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Published on April 29, 2020 AUTHOR Vivek Kokkengada
In our previous blog post “How to Manage DSARs Under CCPA Efficiently and Effectively” we defined and discussed Data Subject Access Rights or DSARs under the CCPA legislation. We provided information and guidelines that should provide a good foundation for a DSAR response policy. In this blog post, we’ll take it a step further and provide 6 keys steps to automating the DSAR process which will provide accuracy to the consumer. All enterprises need to focus on their process for managing a consumer's access to their personal information held by the company. As we said in our last blog post, this request to access personal information is commonly known as a ‘Data Subject Access Request’ or ‘DSAR’.
Different laws specify how these requests should be managed in different jurisdictions. Breaching DSAR rules has led to more than a dozen fines so far under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including a recent fine of €200,000 sanctioned against a German company for refusing to provide the requested information. Other common reasons for DSAR fines have included failure to respond to requests in time and failure to provide complete personal information to DSARs excluding video, audio, and phone recordings.
The new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into force on January 1st, 2020, is set to be at least as tough on penalties as the GDPR. The CCPA provides that companies will be subject to a civil penalty of between $2,500 and $7,500 per violation of the CCPA, which includes the DSAR mandate. While we can't say at this stage how the courts will interpret 'per violation', for large businesses, it is clear that fines could reach into the hundreds of millions in some cases.
Compliance with the CCPA has a massive reach as there are over 40 million Californian’s which means most organization’s databases will have at least a few in their systems. Furthermore, it is expected that other states, such as New York, Washington, and Illinois will use the CCPA as a blueprint and follow up with the legislation of their own.
You can read more about some of the differences between the GDPR and the CCPA here.
Now that we have laid the groundwork, let’s walk through the steps to implementing an efficient and cost-effective DSAR procedure.
Personal information is an extremely broad category of information. The CCPA defines personal information as information that: “identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household such as a real name, alias, postal address, unique personal identifier perhaps a login name, online identifiers such as an IP address, email address, account name, social security number, driver's license number, passport number, or other similar identifiers.”
While the request to access this information is commonly called a DSR, other common names include:
Complying with these requirements in the CCPA has the potential to be time-consuming and expensive: PwC estimates that businesses have already spent more than $5 million on average preparing for the CCPA.
The motto for CCPA compliance needs to be ‘automate where you can’. Planned automation will result in:
Companies need to consider the consumer’s right to make a DSAR –the right to request access to personal information alongside related rights under the CCPA. That is, the right to request the deletion of information and the right to opt-out of the on-sale of their personal information to a third party.
Beyond the compliance imperative, consumers are increasingly demanding data transparency, which consequently drives DSAR growth. Just as with other consumer preferences related to their moral or personal convictions, consumers will increasingly pay a premium for a company that takes care of their personal information. Automation is crucial to bring those consumers the data they request, quickly, and in the format they desire.
In order to respond to DSARs, companies need to have a robust process in place. Let’s go through 6 steps that we believe will fulfill the requirements of CCPA, the expectations of your customers while providing accuracy and ultimately saving your organization time and money.
The first step for dealing with DSARs is the efficient collection of verified consumer requests. It is recommended that companies have a data request form on their website to enable the ready acceptance of DSARs. Ideally, this form should:
Once the request has been submitted, the company systems need to locate the consumer’s information. Elements of personal information collation include:
While it is recommended that the collection of personal information in step two use an automated process, there is still an essential human element. Privacy team members within the business or other employees will generally need to follow up on unresolved issues from the automated collection. For example, if the system flags potentially duplicate information, this may need to be manually checked.
An automated system can ensure delivering notifications and that tasks are assigned to team members within and outside the business.
Once personal information has been identified, it will often be essential to collaborate across business units and with third parties to organize the information, verify it, and complete the request.
Personal information should not be sent over insecure systems for review and approval. An automated process here can allow for a ‘virtual Ops-Center’ - A secure space for team members to securely work together to discuss, coordinate and resolve issues as consumer responses are compiled.
Once the DSAR response content has been prepared and a compliance report created, it needs to be securely released to the consumer. These reports should be provided to consumers:
Due to the possibility of an audit or legal action, a company must also keep excellent records of DSAR fulfillment in order to demonstrate compliance with the CCPA.
In addition to requesting access to the information itself, a DSAR can also be accompanied by a request to delete that information. There is a range of exceptions and exemptions built into the DSAR rules which businesses need to be aware of. This helps balance the individual’s desire for privacy and a business’s requirement to retain that data.
The exceptions to erasure in the CCPA include:
An automated system can flag any personal information that should not be deleted for these specified reasons.
The financial costs of manually carrying out the steps 1-6 are significant. Manual processing of DSARs can cost a company between $1,400 to $10,000 per DSR request, depending on the complexity of its organization. With automation, we estimate the following savings in the DSAR process:
In addition to the reduced financial costs in process DSAR requests, there are potential savings from a reduced risk of non-compliance as well. These savings result from:
Faster response times, the ability to deal with request ‘spikes’, and responses to consumers that make it clear to them that their information is secure, all add to the consumer’s positive experience with that brand. Businesses that manage DSAR manually run the risk of losing out to the competition that can demonstrate greater respect for data privacy and protection.
In addition, a satisfied consumer whose response to a DSAR is received in a timely manner is less likely to pursue legal action against the company and substantially hurt its brand by not purchasing its products or by providing poor reviews.