What Is a Data Subject Type?


Heather Bennett

A data subject type is a concept commonly used in the field of data management. It refers to the classification or categorization of individuals whose personal data is collected, stored, processed, or used by an organization. Understanding data subject types is essential for ensuring compliance with privacy regulations and implementing effective data protection measures.

What is a Data Subject?
A data subject is an individual who can be identified directly or indirectly by certain information. This information can include their name, identification number, location data, online identifier, or factors specific to their physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity.

Types of Data Subjects
1. Customers: Customers are one of the most common types of data subjects. They are individuals who engage with an organization’s products or services and provide personal information during the course of their interactions. 2. Employees: Employees are another significant group of data subjects. Organizations collect and process personal data related to their employees for various purposes such as payroll management, performance evaluation, and employee benefits administration. 3. Website Visitors: In today’s digital age, organizations often have websites that collect visitor information through cookies and other tracking technologies.

These website visitors become data subjects whose privacy must be respected. 4. Patients: In the healthcare industry, patients’ personal information is collected and processed to provide medical services. Safeguarding patient privacy is crucial to maintaining trust and complying with healthcare regulations. 5. Subscribers: Many organizations offer subscription-based services such as newsletters or online content access. Subscribers provide personal details in exchange for these services.

Data Subject Types under Privacy Regulations

Privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe categorize certain types of individuals as “special categories” or “sensitive data” subjects. These categories include data subjects whose personal information reveals their racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, health conditions, or sexual orientation. Organizations need to handle such data with additional care and follow stricter regulations to protect these individuals’ privacy rights.

Importance of Data Subject Classification

Properly classifying data subjects is crucial for implementing appropriate privacy and data protection measures. By categorizing individuals into specific types, organizations can determine the level of risk associated with processing their personal information. This classification allows organizations to tailor their data protection strategies according to the specific requirements of different data subject types.

  • Organizations can implement stronger security measures for sensitive data subject types.
  • Data subject classification helps in determining the appropriate legal basis for processing personal information.
  • It enables organizations to assess the impact of their data processing activities on individuals’ privacy rights.


Understanding and categorizing data subjects is an essential aspect of effective data management and privacy practices. By properly classifying individuals into different types, organizations can ensure compliance with privacy regulations, implement appropriate security measures, and protect the privacy rights of their customers, employees, website visitors, patients, subscribers, and other individuals whose personal information they handle.

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