What is Processing?

"Processing" means doing any of the following with personal information:

  • obtaining it
  • recording it
  • storing it
  • updating it
  • sharing it

Examples of processing personal data:

Processing is really any action you take with someone's personal data. And it's likely you are engaging in some form of processing. 

Here are a few examples that might relate to you.

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A customer emails your company.

Their email address is now stored in your inbox.

You are therefore processing their information.


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Your employees provide you with the information required by HR or payroll

You store their personal information in a file or computer folder 

You are therefore processing their information.


Processing does not have to be digital. It also includes analogue forms of recording "Personal Information", so even writing a phone number down is considered as the processing of personal information.

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A customer calls your company and asks to be called back when an item is available.

To do this you will need to note down a copy of their name and phone number.

You are therefore processing their information.

What the regulator says:

"Processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;"