How can the Data Protection Act help me?

The Data Protection Act implements the General Data Protecetion Regulation and makes provision for the protection of individuals against the violation of their privacy by the processing of personal data. The Act establishes obligations on data controllers on the way how personal data is to be processed, based on the priciples of good information handling.

What are the basic principles of good information handling?

The principles as set out in article 5 of the GDPR, assure that your information about you is handled properly. 

They state that data must be:

  1. Fairly and lawfully processed;
  2. Processed in accordance with good practice;
  3. Collected for specific, explicitly stated and legitimate purposes;
  4. Processed for reasons compatible with the reason it was collected;
  5. Adequate and relevant to the processing purpose;
  6. Not more than is required for processing purpose;
  7. Correct and, if necessary, up to date;
  8. Completed, corrected, blocked or erased, if the data is found to be incomplete or incorrect with regard to its processing purpose;
  9. Not kept for longer than is necessary;
  10. Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data. ​

What is Personal Data?

Personal data means any information about an identifiable living individual. The GDPR makes also specific provisions for special categories of data, which includes:

  • Racial or ethnic origin;
  • Political opinions;
  • Religious of philosophical beliefs;
  • Membership of a trade union;
  • Health or sex life.​

What is the Right of Access?

Article 15 GDPR provides that a data subject has a right of access over his or her own personal data. Where personal data relating to you is being processed, you are entitled to receive a copy of such information together with:

  • The categories of personal data concerned;
  • The envisaged period for which the personal data will be strored or the criteria used to determine that period;
  • The purpose of the processing;
  • Any recipients or categories of recipients of the data;
  • Logic involved in any automatic processing of data relating to you;
  • Where the personal data are not collected from the data subject, any available information as to their source;
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority;
  • The existence of the right to request from the controller rectification, erasure, restriction or the right to object to such processing.

In exercising your right of access, you need to write to the organisation, or to the DPO if such person is designated, you believe holds the information. The request must be made at reasonable intervals.  Controllers are required to respond to this specific right within 30 days from receiving the request. 

What about paper records and filing systems?

The GDPR and Data Protection apply to both electronic and paper records provided that such paper records are kept in a filing system and structured according to specific criteria.

What is a data controller?

A data controller is a natural and legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing pesonal data.

To whom shall I make the complaint?

The Data Subject may bring up the case to the Office of the Information and Data Commissioner by lodging a complaint online or else by submitting the report by conventional mail or by email at idpc.info@idpc.org.mt.

What are the tasks of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner?

The GDPR establishes, inter alia, the following tasks of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner:

  • ​​monitor and enforce the application of this Regulation; 
  • promote public awareness and understanding of the risks, rules, safeguards and rights in relation to processing. Activities addressed specifically to children shall receive specific attention; 
  • advise, in accordance with Member State law, the national parliament, the government, and other institutions and bodies on legislative and administrative measures relating to the protection of natural persons' rights and freedoms with regard to processing; 
  • promote the awareness of controllers and processors of their obligations under this Regulation; 
  • upon request, provide information to any data subject concerning the exercise of their rights under this Regulation and, if appropriate, cooperate with the supervisory authorities in other Member States to that end;
  • handle complaints lodged by a data subject, or by a body, organisation or association in accordance with Article 80, and investigate, to the extent appropriate, the subject matter of the complaint and inform the complainant of the progress and the outcome of the investigation within a reasonable period, in particular if further investigation or coordination with another supervisory authority is necessary; 
  • cooperate with, including sharing information and provide mutual assistance to, other supervisory authorities with a view to ensuring the consistency of application and enforcement of this Regulation; 
  • conduct investigations on the application of this Regulation, including on the basis of information received from another supervisory authority or other public authority; 
  • monitor relevant developments, insofar as they have an impact on the protection of personal data, in particular the development of information and communication technologies and commercial practices; 
  • adopt standard contractual clauses referred to in Article 28(8) and in point (d) of Article 46(2); 
  • establish and maintain a list in relation to the requirement for data protection impact assessment pursuant to Article 35(4); 
  • give advice on the processing operations referred to in Article 36(2); 
  • encourage the drawing up of codes of conduct pursuant to Article 40(1) and provide an opinion and approve such codes of conduct which provide sufficient safeguards, pursuant to Article 40(5); 
  • encourage the establishment of data protection certification mechanisms and of data protection seals and marks pursuant to Article 42(1), and approve the criteria of certification pursuant to Article 42(5);
  • where applicable, carry out a periodic review of certifications issued in accordance with Article 42(7); 
  • draft and publish the criteria for accreditation of a body for monitoring codes of conduct pursuant to Article 41 and of a certification body pursuant to Article 43; 
  • conduct the accreditation of a body for monitoring codes of conduct pursuant to Article 41 and of a certification body pursuant to Article 43; 
  • authorise contractual clauses and provisions referred to in Article 46(3); 
  • approve binding corporate rules pursuant to Article 47; 
  • contribute to the activities of the Board;
  • keep internal records of infringements of this Regulation and of measures taken in accordance with Article 58(2); and 
  • fulfil any other tasks related to the protection of personal data.