What is Personal Data According to KVKK? What are the Differences Between Personal Data and Special Categories of Personal Data?

According to Personal Data Protection Law (the “Law”), personal data is divided into two categories. These are personal data and special categories of personal data. In accordance with the law, personal data is defined as any kind of information related to an identified or identifiable real person. All kinds of information statements not only information such as name, surname, identification number, date of birth, place of birth but also information about physical, familial, economic, social and similar characteristics information that make the individual's identity identifiable. As a rule, personal data cannot be processed without the explicit consent of the relevant person, but according to Article 5 of the Law 2 of the article; it may be processed without the explicit consent of the relevant person. 

Unlike personal data, special categories of personal data are classified as sensitive data that need to be protected by stricter methods. Special categories of personal data may cause the person concerned to be victimized or subjected to discrimination if found out by others. It is clearly stated in the Law what private personal data is. 

In the Law, it is defined that personal data relating to the race, ethnic origin, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, religious sect or other belief, appearance, membership to associations, foundations or trade-unions, data concerning health, sexual life, criminal convictions and security measures, and the biometric and genetic data are deemed to be special categories of personal data.

In this scope, it is essential that Data Subjects who process special categories of personal data of a special nature ensure that they take adequate measures within the scope of the law and that the confidentiality and security of these data are ensured by stricter methods. 

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