Data protection and image rights under the DPA 1998 [Archived]
Produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of
Data protection and image rights under the DPA 1998 [Archived]

The following Information Law practice note produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Data protection and image rights under the DPA 1998 [Archived]
  • What is meant by image?
  • Data protection
  • The data protection principles
  • Sensitive personal data
  • Image rights
  • Justification
  • The manner of processing
  • Notice
  • Exceptions
  • More...

ARCHIVED: This archived Practice Note provides information on the data protection regime before 25 May 2018 and reflects the position under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998). This Practice Note is for background information only and is not maintained.

What is meant by image?

Two kinds of image are discussed in this Practice Note: (1) the likeness of a person’s physical characteristics and the physical circumstances of their proximity (ie a photograph or picture)—the ontic definition; and (2) the perception of a person in the mind of the public—the ontological definition.

Both are relevant in a data protection context.

For a comprehensive introduction to the GDPR, collating key practical guidance, see: Data protection toolkit.

Data protection

The purpose of the law of data protection is to ensure that those who process personal data for other than strictly domestic purposes are regulated. The basis for the necessity of such regulation is outside the scope of this Practice Note.

Under the DPA 1998, personal data are data which comprise information relating to a living individual and where that information is or is to be processed by means of automatic equipment. Usually this means a computer and 'processing' is a wide concept which covers just about anything one might want to do with data (including just keeping it). It is an important adjunct of data processing law that the processing itself need not

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