Revisiting the Basics of EU Data Protection Law: On the Material and Territorial Scope of the GDPR

Revisiting the Basics of EU Data Protection Law: On the Material and Territorial Scope of the GDPR

Dimosthenis Lentzis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9489-5.ch002
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It is often said that the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a much broader material and territorial scope than the EU Data Protection Directive it has recently replaced. This chapter tries to find out if (and, if so, to what extent) this assumption is correct. To this end, it analyzes, in the light of the existing case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, the relevant provisions of the GDPR, namely Articles 2 and 3. It comes out that the GDPR has a slightly different (but not necessarily broader) material scope and a broader (but not as broad as one would expect) territorial scope than the old EU Data Protection Directive.
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Material Scope Of The Gdpr

The rules on the material scope of the GDPR are contained in Art. 2 thereof. Art. 2(1) specifies the situations in which the GDPR applies (section 1), whereas Art. 2(2) lists the situations excluded from its application (section 2).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Data Controller: The natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by Union or Member State law, the controller or the specific criteria for its nomination may be provided for by Union or Member State law (GDPR, Art. 4(7)).

Processing: Any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction (GDPR, Art. 4(2)).

Manual Filing System: Any structured set of personal data which are accessible according to specific criteria, whether centralised, decentralised or dispersed on a functional or geographical basis (GDPR, Art. 4 (6)).

Data Subject: An identified or identifiable natural person. An identifiable natural person is a person that can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.

Data Processor: A natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller (GDPR, Art. 4(8)).

Personal Data: Any information relating to a data subject.

Profiling: Any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person's performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements (GDPR, Art. 4(4)).

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