Your Right to Restrict Processing

As a data subject you have the right to restrict processing in certain circumstances. Some circumstances in which you might want to request restriction of processing include

  • when the accuracy of personal data is in dispute
  • when it is unclear when or if personal data about you will be deleted
  • you have objected to the use of your data (see ‘Your Right to Object’) but a decision has not been reached
  • you require an organisation to retain your personal data in order to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim


The right to restrict processing means you can limit the ways in which a data controller can use your personal data. The only thing the data controller can do with data you have restricted is to store it. They cannot change or modify it in any way.

As with most other of your data protection rights, the data controller must respond to your request for restriction within thirty days. If they will not accept your request they must explain their reasons for rejecting it.

If the restriction is temporary while some other matter is resolved, for example the accuracy of personal data, then the data controller must inform you before they lift the restriction.

This right is set out in Article 18 of the GDPR. The full text of this article is at the bottom of this page.

Where next?

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1. The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller restriction of processing where one of the following applies:

(a) the accuracy of the personal data is contested by the data subject, for a period enabling the controller to verify the accuracy of the personal data;

(b) the processing is unlawful and the data subject opposes the erasure of the personal data and requests the restriction of their use instead;

(c) the controller no longer needs the personal data for the purposes of the processing, but they are required by the data subject for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims;

(d) the data subject has objected to processing pursuant to Article 21(1) pending the verification whether the legitimate grounds of the controller override those of the data subject.

2. Where processing has been restricted under paragraph 1, such personal data shall, with the exception of storage, only be processed with the data subject’s consent or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or for the protection of the rights of another natural or legal person or for reasons of important public interest of the Union or of a Member State.

3. A data subject who has obtained restriction of processing pursuant to paragraph 1 shall be informed by the controller before the restriction of processing is lifted.


Data Protection Fundamentals (basics, definitions and more …)
Your Rights (all your data protection rights: access, information, rectification and more …)
In More Detail (explorations and explanations of data protection concepts …)
Keeping Track (tracking Subject Access Requests and complaints to Supervisory Authorities …)