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Data Privacy Acronym List

For newcomers, the world of data privacy can feel a little like alphabet soup. There are so many acronyms floating around the data privacy world that understanding which laws, activities, and concepts belong where is a real challenge.

With an ever-growing data acronym list, the world of data privacy can feel a little like alphabet soup whether you’re a newcomer or a privacy pro. Data privacy is a complex field, but the vocab does not need to be overwhelming. To bring genuine data privacy to more businesses and users, we believe that a little education goes a long way.

We curate this running Data Acronym Resource where you can find all data privacy abbreviations from A – Z in a single, central location. Bookmark this page for handy reference — we regularly update the list with new terms and link more resources. Check out our Latest Updates section if you just need a quick refresher on any new terms from the past couple of weeks.

Table of Contents

Latest Updates

  • September 30, 2022: We added AIA, AADC, and PDP (Law) to the “Laws” section.

Laws

These measures are either in effect, or already passed and approaching the start of their enforcement period.

AcronymDescription
AIAArtificial Intelligence Act
Proposed by the European Commission to create a legal framework for regulating companies’ use of AI.
AADCAge-Appropriate Design Code
These codes place legal restrictions on how companies design online products and services for children. There is a version of this code in the UK and in California.
BIPABiometric Information Privacy Act
State privacy law in Illinois governing how businesses can handle users’ biometric information, effective since 2008.
CCPACalifornia Consumer Privacy Act
State privacy law in California, effective since 2020 and to be followed by the CPRA in 2023.
CDPAConsumer Data Protection Act
State privacy law in Virginia, going into effect in 2023.
COPPAChildren’s Online Privacy Protection Act
Federal rule in the United States that regulates how online services can handle the personal information of children under 13 years of age.
CPRACalifornia Privacy Rights Act
Upcoming state privacy law in California to replace the CCPA in 2023.
CTDPAConnecticut Data Privacy Act
State privacy law in Connecticut, going into effect in 2023.
DMADigital Markets Act
EU legislation that aims to address unfair business practices among large providers of digital services, including the regulation of end-user profiling. Adopted in July, 2022.
DPAData Protection Act
Federal privacy act in the United Kingdom, effective since 2018.
DSADigital Services Act
EU legislation that codifies protections against unfair targeted advertising, illegal content, and disinformation. Adopted in July, 2022.
ECPAElectronic Communications Privacy Act
Federal law in the US, effective since 1986, that extends previous legislation against phone wiretapping to protect the contents of computer communications while they are being made, in transit, and stored on computers.
FCRAFair Credit Reporting Act
Federal law in the US, effective since 1970, that regulates credit agencies’ collection of credit report information as well as individuals’ access to such information.
FERPAFamily Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Federal law in the US, effective since 1974, that regulates access and processing of education-related data.
FISAForeign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Federal law in the US, effective since 1978, that establishes processes for surveillance of communications, a provision that has been an ongoing point of contention in international data-transfer negotiations, especially between the US and the EU.
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation
Privacy law for the European Union, effective since 2018.
GDPR-KGeneral Data Protection Regulation-Kids
An informal term to refer to the protections specific to children’s data in the European Union under GDPR, particularly GDPR’s Article 8 and Recital 38.
GLBAGramm-Leach-Bliley Act
Federal statute in the United States that, among other measures, requires financial organizations to disclose their data safeguards to their users; effective since 1999.
HIPAAHealth Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Federal medical privacy law in the United States governing protections for patients’ health information.
HITECHHealth Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (Act)
A US federal law, enacted in 2009, that seeks to close loopholes in HIPAA and promote privacy-respecting adoption of electronic health records among healthcare institutions.
KOSAKids Online Safety Act
A bill that would provide more data protections to minors (under 17) online Introduced in Congress in February 2022.
LGPDLei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais (Portuguese for General Personal Data Protection Law)
Data privacy law in Brazil, effective since 2020 with sanctions for violations starting in 2021.
LPPDLaw on the Protection of Personal Data
Data privacy law in Turkey, effective since 2016.
NDPRNigeria Data Protection Regulation
Data privacy law in Nigeria, effective since 2019.
NPICICNevada Privacy of Information Collected on the Internet from Consumers Act
State privacy law in Nevada for websites’ privacy policies, effective in its amended form since 2019.
PDP (Law)Personal Data Protection (Law)
Privacy law in Indonesia. Act passed in September 2022. Read here (only in Indonesian).
PDPAPersonal Data Protection Act
Privacy law in Argentina that protects citizen’s data privacy, effective since 2000.
PDPAPersonal Data Protection Act
Thailand’s data protection law, effective June 2022.
PDPLPersonal Data Protection Law
Federal privacy act in Saudi Arabia, going into effect in 2023.
PECRPrivacy and Electronic Communications Regulations
A UK law that protects citizens against direct marketing. This law makes it illegal to send someone direct marketing without their explicit consent. Established in 2003.
PIPEDAPersonal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
Federal privacy law in Canada, effective since 2000.
PIPAPersonal Information Protection Act
Federal data protection law in Japan, effective since 2005, sometimes referred to as the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL). See also: China’s draft Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) in the Laws section.
PIPLPersonal Information Protection Law
Federal privacy bill in China, passed in 2021. See also: Japan’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), sometimes referred to as the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), in the Laws section.
POPI(A)Protection of Personal Information Act
Federal privacy act in South Africa, effective since 2020.
UCPAUtah Consumer Privacy Act
State privacy law in Utah, going into effect in 2023.

