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.
Data Privacy Acronym List

With an ever-growing list of acronyms, 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 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 10, 2021: We moved PIPL from the “Pending Legislation” section to the “Laws” section. We added ECPA and FCRA to the “Laws” section. We added CAC to the “Organizations and Roles” section. We added ADM, SADM, GPC, QR, and VPN to the “Concepts and Tools” section.
  • July 2, 2021: We added PIPA to the “Laws” section. We added DMA to the “Pending Legislation” section. We added FHE, FIPPs, and PHE to the “Concepts and Tools” section. We updated POPI(A) in the “Laws” section as well as PIPL in the “Pending Legislation” section.
  • June 14, 2021: We added IDFA, MPC, and PRA to the “Concepts and Tools” section.
  • May 21, 2021: We added FISA to the “Laws” section. We added E2E(E), IoT, and UA to the “Concepts and Tools” section.
  • April 30, 2021: We added CARU, DPC, FTC, ICO and NIST to the “Organizations and Roles” section.  We added ATT and FLoC to the “Concepts and Tools” section.
  • April 9, 2021: We added ePR to the “Pending Legislation” section. We added IAPP to the “Organizations and Roles” section. We added BCR to the “Activities” section.
  • March 19, 2021: We added CPPA, FPIC, and OPC to the “Organizations and Roles” section.

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Laws

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

BIPA

Biometric Information Privacy Act

State privacy law in Illinois governing how businesses can handle users’ biometric information, effective since 2008.

CCPA

California Consumer Privacy Act

State privacy law in California, effective since 2020 and to be followed by the CPRA in 2023.

CDPA

Consumer Data Protection Act

State privacy law in Virginia, going into effect in 2023.

COPPA

Children’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.

CPRA

California Privacy Rights Act

Upcoming state privacy law in California to replace the CCPA in 2023.

DPA

Data Protection Act

Federal privacy act in the United Kingdom, effective since 2018.

ECPA

Electronic 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.

FCRA

Fair 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.

FISA

Foreign 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.

GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation

Privacy law for the European Union, effective since 2018.

GLBA

Gramm-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.

HIPAA

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Federal medical privacy law in the United States governing protections for patients’ health information.

LGPD

Lei 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.

NPICIC

Nevada 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.

PIPEDA

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Federal privacy law in Canada, effective since 2000.

PIPA

Personal 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.

PIPL

Personal 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.

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Pending Legislation

These measures are under consideration but not yet passed.

DMA

Digital Markets Act

Proposed EU legislation that aims to address unfair business practices among large providers of digital services, including through regulation of end-user profiling, presented in 2020.

ePR

ePrivacy Regulation

Proposed EU regulation with specific privacy guidelines for electronic communications, presented in 2017.

PDP

Personal Data Protection Bill

Federal privacy bill in India, presented in 2019.

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Organizations and Roles

AEPD

Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (Spanish for Spanish Data Protection Agency)

Spanish agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

ANPD

Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados (Portuguese for National Data Protection Authority)

Brazilian agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

CAC

Cybersecurity Administration of China

Chinese agency responsible for upholding data protection law in the county and for implementing technical specifications for the country’s PIPL.

CARU

Children’s Advertising Review Unit

US agency responsible for regulating advertising as it relates to children under the age of 12.

CDPO

Certification des compétences du DPO

Individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to practice privacy in accordance with France’s CNIL agency

CIPM

Certified 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.

CIPP

Certified Information Privacy Professional

Title for an individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to practice privacy in legal and compliance settings.

CIPT

Certified Information Privacy Technologist

Title for an individual certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to build privacy into engineering and IT functions..

CJEU

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judicial body charged with interpreting and applying EU law in EU member countries.

CNIL

Commission 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.

CNPD

Commission Nationale pour la Protection des Données (French for National Data Protection Commission)

Luxembourgish agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

CPPA

California Privacy Protection Agency

Agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the CPRA in California, beginning in 2023.

DPA

Data 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.

DPC

Data Protection Commission

Ireland’s agency for upholding privacy law in the country, notably including Facebook’s EU base in Dublin.

DPO

Data Protection Officer

Point-person for a company’s privacy compliance and training under GDPR.

EDPB

European Data Protection Board

Independent organization for implementing data protection regulations in the EU, working in concert with DPAs and the EDPS.

EDPS

European Data Protection Supervisor

Independent authority in the EU charged with overseeing how EU entities process personal data.

FDPIC

Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner

Switzerland’s data protection authority.

FTC

Federal Trade Commission

US federal agency responsible for enforcing regulations pertaining to consumer protection and market competition.

IAPP

International 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.

ICO

Information Commissioner’s Office

United Kingdom’s agency for upholding privacy law in the country.

ISA

Independent 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.

NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology

US federal agency that sets guidelines for innovation across technical fields and establishes frameworks for cybersecurity and privacy.

OPC

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

New Zealand’s agency for upholding privacy law in the country.

PCPD

Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data

Hong Kong agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

PIPC

Personal Information Protection Commission

South Korean agency responsible for upholding data privacy law in the country.

PPA

Privacy Protection Agency

Enforcement agency under California’s CPRA.

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Activities

ADM, SADM

Automated 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.

BCR

Binding Corporate Rule

Policy for data protection applying to EU companies that transfer EU residents’ personal data outside of the EU.

DPA

Data Processing Agreement

Agreement between parties that share EU citizens’ personal data , as required under GDPR.

DPIA

Data 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, SAR

Data 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.

ETL

Extract, Transform, Load

General data management term for the process of combining data from multiple sources.

IDFA

Identifier 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, 2FA

Multi-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.

MPC

Multi-Party Computation

Cryptography practice in which multiple parties run computations while their inputs are kept private from one another.

PRA

Private 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.

RoPA

Record of Processing Activities

Inventory of how, why, and with whom a business handles EU citizens’ personal data, as required under GDPR.

SCC

Standard Contractual Clause

Legal mechanism for sharing the personal data of European Economic Area’s citizens with entities outside of the European Economic Area.

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Concepts and Tools

ATT

App 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.

E2E(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.

FHE

Fully Homomorphic Encryption

Encryption practice which allows an arbitrary number of computations on the encrypted data.

FIPPs

Fair 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).

FLoC

Federated 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.

GPC

Global 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.

GTM

Google Tag Manager

System for web developers to manage user tracking on their businesses’ websites.

IoT

Internet 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.

LDU

Limited 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.

PbD

Privacy By Design

Framework for building privacy into the design of technologies.

PET

Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Tools designed to strengthen users’ privacy and to use minimal amounts of personal information, e.g., pseudonymization.

PHE

Partially Homomorphic Encryption

Encryption practice which allows a single computation on the encrypted data.

PII

Personally Identifiable Information

Information that could reasonably identify a unique individual; different regulations have different designations of what pieces of information are considered personally identifiable.

QR

Quick 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.

RbAC

Role-based Access Control

Security and privacy framework with permissions assigned according to personnels’ specific roles.

RTBF

Right to Be Forgotten

Data right under some privacy laws, in which an individual can request that their personal information be removed from certain databases; sometimes used to refer to GDPR’s right to erasure.

UA

User 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.

UUID

Universally Unique Identifier

128-bit value used in software and encryption as a distinct label.

VPN

Virtual Private Network

A network over a public network so that parties can exchange information as if they were connected by a private network.

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Strong password practices are essential for keeping your company's and users' data safe, in processing DSARs and in your general business practices. However, passwords are just one part of the equation. For next-level protection, here's the 411 on 2FA: two-factor authentication.

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