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what is cpra

Despite the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) entering enforcement only most recently, Californians are holding their breath to see whether the CCPA will become old news very fast. This is because the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will feature on the November 2020 ballot this fall. And if it is voted in directly by the residents of California, the CPRA will significantly amend the recently passed CCPA to create a whole new host data privacy rights for Californians while increasing the obligations of businesses, online service providers and other data processors who deal with the personal information and data of residents of California. It would be like the CCPA never came. It would become a footnote in history i.e a stepping stone for the true heir: the CPRA.

History and Origins of the CPRA

The CPRA has been spearheaded by the same privacy groups and activists who were behind the CCPA. Back in 2018, a ballot initiative termed as the ‘Consumer Right to Privacy Act’ was supposed to appear on the November 2018 ballot in California as the first comprehensive data protection law in the United States. Due to lobbying by businesses though, a compromise was struck and the California legislature passed the CCPA and the initiative was withdrawn. However, regardless of CCPA’s strict language and current protections of personal information, Californians are now pushing for it to become more stringent through the amendments brought about by the CPRA because of the loopholes it has left behind which allow for weak enforcement and a lack of mention of sensitive personal information, consent, dark patterns, online profiling, data contractors etc. all of which are very important terms in the world of data privacy regulation.

Likelihood to succeed

Despite some criticism from consumer rights groups, it is likely that the CPRA will be voted into law. Polls conducted in late 2019 showed CPRA having an approval rating of 80% among Californians. Also, it has gained the support of Andrew Yang, a recent presidential candidate and public personality. Thus, businesses which collect, process, sell and buy personal information of California residents and have had to make difficult and costly adjustments to comply with the CCPA must accept that the CPRA, in its current form, will most likely be passed and enforced as is. Interested stakeholders must study this new law and its protection requirements and work towards compliance right now so as to avoid any last minute panic.

Unamendable nature

While the CCPA can be currently amended (and even repealed) through a simple majority of the California legislature, as per Section 24 of the CPRA, if the law is passed no amendment to the CPRA can be made by the California legislature which would ‘weaken the privacy rights of the consumers’. Thus when CPRA becomes law, businesses should lose all expectations of their obligations under the law of California to be amended in their favor. Any amendment would only bring stricter obligations and the California legislature would not be able to repeal the law as well unless they legislate something even more stringent.

Chance of pre-emption

The CPRA is state law and there is a chance that it might be preempted by any Federal legislation on data privacy. One of the most recent bills by the Republican party, SAFE DATA act, proposes just that.

However, it should be remembered that one of the popular bills currently being considered by the Senate, the Consumer Online Privacy Act (COPRA) will allow states to promulgate and enforce their own data privacy laws as long as they enhance the data privacy standards for consumers as laid down by the federal law. A perusal of the provisions of COPRA and of CPRA makes it clear that CPRA definitely expands and enhances data privacy protections and therefore it shall not be preempted if COPRA is passed.

In fact, arguably, given how California has historically been known to be a leader in terms of bringing about innovative legislation which is then eventually adopted by other states (i.e interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, increase in minimum wage, stem cell research)  it would be safe to assume that the obligations on businesses towards data privacy protections in the CPRA will be adopted by other states very soon and might even be treated as an inspiration for any future federal privacy law.

Expanded global reach

Finally, understanding the CPRA and the duties and obligations it places on businesses and data processors is vital for the online global business community because of its expanded territorial reach.

The CPRA has mandated in Section 4 a new significant duty on businesses operating in California who collect data and then disclose, share or sell personal information to any other entity for any specific business purpose - the business MUST sign a contract with the entity, in which the entity must agree to be bound by the entire data privacy protection obligations of the CPRA and must provide ‘the same level of privacy protections’ to the shared/bought personal information.

This is a definite step up from the requirement in the CCPA for businesses operating in California who collect the personal information of Californians and then sell, disclose or share that information with other entities to only sign a written contract ensuring the data was used for the specific business purpose it was provided for and that if it was re-sold, the consumers in California would receive a notice to opt-out of the sale.

