Unstructured Data

One of the key issues with "right of access" is the issue of unstructured data. Unstructured data can include e-mails, videos, pictures, social media posts and other types of data not organised in a defined manner. 

Under GDPR, the "right of access" simply states:

"The controller shall provide a copy of the personal data undergoing processing. For any further copies requested by the data subject, the controller may charge a reasonable fee based on administrative costs. Where the data subject makes the request by electronic means, and unless otherwise requested by the data subject, the information shall be provided in a commonly used electronic form."

From this statement it is not clear how to handle unstructured data. However in recital (15) we can see the following statement:

"The protection of natural persons should apply to the processing of personal data by automated means, as well as to manual processing, if the personal data are contained or are intended to be contained in a filing system. Files or sets of files, as well as their cover pages, which are not structured according to specific criteria should not fall within the scope of this Regulation"

This recital seems to imply that unstructured data is not covered under GDPR, and hence is not subject to access requests. This would mean that any unstructured data should not be included in a data subject access request.