What is (personal) data privacy?

Personal data is any information that relates to a certain individual. This applies only when an individual can be identified directly from the collected data or indirectly by combining information with some other pieces of information. This data can include someone’s name, IP address, phone number, occupation, home address, email address, medical records, and bank accounts.  

Sometimes the name is not considered personal data. For example, the name Sarah Jones is not personal data because there are many people with the same name. But, combining this name with other information such as phone number and home address, can help identify a person and is considered personal data. It’s important to note that data is considered personal only when it can relate to the individual in question.  

All analytical data is also considered personal data. With help of online identifiers, such as IP addresses and website cookies, companies and websites can track users’ personal data, such as email addresses, phone numbers, even what kind of device they are using. However, companies must always notify users before collecting people’s data.

Why is data privacy important?

Privacy is an enormously important topic today, in part because it is manifested in all kinds of legislative basis. Above all, it is important to understand that privacy is a fundamental human right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. Article 12 manifests that no person

...shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence... .

As such, it needs to be treated with equal importance as any other human right, such as the right to free speech and the right to choose one's one religion freely.

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