This new duty on businesses who operate in California and collect the data of Californians (which arguably are some of the biggest data processing companies of the world) would effectively make the entire CPRA apply globally, as any entity these companies choose to share their data with would have to accept to be bound by all of its requirements and protections of the law.


In view of these factors, businesses should be keeping a close eye on California and understanding the stringent new standards and requirements which are set forth by the CPRA right now. The earlier those standards are understood and worked towards, the faster and less costly compliance would eventually be. This is where SECURITI.ai can help.

SECURITI.ai is a leader in global privacy compliance software. Our award-winning compliance solution revolves around the concept of PrivacyOps, which calls for utilizing robotic automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide enterprises with a system that automates the majority of compliance tasks and freeing up crucial resources for other areas of business. Our innovative automated mechanisms can help businesses comply with the complex requirements of the CPRA with the simple click of a button.

Keep following our blog where we will go through every change the CPRA will bring to provide a comprehensive overview of this next big data privacy regulatory framework or contact us now to start managing your compliance needs today.

With the July 1 enforcement date fast approaching, California's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has finalized the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA or the “Act”). Several sections of the finalized Act are critical to compliance with the act to include the following.

1. Be transparent with how your business collections and processes data. A fundamental principle of the Act is the requirement of “...notice, at or before the point of collection, about the categories of personal information to be collected from them and the purposes for which the personal information will be used.This includes the categories and sources of PII collection and a detailed description of any third-parties to which the business will be sharing this PII.

2. Think carefully on which data sales are worthwhile. Business units may wish to carry out a risk/reward analysis on how sensitive consumers are to the sale of data to certain sectors of third parties. Data collected from consumers may highlight that certain relationships are not financially beneficial to the business/seller.

3. Separate prices based on data disclosure are allowed but show your work. The regulations allow differential pricing based on the data subject’s decision to disclose their data, provided the business offers such incentives related to price or service differences. Furthermore, under CCPA Sec. 999.307(b)(5), the statement must demonstrate how the financial incentive or price difference is reasonably related to the value of the consumer’s data.

4. Rewards programs and incentives are allowed, but show your work. Businesses retain the right under the CCPA to offer financial incentives or price/service differentials if the difference is reasonably related to the value of the data at issue. Once again, documentation is key: “If a business is unable to calculate a good-faith estimate of the value of the consumer’s data or cannot show that the financial incentive or price or service difference is reasonably related to the value of the consumer’s data, that business shall not offer the financial incentive or price or service difference”. Details are available in the text of the legislation. Note that when a business calculates the value of its consumer data, the business must be able to document and substantiate its procedure.

5. Household or joint accounts require extra caution. Businesses not providing password protected household accounts must comply with CCPA Sec. 999.318 before fulfilling a request to access or delete household information. Specifically, these businesses must:

  1. verify that all consumers of the household jointly request access to the specific information;
  2. individually verify the identity, in accordance with Section, 999.325, of each and every household members making the household request;
  3. verify that each member making the request is currently a member of the household.

6. Check the languages in which you do business. Regulations govern the noticing requirements provided to consumers. The most recent changes to the regulations amended the notice requirements to read “be available in the languages in which the business in its ordinary course provides contracts, disclaimers, sale announcements, and other information to consumers in California.’ [emphasis added]. This revised language shows an intent to limit this requirement to languages used by the company in California. Therefore, businesses must review the languages used to engage customers as part of the course of business in California. This review process should include signage at physical locations in the state, including: front desks, elevators, and room heating/cooling system instructions.

7. If you already sell PII (according to the broad CCPA definition of sell), you must now  get expressed customer authorization to continue this practice. The Act dictates that ‘A business shall not sell the personal information it collected during the time the business did not have a notice of right to opt-out notice posted unless it obtains the affirmative authorization of the consumer’. Therefore, If a company continues to sell this data to third parties without receiving an affirmative authorization, it will be in violation of the act. However, businesses can re-establish the right to sell by notifying the subject of their new privacy policy and acquiring affirmative authorization in the process.

