Privacy vs Data Protection Law

| 14 Jun 2023

privacy vs data protection

Privacy, Data Protection Law, One and the Same?  

The introduction of data protection legislation and the subsequent enactment of the GDPR has led to privacy becoming a buzzword and taking prominence, oftentimes mistaken for ‘data protection’.  In reality, privacy has been around much before data protection and is in fact the reason why our collective values in privacy have spurred the creation of the data protection legal regime as we know it today.  

Privacy Rights are Main Source for Data Protection Law  

Nowadays, privacy and privacy regulation are more encompassing than data protection, providing protection to more facets of our lives than we may realise. Seen as the precursor principle of data protection, privacy regulation theoretically protects the privacy of data of all individuals even where data protection may somehow not reach.  This is because privacy stems from our core fundamental rights, finding its way into different specific legal regimes over the years. In the domain of security and public surveillance, for instance, privacy and the voiced concerns of many have taken centre stage in recent years.  

Overview of Privacy Rights and Data Protection Law  

Whilst Data Privacy is many a time used interchangeably with Data Protection, one may appreciate the difference between the two by the scope and effects of their protection on individuals. For instance, in order to invoke and utilise the legal safeguards of data protection, one must prove that prescribed shortcomings have taken place, such as a lack of consent obtained or other lacking in legal basis to process one’s data. On the other hand, Data Privacy is often times used to protect the fundamental rights of individuals who suffer abuse as a result of the processing of their data, which is otherwise technically permissible in legal terms.   

Privacy Rights vs Data Protection Law  

Both legal domains have their strengths and their weaknesses, as is the case with any legal tool humanity has designed. In contesting the manner of data processing against an individual, data protection would be more suitable than data privacy in light of its clearly defined and prescribed legal provisions. On the other hand, invoking the Privacy principle against a governmental authority is able to seek more substantive redress than invoking data protection law.  

These vast legal domains may be synthesised further. Data protection focusses on safeguarding your data to prevent it from unlawful access by unauthorised parties, and to mitigate potential damage which may ensue, by providing tools and a framework to restrict the access to such data. Data Privacy on the other hand is geared toward ensuring the authorized access of data by virtue of defining who has authorisation to access and to what extent.  

Freedom of Expression and Privacy  

The reality of the tug of war between freedom of expression and privacy has become more pronounced with the involvement of large data sharing websites, resulting into a niche of its own - Online Intermediary Liability. Taking a step back however to juxtapose freedom of expression and privacy, various notable attempts to aptly reconcile these two fundamental rights, whilst endeavouring to promote privacy in general can be seen by examples such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the forthcoming ePrivacy Regulation.   

Our technology law team is not only highly conversant in the technical and legal aspects of these tools for individuals, but has also garnered hands-on experience in addressing infringements of privacy law; for instance, defamatory or unjustifiably prejudicial information posted on the web. Our commitment for results has resulted in our service area of Reputation Management.  

How We Can Help - Our Privacy Law Practice  

Harnessing the tenants of Privacy Law, Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates’ experience includes: 

  • Content removal and delisting from search engines of unlawfully prejudicial and undesirable published information. 
  • Content takedown of untruthful information published, including defamatory published matter. 
  • Reputation Management.  
  • Website and data marketing compliance, including Privacy Policy service.  
  • Surveillance advisory and disputes, such as CCTV matters.  

Chetcuti Cauchi’s Privacy Lawyers   

We understand how essential it is for privacy, including data protection, to be respected and how fundamental the right to maintaining an unblemished reputation is for all individuals. Our Privacy lawyers are IT law and tech savvy lawyers with a passion for unravelling the nuances of technology and privacy law to protect fundamental rights, and over the years have garnered noteworthy results in these areas of law.  


Request More Information

Please send me legal and other updates