Key Definitions

The following terms are used in this guidance:

“ICO” the Information Commissioner’s Office. The ICO is the regulator for data protection and privacy matters in the UK. The ICO’s website is

“Criminal offence data” Personal data relating to criminal offences and convictions. Additional rules apply to the processing of criminal conviction data. Under data protection legislation, criminal conviction data is treated separately to special category data (see below) despite them both being sensitive types of data.

“Personal data” is any information relating to a living person who can be directly or indirectly identified by reference to an identifier. In a security and surveillance context, this includes in particular CCTV footage/images, access control data, payroll numbers, biometric data, vehicle number plates, etc. Personal data can be as little as a name.

“Special category data” information revealing an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health conditions, sexual life, sexual orientation, biometric or genetic data. These are more sensitive categories of personal data and additional rules apply to their processing.