8. Deidentification is sufficient. The regulations recognize that due to how records systems were constructed, active deletion of personal information may be difficult or impossible. Therefore the deidentification or aggregation of the consumer’s personal information is sufficient to comply with a consumer request to delete under the CCPA.

9. Act quickly on requests to opt out. These requests are both an exception to this rule and the most common request seen under the law. CCPA Sec. 999.315(f) mandates that businesses must comply with such requests in no more than fifteen (15) business days from the date of the request. The narrow window makes streamlined reporting of CCPA requests across business units essential for response-time compliance.

10. You do not have to search everywhere for data. Businesses are not required to search for personal information  if ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • the business does not maintain certain personal information in searchable/accessible format;
  • the business maintains the information solely for compliance purposes;
  • the business neither sells or uses the information for a commercial purpose;
  • and the business describes to the consumer the categories of personal information that went unsearched because they met the above criteria.

Therefore, security data such as security-camera footage would not be covered under these regulations. A hotel receiving an information access request from a guest would not have to search its CCTV  footage for video of the guest, as long as the hotel notified the guest that such security footage went unsearched because it met all other categories of this regulation.

In sum, businesses should focus on transparency with their customers and follow a risk-based approach on how they collect, processes, and disseminate personal information. Bottom line is, customer personal information belongs to the individual, not the business.

Response strategy graphics

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.


Automation is Essential

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:

  • DSAR - Data Subject Access Request
  • VCR - Verifiable Consumer Request
  • IRR - Individual Rights Request
  • SRR – Subject Rights Request
  • SAR – Subject Action Request

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:

  • Financial cost savings in the DSAR Process
  • Reduced risk of financial compliance penalties due to more robust compliance processes
  • Reduced risk of brand loss

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.


Step One: Collect & Process DSARs

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:

  • be embedded into the company website, so it’s easily accessible to the consumer;
  • be customized, depending on regional requirements and the additional needs of the company. This may mean multiple forms for consumers from different regions;
  • allow consumers to select from a series of predefined choices (e.g., a drop-down box) to avoid overly general or vague requests. This is also useful for establishing if the consumer has a different, related, request such as a request to delete their personal information;
  • include strong identity verification measures. These measures protect incoming requests, prevent fraud and eliminate incoming bots.


Step Two: Collect Personal Information and identify the owner

Once the request has been submitted, the company systems need to locate the consumer’s information. Elements of personal information collation include:

  • locating information from disparate systems. Personal information is often in different places and in various forms: Some of it may be contained on-premises, some may be stored on cloud services, some information may be contained in emails. Often the data is both structured (such as data found in databases) and unstructured (such as data sitting in emails);
  • coordinating with third-party vendors to accumulate all the relevant information;
  • ensuring each required aspect of the personal information is collated. Under the CCPA, collated information must include the categories of personal information collected, the categories of information sources, the commercial purposes for the information, the categories of third parties with whom information has been shared and the categories of that personal information.


Step Three: Orchestrate Tasks for Review & Approval

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.


Step Four: Collaboration

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.


Step Five: Deliver Responses Securely

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:

  • in an easy to transfer format, and
  • in a secure format that is not vulnerable to alteration or tampering during transport (e.g., encrypted with a key unique for that consumer).

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.


Step 6: Consider DSAR Exemptions and Refusals

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:

  • Information required to complete a transaction;
  • Security. Sometimes information must be retained in order to detect fraud, prosecute those responsible and debug errors;
  • Errors. Some personal information may need to be retained to identify and fix program errors;
  • Exercise Free Speech;
  • CalECPA (California Electronic Communications Privacy Act) compliance. This means that businesses don’t need to delete certain information when state law enforcement have requested personal information;
  • Personal Information collated for the purposes of research in the public interest;
  • Expected internal uses;
  • Legal Compliance. Any personal information a business has to keep to satisfy a legal obligation is not subject to consumer deletion requests.

An automated system can flag any personal information that should not be deleted for these specified reasons.


