ANONYMISATION AND PSEUDONYMISATION OF PERSONAL DATA

This blog post is written by Erik Myrberg, lawyer at Synch

Recital 26 of the GDPR clarifies that the principles of data protection should not apply to anonymous information, namely information which does not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person or to personal data rendered anonymous in such a manner that the data subject is no longer identifiable. Yet, the same recital states that personal data which have undergone pseudonymisation and which could be attributed to a natural person by the use of additional information, should be considered to be information on an identifiable natural person. This has led to confusion among some regarding the difference between anonymisation and pseudonymisation.

According to WP29 (an advisory body now replaced by the EDPB) anonymised data is data which previously referred to an identifiable person, but where identification is no longer possible due to the anonymisation. Therefore, anonymisation must prevent any party from singling out an individual otherwise the data is not deemed to be anonymised and thus falls within the definition of personal data according to the GDPR. A common misconception in regard to anonymisation is that handing over data sets with personal data masked or removed would not constitute processing of personal data. This may only be true if the original data sets are either deleted or permanently altered in the same way (and under the circumstances that all personal data is masked or removed from the data sets in such manner that restoration is impossible). In addition, one must also ensure that the data sets cannot be used in combination with other data to identify a natural person, since otherwise the data sets would be considered to contain personal data.

Pseudonymisation means the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific natural person without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person. According to the GDPR, pseudonymisation can be utilized to enhance the level of security connected with processing personal data. It is worth to keep in mind that pseudonymisation does not result in personal data being anonymized nor losing its status as personal data in accordance with the GDPR.
There are today several different techniques available for both anonymisation and pseudonymisation and the matter of encryption is subject to intense research. It is unfortunately not possible to give any general advice on which technique to use and when, as this needs to be determined on a case-by-case-basis. What can be said is that prior to conducting anonymisation or pseudonymisation, it is recommended to consult with a security expert in order to ensure that the desired result is obtained and to avoid any misunderstandings.
On a final note, both the act of anonymisation and pseudonymisation of personal data are still considered to be processing activities under the GDPR, which necessitates considerations of inter alia the lawfulness of such processing and how to comply with retention times obligated by law. If you have any questions or concerns regarding anonymisation or pseudonymisation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

News and Insights
Blog Posts

The Consumer’s Right of Withdrawal

1 hour ago

This blog post was written by Veronica Uddsten, lawyer at Synch Businesses compete not only with their goods and services but also with their sales terms. By giving customers e.g. the possibility to return products if not satisfied, companies may become more attractive. In this blog post in our series on consumer protection, we will examine […]

Press release

Synch advises Greenstep on its first International expansion

Yesterday

Synch is happy to announce that Greenstep has expanded its business to Sweden. Synch acted as legal advisor to Greenstep OY in connection with the expansion. Starting the Swedish business was possible through the acquisition of Melin & Worge Ekonomibyrå. The team today consist of ten people  with the ambition to double the team during […]

News

Sara Sparring is named in the 2020 edition of WIPR Leaders

05/02/2020

We are delighted Synch´s Sara Sparring is named in the 2020 edition of WIPR Leaders . Profiling the leading IP practitioners from around the world, All Leaders were chosen after a four month nomination process, in which WIPR sought views from 12,000 IPprofessionals. You can view the online directory here.

Blog Posts

Order in the Order Process

31/01/2020

This blog post is written by Veronica Uddsten, lawyer at Synch You may be at a point where you have identified a great offering to consumers, and now you are faced with the challenge of putting together an online shop through which consumers can take part of such offering. This leads to the questions what to keep […]

Publications Publikationer

Lyssna på Plånboken om piratkopior, aktörerna bakom piratkopiorna och riskerna med att köpa piratkopierade produkter i P1, SR Play

29/01/2020

En av Synchs grundare, advokat Sara Sparring (ordförande i SACG) i Sveriges Radio P1 ”Plånboken” om piratkopior, aktörerna bakom piratkopiorna och riskerna med att köpa piratkopierade produkter. Lyssna här

Press release

Synch Copenhagen and Integra law firms are merging

23/01/2020

The Danish tech-focused law firms Synch and Integra in Copenhagen are merging with effect as of 1 January 2020. The merger will strengthen the position of the merged law firm in the Nordics.