasure - also known as the Right to be Forgotten, it entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties cease processing of the data

Data Portability - the requirement for controllers to provide the data subject with a copy of his or her data in a format that allows for easy use with another controller (more info here)

Data Processor - the entity that processes data on behalf of the Data Controller

Data Protection Authority - national authorities tasked with the protection of data and privacy as well as monitoring and enforcement of the data protection regulations within the Union

Data Protection Officer - an expert on data privacy who works independently to ensure that an entity is adhering to the policies and procedures set forth in the GDPR (more info here)

Data Subject - a natural person whose personal data is processed by a controller or processor

Delegated Acts - non-legislative acts enacted in order to supplement existing legislation and provide criteria or clarity

Derogation - an exemption from a law

Directive - a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve through their own national laws

Encrypted Data - personal data that is protected through technological measures to ensure that the data is only accessible/readable by those with specified access

Enterprise - any entity engaged in economic activity, regardless of legal form, including persons, partnerships, associations, etc.

Filing System - any specific set of personal data that is accessible according to specific criteria, or able to be queried

Genetic Data - data concerning the characteristics of an individual which are inherited or acquired which give unique information about the health or physiology of the individual

Group of Undertakings - a controlling undertaking and its controlled undertakings

Main Establishment - the place within the Union that the main decisions surrounding data processing are made; with regard to the processor

Personal Data - any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person

Personal Data Breach - a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful access to, destruction, misuse, etc. of personal data

Privacy by Design - a principle that calls for the inclusion of data protection from the onset of the designing of systems, rather than an addition

Privacy Impact Assessment - a tool used to identify and reduce the privacy risks of entities by analysing the personal data that are processed and the policies in place to protect the data

Processing - any operation performed on personal data, whether or not by automated means, including collection, use, recording, etc.

Profiling - any automated processing of personal data intended to evaluate, analyse, or predict data subject behavior

Pseudonymisation - the processing of personal data such that it can no longer be attributed to a single data subject without the use of additional data, so long as said additional data stays separate to ensure non-attribution

Recipient - entity to which the personal data are disclosed

Regulation - a binding legislative act that must be applied in its entirety across the Union

Representative - any person in the Union explicitly designated by the controller to be addressed by the supervisory authorities

Right to be Forgotten - also known as Data Erasure, it entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties cease processing of the data

Right to Access - also known as Subject Access Right, it entitles the data subject to have access to and information about the personal data that a controller has concerning them

Subject Access Right - also known as the Right to Access, it entitles the data subject to have access to and information about the personal data that a controller has concerning them

Supervisory Authority - a public authority which is established by a member state in accordance with article 46

Trilogues - informal negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union usually held following the first readings of proposed legislation in order to more quickly agree to a compromise text to be adopted.