How DSAR Automation Reduces the Financial Cost of the DSAR Process

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:

  • A 90 percent saving on work hours for identifying personal information and 60 percent reduction in work hours for assessing that information
  • A substantial reduction in the financial costs of other CCPA compliance tasks. For example, automated processes for identifying personal information are extremely useful when working out which consumers need to be notified in the case of a data breach
  • Dealing with request ‘spikes’. The speed at which automation allows a company to deal with a DSAR also permits the company to more efficiently manage ‘spikes’ in requests where many consumers make a request at the same time.


How DSAR Automation Reduces the Potential Financial Costs of Non-Compliance

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:

  • Reducing the compliance risk caused by human error. Collating data manually is subject to human error in a way that automated machine learning solutions are not. In addition, the steps for processing and responding to a DSAR manually, add to ‘data sprawl’, and a risk that information shared through insecure channels could itself be breached
  • The time and energy spent in dealing manually with DSAR could be better devoted to other compliance tasks
  • Demonstrating Compliance. It is essential under the CCPA that a business be able to demonstrate its compliance if it were to face legal actions from consumers or the California Attorney-General. An automated procedure is much better at automatically recording compliance steps taken.


How DSAR Automation Reduces the Risk of Brand Loss

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.


DSAR Automation Key Takeaways

  • Complying with the CCPA and other data protection laws and regulations requires that companies have a robust DSAR procedure in place. The majority of companies need to take this into account – not just those located in California.
  • We recommend six broad steps to a robust DSAR Procedure. Collecting requests, collecting information, processing, collaboration, secure DSAR delivery, and exception processing.
  • We strongly recommend an automated solution for implementing these six steps. This reduces the costs of the process, reduces the risk of compliance penalties and will protect you from brand loss.
  • PRIVACI has automated solutions for processing DSARs under the CCPA as well as other regulatory regimes.

Many business owners, compliance professionals, and IT security staff have been scrambling to deal with the impact that GDPR had when it took effect on May 25th, 2018. Over 12 significant fines have been levied against organizations worth €359M in the first year. Marriot, British Airways, Lithuania, and of course, Google in France are just several well-known brands that have suffered significant fines for breaches or improperly handling sensitive consumer data.

The CCPA is following in GDPR’s footsteps when it comes to levying fines for not following the stringent guidelines of the law. For example, the California Civil Code that defines one major sanction reads “civil class action lawsuits to pay statutory damages between $100 to $750 per California resident and incident, or actual damages, whichever is greater.”

This presents a much bigger issue for most organizations, as there is no limit on the number of private civil actions that might be launched, and the costs will be high. The Equifax breach affected roughly 15 million Californians, meaning that if there were a similar breach to happen under the CCPA, in a worst-case scenario, they could have been liable for over $11 billion in claims, simply on the grounds of the consumer distress caused.

If the Equifax Breach Occurred Under CCPA Regulations the Company May Have Been Liable for Over $11 Billion in Claims

The CCPA isn’t just a state law. It will become the de-facto national standard for the foreseeable future, because of the sheer numbers of Californians most businesses in the United States will have to comply. Meaning, with nearly 40 million Californians, the majority of businesses will have at least some Californians and their PII in their databases, CRM’s, or other systems.

Companies will have to disclose to California customers what data of theirs has been collected, delete it, and stop selling it if the customer makes that request. According to PwC, enterprises have already spent more than $5 million on average preparing for the CCPA, with spending expected to rise dramatically throughout 2020.

What Exactly is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a bill intended to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California. The CCPA intends to provide California residents with the right to:

  1. Know what personal data is being collected about them.
  2. Know whether their personal data is sold or disclosed and to whom.
  3. Say no to the sale of personal data.
  4. Access their personal data.
  5. Request a business to delete any personal information about a business collected from them.
  6. Not be discriminated against for exercising their privacy rights.

Privacy and security professionals have had numerous questions about how the law will change the way they handle sensitive data and the various requests they may receive from their customers who request data collection information or want to know other information about their PII called DSAR’s.

