Digital advertising guidance: special category data under the GDPR

Posted on: Monday 15 June 2020

What is special category data, how might it arise in digital advertising, and what are the restrictions on its processing under the GDPR?

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As part of our work to address the ICO’s concerns about ad tech and real-time bidding, we have developed this guidance on special category data, to help companies understand their obligations, and how to comply with them in practice.

The guidance aims to help educate the digital advertising industry about:

  • What ‘special category data’ is, as defined in the GDPR (including how it may arise from the way in which other data is processed)

  • The legal provisions and requirements that apply to processing special category data

  • Factors to consider in reviewing whether there is a risk of special category data arising or being inadvertently processed as part of your activities, and how to minimise such risks

You can download the guide below. 

We are also developing other work related to special category data. Read about it here.

If you have any questions about this work, please email

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