It is an inevitable fact that most public institutions and private sectors process our personal data. Even a website warns that our personal data will be used before becoming a member of the site. So what is personal data and what does processing personal data mean? We have answered for you.
While surfing the internet, when we want to become a member of a website, we usually come across long texts such as a personal data agreement, which we approve without reading. In fact, the contracts we pass without this regard are very important, because the data to be used on the internet is our own personal data, as can be seen from the name.
So what does the processing of personal data mean? Is it dangerous or prohibited for websites to process our personal data? We have prepared our article for you, which answers important questions about your presence on the Internet. We wish you pleasant reading.
What is personal data?
Personal data is defined as all kinds of information about any person who can be identified. Personal data is not limited to simple information such as an individual’s place of birth, date of birth, name and surname. This information also includes information such as the physical characteristics, interests, economic and psychological status of the individual.
In other words, personal data includes all kinds of information from your vehicle license to your IP address. Since personal data is obtained directly or indirectly from the individual, it is a concept that is extremely open to discussion and whose boundaries cannot be drawn.
In order for personal data to be considered correct, the identity of the individual must be identifiable, as we have stated before. As an example, if you are a citizen of Turkey will give you an identification number and T. C’s, you’re going to have verifiable personal data. However, if the data was provided by an anonymous user, this information cannot be considered as personal data.
In addition to personal data, there is also personal data of special nature. Special quality personal data includes more specific information such as the individual’s religious belief, political opinion, ethnic origin, the team he is a fan of and the associations he is a member of.
What does processing personal data mean?
The processing of personal data is called any operation performed on the owned data. These include many different processes such as collecting, saving, storing, organizing, modifying and publishing data.
The law does not require the consent of the individual to process personal data, except in exceptional circumstances. However, websites still give you the option to approve or deny. Unless you agree to the processing of your data, you cannot generally either become a member of such sites or the number of features you can benefit from the site will decrease.
For the processing of personal data related to your health and sexual life, it is necessary to obtain the express and written consent of the individual. This information is processed by public institutions such as hospitals and sharing data with other parties is strictly prohibited.
Processing personal data in automatic and non-automatic ways
The processing of personal data is generally carried out in two different ways. The first is that data is obtained by non-automatic means. Personal data can be processed by entering them manually on hard disks, CDs or servers.
Even if such data is only recorded, this is called data processing. In other words, regardless of the purpose, from the moment a personal data is recorded, it is called the processing of personal data.
The second way is to process personal data automatically. Automatic processing of personal data is called the situations where the need for manpower is minimal. These data are automatically processed by the private sector or public institutions through information systems. Saving, changing or using data happens automatically.
Automatic processing of personal data is carried out on technological devices.
Automatically processed data is usually obtained through a computer, phone, tablet or smart watch. Some software and algorithms in such devices allow the device to automatically process data automatically.
For example, before you start exercising with your smart watch, let’s assume that you define your personal physical information such as your height and weight on this device. If the application you use uses your personal data, it means that your height and weight are gathered under a certain category with people from all over the world.
Personal data is collected in the data recording system
With the example of height and weight we have just given, you understand that the data are collected by categorization. According to the law, the only way to process data legally is to categorize these data.
In other words, you cannot randomly collect data and sort this information one after another. Before processing personal data, you need to explain why you collect this data by categorizing the data. For example, you want to collect personal data of the individuals who support Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe football teams. For this, your data must first be categorized as those supporting Fenerbahçe Football team.
Otherwise, personal data that do not have a specific category and why it is processed will be considered illegal. The data collected duly are collected in a so-called data recording system. All personal data in this data recording system are categorized and serve a specific purpose.
What is the purpose of processing personal data?
The processing of personal data may serve more purposes than you can think of. Public institutions, private sectors or websites may use your personal data for different purposes. The most common process in daily life comes from organizations that use our data in line with ads. A company may use your personal data to advertise its own or another brand and increase its sales.
For example, let’s say you are already a Facebook member and searched for sneakers on the Google search engine. When you leave the search page and open Facebook, you will start to see sports shoes ads of different brands on the page. Of course, you also know that such ads are not a coincidence.
These ads sometimes come across in such an exaggerated way that you are almost in a state of affirmation for what you are searching for. Sometimes you may even see an advertisement for a product you voiced, even if you don’t search. It’s normal for you to worry that someone is listening to us. However, unfortunately, we do not know whether Facebook or any other site is listening to us.
Personal data is useful for detecting malicious people
We have previously stated that the IP address you have used is within the scope of personal data. In malicious searches made on the Internet, the person can be detected very easily thanks to the IP address. For example, a person looking for a pedophilic video can be comfortably from his IP address and the necessary criminal actions can be imposed.
Again, by detecting the IP address of a site that copies people’s personal banking information on the Internet, it can be easily found who committed this crime. When you call your bank for your credit card transactions, you have often witnessed that they ask for voice commands from you.
Banks record their customers’ voices on data recording systems and want to be sure who you are when you call the bank. Since the voice of the person who detects you in cases such as your credit card is stolen will not be the same as you, the customer service cannot receive any service and the card will be closed immediately.