In the case of the CCPA what exactly is personal information or PII? 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 log in name, online identifier such as an IP address, email address, account name, social security number, driver's license number, passport number, or other similar identifiers.”

What Is a DSAR or Data Subject Access Rights? - Also Known as DSR, SRR, and SAR’s

The term Data Subject Access Rights first gained popularity with the advent of GDPR. The acronym DSAR stands for Data Subject Access Rights, however you may see it used as an acronym for Data Subject Access Requests. To be clear, Data Subject Access Rights are the rights provided to the consumer by the legislation while a DSAR is the actual consumer request for information or deletion. In addition, you will see DSR, SRR, VCR, IRR, and SAR’s used interchangeably within organizations and even legal entities.

Data Subject Access Rights are the rights provided to the consumer by the legislation, while a SAR is the actual consumer request for information or deletion. In addition, you will see DSR, SAR, SRR, IRR, and VCR’s used interchangeably within organizations and even legal entities.

  • DSR – Data Subject Request – identical to a DSAR
  • SAR – Subject Action Request – identical to a DSAR
  • SRR – Subject Rights Request – identical to a DSAR
  • IRR – Individual Rights Request – identical to a DSAR
  • VCR – Verifiable Consumer Request – while this is like a DSAR, SRR, SAR, IRR, and DSR, some organizations are interpreting this as the first step in completing a DSAR. Meaning, VCR is verifying the request that you received is from an actual data source in the system and not simply SPAM.

Regulations like the CCPA give individuals the right to request information about the way companies handle their personal information. A data subject makes his request via email, an online form, or another form of communication dictated by the guidelines of the law and the choice of the company. The company then needs to verify the requestor’s identity and existence within their database and track the request through to resolution. This process is required to be completed within 45 days to follow the compliance guidelines of CCPA.

DSAR Requests under CCPA Will Overwhelm Organizations

While the legislators in California who created CCPA may have thought complying with CCPA would be simple for organizations, they underestimated the cost and impact of the legislation. Considering all the moving parts in correctly operationalizing a DSAR, organizations have struggled to implement a viable solution.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that, by 2021, 80% of the negative financial impact of the CCPA will spiral from a failure to implement scalable processes to manage these requests unless they invest in a cost effective, automated solution.

Let’s walk through a simple bank transaction to understand the complexity of finding PII and matching it to the data subject.

Consider the following transaction:

  • A single bank transaction may get replicated across 100 systems or databases within a large bank.
  • Storage has become so inexpensive that enterprises have collected petabytes of data each year and have retained almost all of it in disparate databases.
  • Data is routinely propagated across the organizations to provide access to a wide variety of users for various business initiatives.

As we have found with many data governance exercises within organizations, the massive growth in data collection and proliferation has not been accompanied by an equally matched effort in data management and data governance. In other words, organizations don’t know where all the PII of customers resides in the systems and worse how to query the systems and databases to find it.

The consequences of not correctly identifying and governing the data have been painful as data breaches, misuse of PII, and a loss of consumer trust. In response, companies have poured resources into implementing security controls to block or restrict access to their data, however, whereas security is focused on who is using the data, privacy and CCPA is about how the data is being used and for what purpose. Until now, the basic data inventory or data governance process for many companies has been a manual one consisting of application data owner surveys and spreadsheets.

DSAR Requests will Force More Effective Data Governance

DSARs push the traditional manual process to its breaking point. Not only in people resources required to manually search those 100 systems in the bank example for each DSAR, but also in the accuracy and completeness required to be defensible with the regulators. It is a big data problem, and a new approach is needed to process petabytes of data, extract key data points, and derive the relationships between them.

Both GDPR and CCPA significantly increase the requirements on businesses regarding how they address individual rights and related requests (e.g., to access or delete personal information) – specifically the type of requests they need to address and the timeline and process they need to follow to fulfill the requests. For example, GDPR requires that requests be addressed within one month, CCPA within 45 days (with some exceptions and extensions permitted).

