What are my personal details?

Your front door has a lock on it to prevent complete strangers from wandering in and rummaging through your drawers. You need to protect your personal details too, not with locks perhaps, but just as carefully. We explain what your personal details are.
What do we mean by personal details or data?

Personal details or data is information that is personal to you, which could or does identify you.

What do we mean by personal details?  All these things and more:

  • Your name (including any middle names)
  • Where you live, and where you’ve lived in the past
  • Your date of birth
  • Your race and ethnic background
  • Where you were born
  • Where you went to school
  • What jobs you do and what jobs you’ve done in the past
  • Your phone numbers
  • Your email addresses
  • Your driving licence number
  • Your passport number
  • Who you live with
  • Financial details, including bank account and credit card numbers
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your NHS number
  • PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) and passwords
  • Key information (such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your pet) which may be used to identify you
  • Your habits and preferences – what you like, what you do in your spare time etc
  • Other personal information, such as health issues or disabilities
  • Any criminal convictions or offences.

Our world is increasingly driven by data and in many ways sharing our data makes life easier - for example you couldn’t shop online without sharing key bits of personal data. But, your personal data is just that - personal to you. The law can help you protect it. We talk more about this in the next section.

 January 2023 

Your rights when it comes to your personal data

You can find out more about how the law protects your personal data by going to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO has lots of useful information including guidance on:

  • How to tell an organisation if you are not happy about how they are using your data.
  • Your right to find out if an organisation is using or storing your personal data.
  • How to challenge the accuracy of personal data held about you by an organisation.
  • How to ask an organisation to delete personal data that it holds about you.
  • How to limit the way an organisation uses your personal data.
  • How to get your personal data from an organisation in a way that is accessible to you.
  • When you can object to the processing or use of your personal data.
  • How to make a request for information from a public body.
About this guide


The information in this guide applies to England and Wales.

The law is complicated. We have simplified things in this guide. Please don’t rely on this guide as a complete statement of the law. We recommend you try and get advice from the sources we have suggested.


January 2023

This short guide was written and produced by Advicenow and
updated  thanks to funding from Help Accessing Legal Support (HALS).

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it really helped me a lot

on the 04 / 04 / 2023

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