Isle of Man: Guide To Data Protection In The Isle Of Man

Last Updated: 10 March 2015
Article by Claire Milne


The Isle of Man laws relating to data protection are contained in the Isle of Man Data Protection Act 2002 (the DPA 2002). The DPA 2002 mirrors much of the UK Data Protection Act 1998.


The DPA 2002 uses a number of important definitions, the main ones of which are:

Data controller: a person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be, processed.

Personal data: data which relate to a living individual who can be identified:

(a) from those data, or

(b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller,

and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.

Processing: is given a very wide meaning and very little undertaken in regard to data is likely to fall outside of this definition. "Processing" in relation to information or data, means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data, including:

(a) organisation, adaptation or alteration of the information or data;

(b) retrieval, consultation or use of the information or data;

(c) disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available; or

(d) alignment, combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of the information or data.

Sensitive personal data: personal data consisting of information as to:

(a) the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject,

(b) his political opinions,

(c) his religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature,

(d) whether he is a member of a trade union,

(e) his physical or mental health or condition,

(f) his sexual life,

(g) the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or

(h) any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.

Where a data controller is processing sensitive personal data, extra provisions need to be complied with. For further details see below.

Data processor: any person who processes data on behalf of the data controller (other than an employee of the data controller).

Data subject: an individual who is the subject of personal data.

Data Protection Supervisor: the Office of the Data Protection Supervisor is the body responsible for administration of the DPA 2002 in the Isle of Man.


Data controllers are obliged to comply with eight data protection principles (the Data Protection Principles) each with detailed statutory guidelines. They can be summarised as follows:

2.1 First Data Protection Principle

Personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully and must not be processed unless:

(a) at least one of the conditions in schedule 2 to the DPA 2002 is met;


(b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in schedule 3 to the DPA 2002 is also met.

Copies of schedules 2 and 3 of the DPA 2002 are attached.

2.2 Second Data Protection Principle

Personal data must be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and must not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.

The purpose or purposes for which personal data are obtained may be specified in a notice given by the data controller to the data subject or in a notification to the Data Protection Supervisor.

In determining whether any disclosure of personal data is compatible with the purpose or purposes for which the data was obtained, regard must be had to the purpose or purposes for which the personal data is intended to be processed by any person to whom it is disclosed.

2.3 Third Data Protection Principle

Personal data must be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.

In complying with this principle, data controllers should seek to identify the minimum amount of information that is required in order properly to fulfil their purpose.

It is not acceptable to hold information on the basis that it might possibly be useful in the future without a view of how it will be used.

2.4 Fourth Data Protection Principle

Personal data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.

2.5 Fifth Data Protection Principle

Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes must not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

To comply with the fifth data protection principle, data controllers will need to review their personal data regularly and delete the information which is no longer required for their purposes.

2.6 Sixth Data Protection Principle

Personal data must be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the DPA 2002.

2.7 Seventh Data Protection Principle

Appropriate technical and organisational measures must be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.

Management and organisational measures taken by a data controller are as important as the technical ones.

A data controller must also take reasonable steps to ensure the reliability of any employees who have access to the personal data.

Where the processing of personal data is carried out by a data processor on behalf of a data controller, in order to comply with the seventh data protection principle, the data controller must:

(a) choose a data processor providing sufficient guarantees in respect of the technical and organisational security measures governing the processing to be carried out, and

(b) take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with those measures.

In addition, where a data processor does process data on behalf of a data controller, the data controller will not be regarded as complying with the seventh data protection principle unless:

(a) the processing is carried out under a contract which is made or evidenced in writing and under which the data processor is to act only on instructions from the data controller, and

(b) the contract requires the data processor to comply with obligations equivalent to those imposed on a data controller by the seventh data protection principle.

The seventh data protection principle relates to security of the processing of personal data as a whole and the measures to be taken by a data controller to provide security against any breaches of the DPA 2002, rather than just breaches of security.

2.8 Eighth Data Protection Principle

Personal data must not be transferred to a country or territory outside the Isle of Man unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data. The level of protection must be adequate in all the circumstances of the case (the interpretation provisions of the DPA 2002 provide further details to aid in the assessment of adequacy).

Countries or territories within the European Economic Area (EEA) will be deemed to have an "adequate level of protection". In addition, if the European Commission makes a finding that a particular country or territory has an "adequate level of protection" that will be sufficient for the purposes of the eighth data protection principle. The European Commission has made an adequacy finding for US companies that have "signed up" to the Safe Harbour provisions.

The European Commission also made a formal decision on 28 April 2004 recognising the Isle of Man as a jurisdiction with an adequate level of protection for personal data.


Although there are some exceptions, generally, data controllers are required to notify certain registrable particulars with the Data Protection Supervisor.

The particulars which a data controller is required to notify to the Data Protection Supervisor are:

(a) his name and address;

(b) a description of the personal data being or to be processed by or on behalf of the data controller and of the category or categories of data subject to which they relate;

(c) a description of the purpose or purposes for which the data are being or are to be processed;

(d) a description of any recipient or recipients to whom the data controller intends or may wish to disclose the data; and

(e) the names, or a description of, any countries or territories outside the Isle of Man and to which the data controller directly or indirectly transfers or intends or may wish directly or indirectly to transfer, the data.

Notification lasts for 12 months and any changes in the particulars registered must be notified to the Data Protection Supervisor.

Personal data must not be processed unless an entry in respect of the data controller is included in the Register maintained by the Data Protection Supervisor.

In addition to the registrable particulars referred to above, a notification must give a general description of the measures to be taken by a data controller for the purpose of complying with the seventh data protection principle (measures against misuse and loss of data).

Data being provided to a third party outwith the EEA

If the data is being provided to a third party outwith the EEA then the following questions must be asked:

(a) Is there an actual transfer of data taking place? There is a distinction between a transfer of data and data in transit. The eighth data protection principle only applies if there is a data move rather than just a pass through of personal data from one country to another.

(b) Has the country in question been designated as adequate by the European Commission? Has the company in question signed up to the safe harbour arrangements in the USA?

(c) Are there alternative grounds for concluding that the receiving company or country is nevertheless adequate in all the circumstances of the case?

(d) Does one of the derogations under schedule 4 of the DPA 2002 apply? The most common example is that the data subject has given consent to the transfer – such consent must be freely given and the data subject must understand what he/she is agreeing to. A copy of schedule 4 of the DPA 2002 is attached.

(e) Is there an alternative basis for transfer? (e.g. contracts based on standard terms approved by the EU Commission or arrangements approved by the Data Protection Supervisor in the IOM).

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.

In association with
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
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). 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 & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd 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 or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.