A Privacy Glossary With Key Terms for CIPP/E (Plus a Free Quiz!)


The IAPP’s Privacy Glossary contains hundreds of essential terms today’s privacy professionals need to know. It’s constantly changing and, for those new to the profession, might seem overwhelming.

We’ve created this CIPP/E-specific privacy glossary to help you learn and memorise the key terms for your CIPP/E exam (focusing on EU GDPR specific terms). To solidify your learning, we’ve included a free quiz with many of the key terms so you can test yourself, plus some other great resources.


Privacy108’s CIPP/E Privacy Glossary


AccountabilityThe controller shall be responsible for and be able to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR principles.Accuracy Principle

Personal data must be accurate and up to date.

Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that is inaccurate is erased or rectified without delay.

AdequacyPersonal data may be transferred outside the EEA to countries or international organisations that provide an adequate level of data protection. The GDPR sets out in detail the factors the EU Commission is to consider when deciding whether a third country or international organisation ensures an adequate level of protection (Article 45).


Anonymous data

Personal data that has been rendered unidentifiable. Information that is not related to an identified or identifiable natural person.Appropriate safeguards

Measures taken by a controller or processor to enable cross-border data transfers to be made to a third country or an international organisation.

Appropriate safeguards include:

Binding Corporate RulesPersonal data protection policies which are adhered to by a controller or processor established on the territory of a member state for transfers or a set of transfers of personal data to a controller or processor in one or more third countries within a group of undertakings, or group of enterprises engaged in a joint economic activity.Biometric dataPersonal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological or behavioural characteristics of a natural person, which allow or confirm the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images or fingerprints.Co-controllerTwo or more controllers who may separately determine the purposes and means of processing of the same personal data.ConsentAny freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.ControllerThe natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by Union or member state law, the controller or the specific criteria for its nomination may be provided for by Union or member state law.


Cross-border processing


(a) processing of personal data which takes place in the context of the activities of establishments in more than one member state of a controller or processor in the Union where the controller or processor is established in more than one member state; or

(b)  processing of personal data which takes place in the context of the activities of a single establishment of a controller or processor in the Union, but which substantially affects or is likely to substantially affect data subjects in more than one member state.

Data Protection Officer

A data protection officer (DPO) is an enterprise privacy leadership role, required for some organisation (public authorities or if undertaking large scale processing).

Data protection officers are responsible for overseeing a company’s data protection strategy and its implementation to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements.

Data subjectAn identified or identifiable natural person.European Data Protection Board

An independent European body, which contributes to the consistent application of data protection rules throughout the EU, and promotes cooperation between the EU’s data protection authorities.

Composed of representatives of the national data protection authorities, and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). Representatives from the EEA are non-voting observers.

Data minimisation PrinciplePersonal data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which they are processed.Filing systemAny structured set of personal data which are accessible according to specific criteria, whether centralized, decentralized or dispersed on a functional or geographical basisGenetic dataPersonal data relating to the inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of a natural person which give unique information about the physiology or the health of that natural person and which result, in particular, from an analysis of a biological sample from the natural person in question.Group of undertakingsA controlling undertaking and its controlled undertakingsIntegrity and Confidentiality PrinciplePersonal data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal dataInternational organizationAn organization and its subordinate bodies governed by public international law, or any other body which is set up by, or on the basis of, an agreement between two or more countries.Joint ControllerWhere two or more controllers jointly determine the purposes and means of processing.Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency PrinciplePersonal data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently in relation to the data subject.Lead Supervisory Authority

The Supervisory authority of the Member State where the controller or processor has its main establishment.

This authority acts as the “lead supervisory authority” charged with overseeing the operations of the controller or processor from a data protection perspective.

