What is Personal Data?

February 27, 2008

Please see the Recommended link on the right for the SCL online CPD scheme questions

Whether particular data is “personal” or not is very important, defining the scope of data protection legislation and the jurisdiction of the European Data Protection Authorities. Central to this issue is identifying the points at which and individual is “identified” or “identifiable” and when data may be said to “relate” to such an individual.

Mark Watts will look at the meanings of “identified”, “identifiable” and “anonymous” both under UK law and the European Data Protection Directive. Referring to recent case law and the Article 29 Working Party Paper on the meaning “personal data” Mark will talk about the position of IP addresses, cookies and coded clinical trial samples and under what circumstances they should or shouldn’t be considered as personal data.

Phil Jones will talk about the ICO guidance on personal data published last year. He will explain the background to the guidance, the reasons for the approach taken, and highlight contentious areas. He will also look ahead to the complementary guidance on the meaning of “relevant filing system” that the ICO hope to publish shortly.

Dr Mark Watts is co-head of Bristows IT practice. He advises companies on IT legal issues such as software development, system deployment, outsourcing, e-commerce and data protection.  Much of Mark’s experience was gained in-house at IBM where he held various international roles.
Mark has advised on many high-profile private and public sector outsourcing transactions.  He advises companies deploying business critical IT platforms and applications, as well as on the creation of social networking websites, WIKIs and online trading websites.  Mark has particular expertise in data protection; he was Global Privacy Counsel at IBM for many years.  He advises many multinational companies on international data protection compliance, particularly with regard to international data transfers.
Mark is on the correspondent panel of Computer Law & Security and is a member of the editorial board of Privacy & Data Protection.

Phil Jones, Assistant Commissioner, is head of Data Protection Practice.  He and his team are charged with providing advice and guidance to organisations in both the Private and Public Sector on the application of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation 2003.  Before joining the then Data Protection Registrar’s office in 1990 Phil worked for VSO as a Field Director in Nigeria, the Pacific and Sri Lanka. Before that Phil was a Further Education Lecturer in Nottinghamshire.