The Scope of the Personal Data Concept in Russia

  • Kyrill Zyubanov National Research University Higher School of Economics
Keywords: personal data, privacy, privacy protection, terminology, comparative analysis, information technologies, information law


Personal data as an institution is gaining increasing attention on the part of both public authorities, business structures and private individuals as subjects of personal data. Meanwhile, an efficient and successful usage of the tools provided by this institution directly depends on whether the scope of the personal data concept can be unambiguously defined. The paper describes the main problems resulting from a
lack of uniform approach, makes a case for a cross-jurisdictional approach to interpretation of the concept of personal data, and identifies four main criteria which can provide a basis for a procedure for assessing whether certain information amounts to personal data: information, relevance, definability and subject criteria. In assuming a single source of the institution’s regulation across jurisdictions, the cross-jurisdictional approach to interpretation of the concept of personal data allows to follow the best international practices to define the scope of the personal data concept. In this paper, the cross-jurisdictional approach was successfully applied with respect to the European law and international law instruments. The information and subject criteria set the constraints on the assessment of whether information amounts to
personal data from the perspective of object and subject, respectively. In assessing the relevance of information as personal data, the relevance and the definability criteria allow to account for the context in terms of content, purpose pursued and results achieved. The proposed criteria applicable to information, relevance, definability and subject, being universal, allow to unambiguously determine the scope of personal data concept at the level of regulation, enforcement and compliance, as well as exercise of rights envisaged by the regulation in question. The said criteria also contribute the development of uniform terminology in the research community to ensure comparability of research concerning personal data through an overarching approach to the scope of this concept.


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How to Cite
ZyubanovK. (2023). The Scope of the Personal Data Concept in Russia. Legal Issues in the Digital Age, 4(1), 53-76. Retrieved from