Main establishment


(a) As regards a controller with establishments in more than one member state, the place of central administration or decision making in respect of processing personal data in the Union

(b)  As regards a processor with establishments in more than one member state, the place of central administration or main processing of personal data

Personal dataAny information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.Personal data breachA breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed.ProcessingAny 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, organization, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.ProcessorA natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.ProfilingAny form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyze or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements.Pseudonymous dataPersonal data that is not fully anonymous. Generally created via a process that detaches the aspects of the data attributes to a specific individual.PseudonymisationThe processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organizational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person.Purpose Limitation PrinciplePersonal data must be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposesRecipientA natural or legal person, public authority, agency or another body, to which the personal data are disclosed, whether a third party or not. However, public authorities which may receive personal data in the framework of a particular inquiry in accordance with Union or member state law shall not be regarded as recipients; the processing of those data by those public authorities shall be in compliance with the applicable data protection rules according to the purposes of the processing.RepresentativeA natural or legal person established in the Union who, designated by the controller or processor in writing pursuant to Article 27, represents the controller or processor with regard to their respective obligations under this Regulation.Restriction of processing


The marking of stored personal data with the aim of limiting their processing in the future.

Special category dataThe special categories specifically include genetic data, and biometric data where processed to uniquely identify an individual.Standard Contractual ClausesA contract that can be used for data transfers between EU and non-EU countries. The SCC are a form of appropriate safeguards that can be used when there is no adequacy decision according to article 45 of the GDPR. They are decided by the European Commission according to article 46 of the GDPRStorage Limitation PrinciplePersonal data must be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processedSupervisory authorityAn independent public authority which is established by a member state.Supervisory authority concernedA supervisory authority which is concerned by the processing of personal data because: (a) The controller or processor is established on the territory of the member state of that supervisory authority; (b) data subjects residing in the member state of that supervisory authority are substantially affected or likely to be substantially affected by the processing; or (c) a complaint has been lodged with that supervisory authority.Third partyA natural or legal person, public authority, agency or body other than the data subject, controller, processor and persons who, under the direct authority of the controller or processor, are authorized to process personal data.

Tips for Learning the Key Terms in the Privacy Glossary

Rote memorisation of the key terms in the privacy glossary won’t set you up for exam success. We recommend learning the terms in context by reading privacy-related content and using the privacy glossary for reference.

If you need to know the key terms for an upcoming CIPP/E certification exam, an instructor-led preparatory course is the best resource.

Privacy108 runs regular CIPP/E training seminars, as an authorised IAPP training provider.

Lead instructor Dr Jodie Siganto is one of Australia’s foremost privacy experts and is a certified IAPP instructor. The training classes are widely recognised as the best preparatory resource for test takers – and they’re a great resource for helping you learn the history of data privacy.

In addition to the class, you’ll receive the comprehensive CIPP/E textbook and a 25-question practice exam, plus access to additional exam prep resources, including more practice exam questions, exclusively available through Privacy108. 

For more information or to register. 



Privacy Glossary Quiz for CIPP/E Terms

As promised, here’s the privacy glossary quiz we’ve prepared to help you test your knowledge in advance of your CIPP/E certification exam.

Resources: Key Privacy Glossary Terms for The CIPP/E

Here are some resources to help you become familiar with key terms in the CIPP/E certification exam and the IAPP’s privacy glossary:

  1. Privacy108’s blog post: CIPP/E and the History of Data Privacy
  2. The IAPP’s CIPP/E Privacy Glossary.
  3. More flashcards from Quizlet

Other resources that might be helpful in preparing for the CIPP/E exam:

  1. The GDPR Guidance Webpage.
  2. The IAPP’s Body of Knowledge.


Please Note:  The body of knowledge and exam for CIPP/E were updated on 1 July 2021. Read this blog post to find out more about the update.

At Privacy 108, we are passionate about privacy and data protection. We work with organisations to ensure they collect, use and secure all information in a way that is both compliant and meets community expectations. Privacy 108 is a law firm. Our team of lawyers can provide specialist legal advice on privacy and security issues.