DSAR Requirements for CCPA Compliance

The California Attorney General’s office published regulations that provide guidance on complying with Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), a critical feature of the CCPA that allows consumers the right to know what personal information:

  1. An organization has collected
  2. The categories of PII that have been collected (Birth Date, Social Security Number, Gender, ect.)
  3. Purpose of collecting the data
  4. With whom the data was shared outside of the organization
  5. Request deletion of their data
  6. Request the right to opt-out of the sale of their data.

The regulations require that an organization offer two methods for consumers to submit those requests, and one of those must reflect how the business primarily interacts with consumers (an online portal, a paper form, or a toll-free number, for example). Basically, the law was designed to make it easy for consumers to request their data.

Managing and Responding to DSARs

Organizations would be wise not to cut corners when it comes to complying with SAR requests. According to the ICO’s own official statistics, the mishandling of DSARs is the number one data protection issue the public is passionate about. In 2016, 42% of the 18,000+ data protection-related complaints lodged with the ICO concerned individuals’ rights to access their personal data held by organizations.

Any organization will need to have the following six capabilities to complying with DSAR’s accurately, cost-effectively, and at scale:

  1. Submittal Form Requests: Request forms should enable consumers to select from a series of well-defined choices to help determine who they are and what their request is. This makes it much easier to respond, route, and manage requests versus having general or vague requests.
  2. Automated Authentication: Organizations that have an established online account with their consumers can authenticate the requestor using PII that is already maintained by the business.
  3. Automate Search & Collection of Data: This will be the most time-consuming aspect of complying with CCPA for organizations that don’t invest in an intelligent, automated solution. Manual search involves finding the owners of the data in the organizations and then assembling the data manually from disparate databases or systems.
  4. Deletion: Organizations will be responsible to not only execute PII deletion requests from consumers, but also to verify across systems that none of the consumer's PII has been inadvertently retained, and to confirm as such with the consumer.
  5. Align PII Retention Requirements with Legal Issues: Legal hold requirements may impact a customer’s request to delete their data in some cases. Organizations are often required to retain purchase records that contain customer PII.
  6. Document & Maintain an Audit Log of All Steps & Timelines: This is both a requirement of CCPA and from a legal standpoint, the most effective way of verifying compliance and chain of custody.

These six requirements clearly illustrate the need for a PII data discovery solution that handles the DSAR process from beginning to end. The solution needs to do the hard work of scouring multiple and disparate systems for PII across the globe instantly and automatically. Further, the solution must document the relationship between data and consumer, assign owners of the PII and assets the DSAR submission, and operationalize and maintain the process securely as mishandling or the data or failure to redact certain PII will undoubtedly result in fines or legal action.

The Benefits of DSAR Automation

Until now, the organizations have been using data governance, data classification-based security, eDiscovery, and even digital forensic tools to find and manage PII. These products are designed to find keywords or PII in files, email, and databases relying on pattern magic, using Regular Expression, GREP, or other search functionality.

For use cases in compliance legislation like PCI or HIPAA where exact search criterion was available with only a limited volume of data and a small number of machines to scan, they solved the problem, however inefficiently. The tools that were used were too slow, complicated, and inefficient to handle privacy use cases like DSAR. Because eDiscovery and data classification tools are not geared to search dozens of systems for specific information like PII, they are generally not reliable at collecting personal information accurately and further have little ability to match the data to an individual.

Technology that automates the DSAR process within the mandated response timeframe offers workflows to help employees across an organization collaborate on locating data, and ultimately provide the data to the requesting user are critical to saving organizations time and money.

Key Takeaways

CCPA will add risk, costs, and inefficiencies to organizations that do not implement an automated, intelligent solution. Manually fulfilling DSAR’s is estimated to cost $1,400 per each request when organizations fulfill the customer request manually.

The keys to minimizing costs, maximizing efficiency, and eliminating risk are implementing a solution that will:

  1. Automate DSAR Management
  2. Secure Fulfillment of DSAR’s
  3. Continuous Monitoring and Tracking of Requests
  4. Automate PII Data Linking
  5. Monitor and Track Customer Consent
  6. Assess CCPA readiness
  7. Assess 3rd Party Compliance
  8. Map PII Data Flow

Intelligent solutions that leverage DSR Robotic Automation and Artificial Intelligence can empower a process and DSAR workflow that substantially reduces costs, eliminates errors, and provides a more seamless and engaging customer experience.

