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Data (a plural noun) are representations of factual information without context, usually stripped down for the sake of processing. Once context is applied to data, data then become more commonly known as information. Once information becomes communicated, it becomes knowledge. 

In NYS Penal Law § 156.00 (2022), Offenses Involving Computers, part 3 defines computer data as “property and a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions which are being processed, or have been processed in a computer and may be in any form, including magnetic storage media, punched cards, or stored internally in the memory of the computer.”

See also: database

[Last updated in April of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]