From Science Europe Data Glossary
Definition: data protection comprises measures to prevent the disclosure of data about individual persons that can be privacy sensitive or about individual companies that can harm the commercial interests of such companies.
Explanation: data protection is usually required by national or international legislation. The EU's Data Protection Directive is currently under revision and will be superseded by a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation; http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/