Pending Legislation

These measures are under consideration but not yet passed.

AcronymDescription
ADPPAAmerican Data Privacy and Protection Act
A proposed U.S. federal bill for general consumer privacy, not yet formally introduced as of June 10, 2022.
DPBData Protection Bill
A data protection bill that is being drafted in India now, introduced to Parliament in 2019.
DPDIBData Protection and Digital Information Bill
First data privacy reform bill introduced into UK Parliament since Brexit. Discussions began in July 2022.
ePRePrivacy Regulation
Proposed EU regulation with specific privacy guidelines for electronic communications, presented in 2017.
PDPPersonal Data Protection Bill
Personal Data Protection Bill Federal privacy bill in India, presented in 2019, withdrawn in 2022.

Organizations and Roles

AcronymDescription
AEPDAgencia Española de Protección de Datos (Spanish for Spanish Data Protection Agency)
Spanish agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.
AGAttorney General
A primary legal officer in a regional or federal government, often tasked with enforcement of consumer privacy law when the law does not contain a private right of action.
ANPDAutoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados (Portuguese for National Data Protection Authority)
Brazilian agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.
APD/GPAAutorité de Protection des Données in French or Gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit in Dutch
The Belgian Data Protection Authority. It is responsible for enforcing the GDPR in Belgium.
APECAsia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
An inter-government organization of 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Established the CBPR Forum for interoperability of data transfers across member governments.
BEUCBureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (French for European Consumer Organization)
The umbrella term for 45 European consumer organizations in 32 countries that defend the interests of consumers.
CACCybersecurity Administration of China
Chinese agency responsible for upholding data protection law in the county and for implementing technical specifications for the country’s PIPL.
CARUChildren’s Advertising Review Unit
US agency responsible for regulating advertising as it relates to children under the age of 12.
CBPRCross-Border Privacy Rules (Forum)
A multilateral collaboration between the United States, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Canada to promote interoperability and bridge regions’ data privacy rules.
CDPOCertification des compétences du DPO
Individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to practice privacy in accordance with France’s CNIL agency.
CFPBConsumer Financial Protection Bureau
U.S. Government agency that protects consumers in financial sectors.
CIPMCertified Information Privacy Manager
Title for an individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to build privacy into operations, e.g., audits and risk management.
CIPPCertified Information Privacy Professional
Title for an individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to practice privacy in legal and compliance settings.
CIPTCertified Information Privacy Technologist
Title for an individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to build privacy into engineering and IT functions.
CISOChief Information Security Officer
A senior-level executive who is responsible for maintaining information-related compliance and protecting consumer data.
CJEUCourt of Justice of the European Union
Judicial body charged with interpreting and applying EU law in EU member countries.
CNILCommission National de l’Informatique et des Libertés (French for National Commission on Informatics and Liberty)
French agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.
CNPDCommission Nationale pour la Protection des Données (French for National Data Protection Commission)
Luxembourgish agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.
CPOChief Privacy Officer
A new executive-level position in businesses and organizations. This role is responsible for managing risks associated with data privacy laws and regulations.
CPPACalifornia Privacy Protection Agency
Agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the CPRA in California, beginning in 2023.
DPAData Protection Authority
Independent authority in an EU member country that oversees the application of GDPR and relevant country-specific laws; a legacy term for ISA.
DPCData Protection Commission
Ireland’s agency for upholding privacy law in the country, notably including Facebook’s EU base in Dublin.
DPOData Protection Officer
Point-person for a company’s privacy compliance and training under GDPR.
EDPBEuropean Data Protection Board
Independent organization for implementing data protection regulations in the EU, working in concert with DPAs and the EDPS.
EDPSEuropean Data Protection Supervisor
Independent authority in the EU charged with overseeing how EU entities process personal data.
ENISAEuropean Network and Information Security Agency
The European Union’s cybersecurity agency, aiming to support EU member states in meeting cybersecurity requirements and to provide expert guidance. Though the acronym remains, the organization’s full name is now the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity.
FDPICFederal Data Protection and Information Commissioner
Switzerland’s data protection authority.
FCCFederal Communications Commission
A U.S. agency that manages radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable communications across the country.
FPFFuture of Privacy Forum
A think tank based in Washington, DC, that advocates for data privacy in support of emerging technologies.
FTCFederal Trade Commission
US federal agency responsible for enforcing regulations pertaining to consumer protection and market competition.
GAOGovernment Accountability Office
U.S. agency that works for Congress. Known as the “congressional watchdog,” it gathers and provides Congress with non-partisan fact-based information.
HDPAHellenic Data Protection Authority
Data protection organization in Greece responsible for enforcing GDPR.
IABInteractive Advertising Bureau
A trade group that builds systems like the Transparency and Consent Framework to govern real-time bidding on advertising.
IAPPInternational Association of Privacy Professionals
Organization that conducts research, creates resources, and provides professional development among privacy professionals; body that grants certifications like CIPM, CIPP, and CIPT.
ICOInformation Commissioner’s Office
United Kingdom’s agency for upholding privacy law in the country.
IMDAIndependent Supervisory Authority
A government agency in Singapore that develops and regulates information communications and media sectors in the country.
ISAIndependent Supervisory Authority
Independent authority in an EU member country that oversees the application of GDPR and relevant country-specific laws; GDPR’s updated term for DSA.
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization
An independent, non-governmental, and international organization that sets standards across technology and manufacturing. Some of its standards, namely 18013-5, are inspired by privacy frameworks like Privacy by Design.
KVKKTurkish Personal Data Authority
Government body that protects the data of Turkish citizens, formed in 2017
NISTNational Institute of Standards and Technology
US federal agency that sets guidelines for innovation across technical fields and establishes frameworks for cybersecurity and privacy.
NPCNational Privacy Commission
Responsible for monitoring and ensuring data privacy compliance in the Philippines. Founded in 2012.
OAICOffice of the Australian Information Commissioner
Australian agency responsible for upholding rights related to data privacy, freedom of information, and government information in the country.
ODPCOffice of the Data Protection Commission
Kenyan agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country. Founded in 2019.
OECDOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Intergovernmental organization with 38 member countries. It creates policies that manage cross-border data flows among different governmental jurisdictions.
OPCOffice of the Privacy Commissioner
This acronym could refer to either New Zealand or Canada’s agency for upholding privacy law in the respective country, depending on the context in which the acronym is used.
PCPDPrivacy Commissioner for Personal Data
Hong Kong agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the region.
PDPCPersonal Data Protection Commission
Singapore agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.
PIPCPersonal Information Protection Commission
South Korean agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

