Gibraltar: Data Protection


With the ever increasing use of computers in our daily lives and their ability to store and process data, the protection and safeguarding of personal data is becoming increasingly important in today's world.

Most if not all businesses keep some record of their individual customers, and with the ever increasing use of the internet to conduct on-line transactions, more and more of us are parting with personal information, leaving us exposed to the potential misuse of this information by others.

The Data Protection Act 2004

Last summer the Data Protection Act 2004 came into force in Gibraltar. The Act was designed to provide rights and freedoms to individuals against businesses and other organisations processing personal data. It also imposed certain responsibilities and obligations on the processors of such data. This article will highlight some of the issues businesses need to be aware of following the introduction of the Act, and serves as a reminder for the need for an effective data protection policy to be formed.

In addition it must be noted that the Act applies to all storage and retention of data, even if it is written down and kept in a filing cabinet; it is not just information stored on a computer.

The exception to all this is when data is processed purely for personal reasons. Then, in such circumstances the provisions of the Act do not apply.


However, if your business keeps or processes any information about living people it will need to comply with the eight basic principles of data protection:

  1. Obtain and process the information fairly
  2. Keep it only for one or more specified and lawful purposes
  3. Process it only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given to you initially – for example if you say it is to keep your customers up to date with new product information, you cannot then sell their details on to a telemarketer
  4. Keep it safe and secure – for example, your staff need to be told that that they must keep personal information securely and in accordance with any security procedures you have established.
  5. Keep it accurate and up-to-date
  6. Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  7. Retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes
  8. Give a copy of his/her personal data to an individual, on request

In addition to these basic principles, if you are processing sensitive personal information an additional obligation of obtaining the individual's explicit consent is imposed.

Sensitive data can be classified as any information relating to a person's racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical belief, trade-union membership, health records or sex life. It also includes the commission or alleged commission of any offence, as well as information relating to any proceedings and any sentence handed out.

Although there are exceptions to the requirement to obtain consent, these are usually limited to situations when it is either not possible to obtain consent for say, practical reasons, or when the processing of this information is done for the purposes of the protection of the vital interests of the individual or for some other public purpose.


In addition to the principles outlined above, the Act imposes a requirement for businesses to take reasonable steps to ensure that employees and other people who attend the workplace are aware of and comply with the relevant data security measures in place. Of particular importance are those security measures put in place to protect against the accidental or unlawful destruction or the unauthorised access or disclosure of personal information. This can be achieved by regular updates to staff together with training as and when the need arises.


It should be noted that under the Act, it is an offence for businesses to process personal data unless they have first registered their data processing operations with the Data Protection Commissioner. Registration is done by written application to the Commissioner and it must contain certain information which is set out in the Act.


It is also equally important for businesses to know what the various rights are of the individuals whose data they are processing and how to deal with requests from people asserting these rights.

The basic rights include, among others, the rights for individuals to have access to the information your business holds about them. If the information is inaccurate, you can be required to correct this. In addition individuals have the right to object to decisions being made about them as a result of the automated processing of their information. Breaches of these rights can lead to a complaint being made to the Data Protection Commissioner and can result in legal action being taken against the business.

Data Person

In light of the above, it is well worth appointing a specific person in the business to deal with all things relating to data protection. This person should be responsible for processing individual data access requests and dealing with specific objections to the use of personal data.

Such requests need to be dealt with properly within 21 days and failing to do this within this time limit is an offence under the Act. Furthermore it leaves the business open to the individual concerned to complain to the Data Protection Commissioner. Complaints of this nature can lead to an order being made for financial compensation to be paid to the complainant and businesses should not underestimate also other effects of non compliance, which could include loss of consumer trust and loyalty.


If your business operates a website or uses forms requiring consumers to part with personal information, a Privacy Statement must be prepared. The Privacy Statement must be attached to the forms and must appear also on the website. It should make clear in plain language, and with appropriate prominence, precisely what is being consented to. A more in depth analysis of the contents of Privacy Statements will be the subject of a future article.


There is a useful checklist put together by the Government of Gibraltar to help businesses and other organisations establish if they are compliant with the various requirements of the Act. It is well worth going through this checklist to see whether your business has an effective data protection policy. The checklist can be accessed on-line by entering the following GRA link:

In addition Hassans is able to assist your business with the preparation of effective data protection policies as well as training staff as to their obligations under the Act.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions