Glossary of Data Privacy Terms

When talking about data privacy as well as your privacy rights it is important to be familiar with some of the most commonly used terms. Some are just everyday words, but when used in the context of data privacy they are important. The following terms and definitions were taken from the Data Privacy Act of 2012.


Data subject refers to an individual whose personal information is processed.


Consent of the data subject refers to any freely given, specific, informed indication of will, whereby the data subject agrees to the collection and processing of personal information about and/or relating to him or her. Consent shall be evidenced by written, electronic or recorded means. It may also be given on behalf of the data subject by an agent specifically authorized by the data subject to do so.


Direct marketing refers to communication by whatever means of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.


Filing system refers to any act of information relating to natural or juridical persons to the extent that, although the information is not processed by equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific information relating to a particular person is readily accessible.


Information and Communications System refers to a system for generating, sending, receiving, storing or otherwise processing electronic data messages or electronic documents and includes the computer system or other similar device by or which data is recorded, transmitted or stored and any procedure related to the recording, transmission or storage of electronic data, electronic message, or electronic document.


Personal information refers to any information whether recorded in a material form or not, from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would directly and certainly identify an individual.


Personal information controller refers to a person or organization who controls the collection, holding, processing or use of personal information, including a person or organization who instructs another person or organization to collect, hold, process, use, transfer or disclose personal information on his or her behalf. The term excludes:


  1. A person or organization who performs such functions as instructed by another person or organization; and
  2. An individual who collects, holds, processes or uses personal information in connection with the individual’s personal, family or household affairs.


Personal information processor refers to any natural or juridical person qualified to act as such under this Act to whom a personal information controller may outsource the processing of personal data pertaining to a data subject.


Processing refers to any operation or any set of operations performed upon personal information including, but not limited to, the collection, recording, organization, storage, updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or destruction of data.


Privileged information refers to any and all forms of data which under the Rules of Court and other pertinent laws constitute privileged communication.

Sensitive personal information refers to personal information:

  1. About an individual’s race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color, and religious, philosophical or political affiliations;
  2. About an individual’s health, education, genetic or sexual life of a person, or to any proceeding for any offense committed or alleged to have been committed by such person, the disposal of such proceedings, or the sentence of any court in such proceedings;
  3. Issued by government agencies peculiar to an individual which includes, but not limited to, social security numbers, previous or cm-rent health records, licenses or its denials, suspension or revocation, and tax returns; and
  4. Specifically established by an executive order or an act of Congress to be kept classified.