Activities

AcronymDescription
ADM, SADMAutomated Decision-Making, Solely Automated Decision-Making
The process by which a computer makes a decision given data as input, without human involvement. For SADM, no human is involved at any stage of the process.
BCRBinding Corporate Rule
Policy for data protection applying to EU companies that transfer EU residents’ personal data outside of the EU.
DPAData Processing Agreement
Agreement between parties that share EU citizens’ personal data , as required under GDPR.
DPIAData Protection Impact Assessment
Risk evaluation carried out for a data processing activity, legally required in certain cases under Virginia’s CDPA and the EU’s GDPR.
DSR, DSAR, SARData Subject Request
 A consumer’s request to a business to access, delete, or not sell the personal information that the business holds on them. The activities covered under a DSR depend on the applicable law.
ETLExtract, Transform, Load
General data management term for the process of combining data from multiple sources.
IDFAIdentifier for Advertisers
A unique device identifier for targeting users for advertising purposes, and advertisers’ access to such identifiers on Apple’s mobile devices now requires explicit user consent following the iOS 14.5 update.
MFA, 2FAMulti-Factor Authentication (aka 2FA for 2-Factor Authentication)
Process of verifying identity through more than one mechanism, e.g., sending a code to a user’s phone after they have entered their password.
MPCMulti-Party Computation
Cryptography practice in which multiple parties run computations while their inputs are kept private from one another.
PRAPrivate Right of Action
A right granted under certain laws by which individuals, rather than a government entity like the Attorney General’s office, can sue an organization for violating the law.
RoPARecord of Processing Activities
Inventory of how, why, and with whom a business handles EU citizens’ personal data, as required under GDPR.
SASTStatic Application Security Testing
An established process for testing software security within the CI/CD process. Its proactive nature has inspired similarly proactive approaches to privacy in software development.
SCCStandard Contractual Clause
Legal mechanism for sharing the personal data of European Economic Area’s citizens with entities outside of the European Economic Area.

