Malta: Data Protection 2017

1. Relevant Legislation and Competent Authorities

1.1        What is the principal data protection legislation?

The principal data protection legislation is the Data Protection Act ("DPA"), Chapter 440 of the Laws of Malta.  This transposes Directive 95/46/EC on data protection (the "Data Protection Directive") into Maltese law.  The DPA makes provision for the protection of individuals against the violation of their privacy by the processing of personal data and for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto.

1.2        Is there any other general legislation that impacts data protection?

General legislation which impacts data protection includes:

  • Notification and Fees (Data Protection Act) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.02).
  • Third Country (Data Protection Act) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.03).
  • Processing of Personal Data (Protection of Minors) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.04).
  • Transfer of Personal Data to Third Countries Order (S.L. 440.07).

1.3        Is there any sector-specific legislation that impacts data protection?

Sector-specific legislation relating to data protection includes:

  • Processing of Personal Data Electronic Communications Sector) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.01).
  • Data Protection (Processing of Personal Data in the Police Sector) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.05).
  • Processing of Personal Data (Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.06).
  • Processing of Personal Data for the purposes of the General Elections Act and the Local Councils Act Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.08).
  • Processing of Personal Data (Education Sector) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 440.09).

1.4        What is the relevant data protection regulatory authority(ies)?

The relevant data protection regulatory authority is the Information and Data Protection Commissioner ("IDPC").

2. Definitions

2.1        Please provide the key definitions used in the relevant legislation:

  • "Personal Data"

"Personal data" means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.  An identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

  • "Sensitive Personal Data"

"Sensitive personal data" means personal data that reveals race or ethnic origin, personal opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union, health or sex life.

  • "Processing"

"Processing" means any operation or set of operations which is taken in regard to personal data, whether or not it occurs by automatic means, and includes the collection, recording, organisation, storage, adaptation, alteration, retrieval, gathering, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making information available, alignment or combination, blocking and erasure of destruction of such data.

  • "Data Controller"

"Data Controller" means a person who alone or jointly with others determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.

  • "Data Processor"

A processor is a person who processes personal data on behalf of a controller.

  • "Data Subject"

"Data Subject" means a natural person to whom the personal data relates.

  • Other key definitions – please specify (e.g., "Pseudonymous Data", "Direct Personal Data", "Indirect Personal Data")

A "personal data representative" means a person, appointed by the controller of personal data, who shall independently ensure that the personal data is processed in a correct and lawful manner.

3. Key Principles

3.1        What are the key principles that apply to the processing of personal data?

  • Transparency

Article 7 of the DPA establishes that the controller must ensure that personal data is processed fairly, lawfully and in accordance with good practice.  The controller or any other person authorised by him to process data must provide the data subject with information about the processing of personal data, to the extent that the data subject does not have such information.  This information includes:

(a) the identity and habitual residence or principal place of business of the controller or person authorised to carry out the processing;

(b) the purposes of the processing for which the data is intended; and

(c) any further information relating to:

(i)  the recipients of the data;

(ii) whether the reply to questions made to the data subject is obligatory or voluntary and the possible consequence of the failure to reply; and

(iii) the existence of data subject rights including the right to access, rectify and, where applicable, erase the data pertaining to him.

  • Lawful basis for processing

The DPA provides that personal data may only be processed for legitimate purposes.  Article 9 provides the grounds upon which personal data may be lawfully processed.  These legal bases are:

  1. the data subject has unambiguously given his consent;
  2. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to the contract;
  3. processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
  4. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject;
  5. processing is necessary for the performance of an activity carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of the official authority vested in the controller or a third party to whom data is disclosed; and
  6. processing is necessary for a purpose that concerns a legitimate interest of the controller or a third party to whom data is disclosed, except where such interest is overridden by the interest to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject and, in particular, the right to privacy.
  • Purpose limitation

The DPA provides that personal data may only be collected for specific, explicitly stated and legitimate purposes and cannot be processed for any reason incompatible with such purposes.

  • Data minimisation

The DPA establishes that no more personal data is processed than is necessary.

  • Proportionality

In terms of the DPA, personal data processed must be adequate and relevant for the purposes of this processing.

  • Retention

Personal data may not be kept for a period longer than is necessary, having regard to the purposes for which it is processed.

  • Other key principles – please specify

The controller of personal data is also bound to ensure that the personal data are correct and up to date.  Pursuant to this, all reasonable measures should be taken to complete, correct, block and erase data to the extent that such data are incomplete or incorrect.

Article 26 of the DPA also obliges the controller to implement appropriate and adequate security measures to protect the personal data against accidental destruction, loss or unlawful processing.

4. Individual Rights

4.1        What are the key rights that individuals have in relation to the processing of their personal data?

  • Access to data

In accordance with Article 21 of the DPA, the data subject has the right to request, at reasonable intervals, written information as to whether personal data concerning the data subject is processed.  The controller of data is bound to provide such information without expense or excessive delay.  The information to be provided includes:

  1. actual information about the data subject which is processed;
  2. where this information has been collected;
  3. the purpose of the processing;
  4. to which recipients the information is disclosed; and
  5. knowledge of the logic involved in any automatic processing of the data.
  • Correction and deletion

The data subject has the right to request the rectification, blocking or erasure of personal data which has not been lawfully processed.  In such a case, the controller shall notify the third party to whom the information has been disclosed about such measures, unless this involves a disproportionate burden.

  • Objection to processing

The data subject may object to the processing of personal data in two circumstances:

  1. where the processing of personal data is necessary for the performance of an activity carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller or a third party to whom the data are disclosed; and
  2. where the processing is necessary for a purpose which concerns a legitimate interest of the controller of such third party.  Such an objection may be lodged at any time on the basis of compelling grounds.
  • Objection to marketing

Article 10 of the DPA grants the data subject the right to object to his data being used for direct market purposes, in which case his personal data cannot be processed for such purposes.

In addition, the Processing of Personal Data (Electronic Communications Sector) Regulations provide that a data subject may object free of charge and in an easy and simple manner to the use of their electronic contact details for the purpose of direct marketing, even in cases where such information was obtained from the data subject himself in relation to the sale of a product or service.

  • Complaint to relevant data protection authority(ies)

Complaints may be made to the IDPC by means of the following website:

  • Other key rights – please specify

Pursuant to the ECJ ruling Google Spain SL, Google Inc. vs. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) & Mario Costeja González, there is also a right to be forgotten which has been stated more expressly.

To view the article in full click here.

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”

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.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


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.