The recent case of a couple who are unable to access information about the whereabouts of their missing son raises questions about what exactly constitutes personal data, and how far the protection of that data should go.
While we do not have further information on the circumstances of this case, it all fundamentally comes down to the question: what is personal data, and is there a justification to share it?
Personal data is deliberately broadly defined in the EU. "Personal data" shall mean any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. While consent by the data subject is generally an option to overcome data privacy restrictions, it seems as if Matthew Green has not given his consent (yet).
Matthew Green disappeared from his Sittingbourne home in April 2010, after saying he was on his way to London to see friends. But that was the last parents Jim and Pauline saw of him. Police revealed he was in Europe. Matthew Green went missing in April 2010. Speaking to KentOnline this afternoon, the couple have told how they were visited by a police officer on May 3 to say he was in Spain. It has emerged Matthew was spoken to by Spanish authorities who were concerned about his welfare. He gave them a number of names, including his real one, which led them to contact Kent police after he came up on a missing person's database. However, due to data protection laws, the couple can't be put in direct touch with Matthew, or told exactly where he is.