Concepts and Tools

AcronymDescription
AESAdvanced Encryption Standard
An algorithm for encryption of electronic data, certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the size of the key can be 128, 192, or 256 bits—this size label may be affixed to the acronym itself: AES-128, AES-192, AES-256.
AMPAccelerated Mobile Pages
A framework developed by Google to enable faster loading of mobile pages, with the pages served from Google’s servers rather than those of the original publishers.
APIApplication Programming Interface
A set of rules to enable the interchange of different applications’ data and services, mediating between pieces of software.
AR / VR Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Augmented reality projects virtual images and characters through the screen. Virtual reality is a computer simulation of an alternate world.
ATTApp Tracking Transparency
Anti-tracking feature from Apple, rolled out with the 2021 iOS 14.5 update, which requires apps to receive an iPhone user’s explicit consent in order to track the user’s unique advertising identifier.
AVAutonomous Vehicle
A vehicle that is able to perform its necessary operations and interactions with the surrounding environment without a human driver.
BCRBinding Corporate Rules
A framework for allowing corporations to transfer data internationally in a way that complies with EU regulations.
CIContinuous Integration
The process of individual software developers contributing their code to a shared software project at high frequency, supported by a version control system and a suite of tools to ensure that new contributions meet standards for code quality.
DFFTData Free Flow with Trust
A proposed principle for rule-making in cross-border data flows, championed by Japan at the G20 Summit in 2019. It was a part of the Osaka Track, an international initiative for cross-government cooperation and trust on data flows.
DNSDomain Name System
A distributed system that enables a domain name to be mapped to IP addresses and thus deliver information over the internet. The lack of privacy considerations in the design of this system decades ago has prompted concern and research over how to promote user privacy in DNS transactions.
DPDifferential Privacy
A characteristic of a system that provides data about a group of individuals without allowing any query to enable inference about a particular individual. In practice, this privacy definition is achieved through the careful addition of statistical noise to a dataset.
DPVData Protection Vocabulary
A taxonomy or knowledge graph for standardizing concepts in data processing.
DSADigital Signature Algorithm
An algorithm adopted by the US government for verifying the authenticity of data.
ESE(E)End-to-End (Encryption)
An encryption practice in which the cryptographic keys needed to read a message are only accessible at the endpoints of the communication: the sender and the receiver, to the exclusion of intermediate parties such as service providers.
EdTechEducational technology
Technologies that students use in their remote, hybrid, or in-person schoolwork to participate in a variety of school-related activities. Examples include test-proctoring software and school-issued computing devices.
EHRElectronic Health Record
A digital version of a patient’s medical charts, including information such as diagnoses, medical history, test results, and other medical details.
FAIRFactor Analysis of Information Risk
A model for modern privacy that enables the management and measurement of privacy risk using a taxonomy of risks, their magnitudes, and their frequencies.
FHEFully Homomorphic Encryption
Encryption practice which allows an arbitrary number of computations on the encrypted data.
FIPPsFair Information Practice Principles
Privacy framework that has shaped privacy legislation as well as privacy engineering initiatives, a predecessor more modern approaches like Privacy by Design (PbD).
FLEDGEFirst Locally-Executed Decision Over Groups Experiment
A proposed tool within Google’s Privacy Sandbox, to be made available in preview and beta in 2022, which Google claims will support custom audience targeting for ads while minimizing cross-app and third-party sharing of user identifiers.
FLoCFederated Learning of Cohorts
One of Google’s proposed alternatives to cookies for individualized third-party tracking on its Chrome browser, relying on tracking users in groups rather than as individuals. Discontinued in January 2022 in favor of the Topics API.
GCMGalois/Counter Mode
A mode of operation for cryptographic methods, often used in conjunction with the Advanced Encryption Standard.
GPCGlobal Privacy Control
A browser setting for individuals to signal their privacy preferences (e.g., Do Not Sell My Personal Information under CCPA) to all sites visited.
GTMGoogle Tag Manager
System for web developers to manage user tracking on their businesses’ websites.
HCIHuman-Computer Interaction
An area of design and research that addresses how humans engage with physical and digital aspects of computers, so that system designs align with human needs and expectations.
HMACHash-based Message Authentication Code
A tool for authenticating messages, using any relevant cryptographic hash function. For instance, using the SHA-256 hash function to calculate the HMAC is referred to as HMAC-SHA256.
INDTA International Data Transfer Agreements
A contractual agreement that establishes compliant international data transfers within the European Union.
IoTInternet of Things
The interconnected network of devices embedded with computing and sensing abilities, particularly in contexts such as the home or workplace with devices that might not resemble computers in a traditional sense, e.g., a home thermostat with internet connectivity.