Next Steps

To learn more about benefits of DSAR automation, check out the following resources:

If you’re reading this, you care about data privacy. Maybe you care about it in the scope of your job responsibilities, or perhaps you care about it personally: in the scope of your own personal life and technology use. But more likely than not, it’s a mix of the two.  This is why automation of privacy efforts – and PrivacyOps -- matters. Curious? Read on.

The cultural zeitgeist of data privacy awareness

We didn’t get here by accident. Governments around the world have not enacted data-centric regulations such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) out of the pure goodness of their hearts. These laws are largely in response to growing public and awareness and outcry over-exploitation of sensitive personal information: personal information that individuals feel they often have little choice in providing or controlling if they are to participate in modern society. Pick your favorite headline about a breach or data privacy violation; data privacy awareness is high and growing.

The research done by 451 Research also corroborates this. In one of our consumer survey cycles, we asked individuals how concerned they were about data privacy. A full 90% reported they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned.” Only 1% reported they were “not at all concerned.”

That type of awareness is hard to ignore, and in the US, individual states are rapidly enacting legislation for data privacy and protection: following in the footsteps of California. But for businesses looking to comply with these regulations, the landscape is treacherous. Not only does California’s law – CCPA – have extraterritorial reach, but all of the individual state proposals for laws are slightly different, leading to balkanization of data privacy and protection standards in the US. Interstate organizations in the US, then, cannot sustainably approach each new regulation with an ad hoc “Whack-a-Mole” approach. They need privacy programs that are adaptable, scalable, and that leverage automation to execute data management tasks common to multiple regulatory frameworks.


Common denominators: identifying the key principles of data privacy

But what, exactly, is the common denominator across these increasingly diverse data protection and privacy mandates? It is often easier to get caught up in the individual nuances and “checkbox” requirements of each than it is to identify core underlying principles. Identifying differences can give the organization a deceivingly simple “to-do” list that misses the big picture. In reality, data privacy and data protection regulations fundamentally exist to protect the rights of individuals, and to protect the rights of individuals, organizations need full control of ALL the personal data in their possession.

Across data privacy and protection regulations, individuals are generally given the “right to know” and the “right to say no” with regard to their data. The right to delete personal data, the right to data portability, the right to reasonable security for personal data, and the right to be notified in the case of a data breach are also all very common. Again, organizations must have a very granular understanding of what personal data is in their possession and what is happening to it at all times if these basic rights are to be fulfilled. Not knowing is not an excuse.


Challenges with data privacy in the modern IT ecosystem

Unfortunately for businesses, data is more difficult to control and understand than ever before. Once personal data is ingested into an organization, it propagates into countless internal systems and data silos, and can make its way to dozens or even hundreds of third-party vendor systems that the original organization has limited control over. A growing number of end users demanding data within organizations also complicates the management of appropriate access and permissions.

And the diversity of the average business IT environment is simply staggering. According to 451 Research’s enterprise practitioner survey results, 72% of organizations that use the public cloud use more than one public cloud vendor, and a total of 8% used more than three public cloud vendors: an impressive feat considering only three public cloud providers dominate the market in the US. For organizations with 1,000+ employees, a full third – 33% -- report having more than 50 distinct departmental data silos. That’s a lot of disparate data sources to manage.

A data storm is brewing

These factors amount to a perfect storm. Growing public outrage and awareness, proliferating regulations, sprawling IT ecosystems, an expanding pool of self-service data consumers, and the intensifying enterprise pressure to extract maximum insight from all available informational resources.

We’re at the end of an era; gone are the days where “reactive” business functions such as compliance and data privacy could be at odds with more “proactive” enterprise insight initiatives such as analytics and data science. In an era of rapid disruption, organizations that want to survive must align their business objectives such that data privacy and protection is no longer a burden or cost center. Rather, it must be an accelerator for better data management architecture and practices which will benefit all stakeholders.


