What is personal data?

Personal data is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person’.

Personal data can be used to identify an individual either directly or indirectly. Directly identifiable data might include a person’s name, application log-in information, or social security number. Indirectly identifiable information is data that, when combined with other information, could identify an individual, for example geolocation, IP address or physical address. Figure 1 sets out the characteristics of personal and sensitive data often collected and shared about people.

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