IPAInteroperable Private Attribution
A proposal for measuring ad campaigns that aims to preserve users’ privacy using multiparty computation and data aggregation, while providing useful metrics to advertisers.
LDULimited Data Use
Feature offered by Facebook in 2020 to businesses, aiming to limit businesses’ collection of Californians’ personal information in order for them to comply with the CCPA.
MLMachine Learning
A field focused on the development and usage of technologies that imitate some aspects of human learning, such that they gradually become more successful at specific tasks.
NLPNatural Language Processing
An area of computer science and linguistics that addresses ways in which software systems can analyze and process human language. Examples include automated transcription and sentiment analysis.
PaCPrivacy-as-Code
An approach that treats personal data in such a way that its privacy attributes are explicit and governable within the code environment.
PbDPrivacy By Design
Framework for building privacy into the design of technologies.
PETPrivacy Enhancing Technology
A tool designed to strengthen users’ privacy and to use minimal amounts of personal information, e.g., pseudonymization.
PGPPretty Good Privacy
One of the first publicly available public-key cryptography systems, in which sender of a message uses a public key specific to the recipient to encrypt a message (often using the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman algorithm), and the recipient uses a private key—known to no other party—to decrypt the message.
PHEPartially Homomorphic Encryption
Encryption practice which allows a single computation on the encrypted data.
PIIPersonally Identifiable Information
Information that could reasonably identify a unique individual; different regulations have different designations of what pieces of information are considered personally identifiable.
PSIPrivate Set Intersection
A type of secure multiparty computation where multiple parties can compute the elements shared among their respective datasets—without revealing any other information about those dataset.
QRQuick Response (Code)
A two-dimensional barcode that can point to a URL or application, posing risks to security and privacy if the code, for instance, links to a dangerous website or compromises device settings.
RBACRole-Based Access Control
Security and privacy framework with permissions assigned according to personnels’ specific roles.
RFIDRadio Frequency Identification
A type of tag that transmits a radio signal via a small antenna, used to send information over greater distances than tools that use other electromagnetic waves (e.g., infrared). RFID tags are sometimes implemented to track the location of objects, such as inventory moving through a commercial checkpoint.
RSARivest-Shamir-Adleman
One of the oldest public-key cryptosystems, the strength of which derives from the difficulty of factoring products of large prime numbers.
SDKSoftware Development Kit
A collection of tools for developing software applications with respect to particular platform or system requirements, such as those required for Android or iOS apps.
SDLCSoftware Development Life Cycle
The ongoing and iterative process for building software, spanning stages like designing, developing, testing, and reviewing.
SFESecure Function Evaluation
A cryptography problem where all users contribute their data to a shared function. This function’s output is the only additional information gained by each user.
SHASecure Hash Algorithm
A suite of cryptographic hash functions adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
SSLSecure Sockets Layer
Deprecated cryptographic protocol that was often used for securing websites, email, and other communications. Its successor is Transport Layer Security.
TADPFTrans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework
Announced agreement to support EU-U.S. data flows that uphold both regions’ privacy expectations. As of April 1, 2022, it is an in-principle agreement, not yet providing details on its implementation.
TCFTransparency and Consent Framework
A system developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau to power real-time bidding on advertising through processes like signaling users’ consent preferences to vendors.
TETTransparency-Enhancing Technology
A tool designed to improve a user’s understanding of how their personal data is collected and processed, e.g. a user-facing dashboard that shows the extent of user profiling.
TLSTransport Layer Security
Cryptographic protocol most commonly known for website security, the successor to the deprecated Secure Sockets Layer.
UAUser Agent
Short for “User Agent string,” information on a browser that communicates which browser is being used, the device it’s being used on, and the version of the browser.
UUIDUniversally Unique Identifier
128-bit value used in software and encryption as a distinct label.
VCRVerifiable Consumer Request
An alternative term for a data subject request (DSR), used in the text of the California Consumer Privacy Act.
VPNVirtual Private Network
A network over a public network so that parties can exchange information as if they were connected by a private network.
ZKPZero-Knowledge Proof, or Zero-Knowledge Protocol
A cryptographic process by which someone can prove to a distinct verifier that a given statement is true, without revealing any information to the verifier or the broader world besides the truth of the statement. At a high level, it is a means of enforcing honesty with minimal privacy leakage; its applications include authentication and blockchain transactions.

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