The operationalization of responsible data use

In this context, data privacy and protection efforts are deeply intertwined with the viability of the business and the ability to meet the needs and expectations of customers: particularly in the B2C space. So, it should go without saying that data privacy and data protection needs to be an ongoing, iterative, adaptable process rather than a project-based “checkbox” approach with a deadline. New regulations will always emerge; it is up to organizations to implement processes and technology that can support evolving needs rather than just the specifications of a single law.

Automation will be critical. There is no amount of human talent and effort sufficient to scale to the data management volume challenges within a typical modern organization. There is simply too much data to evaluate and protect. Capabilities such as automated detection of potentially-sensitive data sources, automated policy controls for data, automated control of data access rights, and automated fulfillment of data subject access requests (DSARs) are all possible and – increasingly – necessary.

The PrivacyOps concept and framework looks to operationalize data privacy practices across the organization, leveraging automation, so that not only compliance objectives can be met, but so that the friction of end user data access and leverage can be reduced. Better data management and data privacy controls, when implemented correctly, can actually free up data that was formerly locked away in silos. To the average business end user, such as a data analyst, an effective PrivacyOps program will be invisible and simply make access to appropriate data sources quicker and more seamless.


The PrivacyOps Framework

What does PrivacyOps look like? It is a framework, rather than a specific tool, that takes into account people, processes, and technology. Emphasis on automation of error-prone and high-scale tasks is a must. At its most rudimentary, it breaks down into the convergence of four basic “systems:”

  • System of engagement with those that have privacy rights
    How will the organization communicate securely and effectively, and acknowledge the shifting preferences, of its data subject and customer audience?
  • System of automation for fulfilling privacy requirements
    How will the organization automate the assessment of third-party risk, or delivery of data to those that request it, or appropriate and timely notifications in the case of a breach?
  • System of record, including privacy knowledge and analytics
    How will the organization actually demonstrate that its compliance initiatives have been consistent and robust, or learn from its past data privacy efforts?
  • System of collaboration among privacy stakeholders
    How will the organization enable diverse data-privacy stakeholders to communicate and collaborate effectively without exasperating personal data sprawl?

Success means a shift in perceptions and approach

It’s time to stop thinking of data privacy and data protection as a burden, a barrier, or a niche responsibility within the organization. Responsible use of data, and the data management practices that enable it, can benefit everyone: from those depending on high-quality information to those that depend on the trust of consumers to cultivate long-lasting, profitable relationships.

Yes, organizations will need to leverage automation and technology to achieve these objectives. But ultimately, the discussion needs to start with business stakeholders. Getting everyone in alignment should be the first step, and establishment of effective and adoptable processes should be next. Finally, appropriate technology tools should be considered, selected, and implemented.

The perfect storm is brewing within global enterprises. The convergence of exploding data volumes and increasing data privacy regulatory requirements are creating conditions that require serious attention from businesses. IDC expects that by 2023, 102.6 zettabytes of new data to be created every year. These 102.6 zettabytes will most certainly be scattered with personal information of individuals — personal information that will be protected by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) when it goes into effect on January 1st, 2020.

Following a wave of heightened public awareness about privacy, CCPA endows data subjects with certain rights to their data and imposes penalties and grants private rights of action in the event of non-compliance. California by itself is one of the world's largest economies, so a state law enacted to protect the residents and visitors to the state will have effects far beyond its borders.

CCPA grants rights to California consumers and places requirements on businesses that make more than 50% of their revenue by selling data or have more than $25 million in annual revenue. These rights and requirements include:

  • The right to receive all data a company has on a consumer
  • The right to be forgotten/deletion of personal data
  • The right to prevent the sale of personal data
  • A private right of action related to personal data lost through a data breach

Traditional manual methods of privacy compliance, driven off spreadsheets or simple web portals are no match to the real-time data control & orchestration needs of modern privacy regulations like CCPA.  Following are the issues companies will see with manual or legacy compliance methods:

To comply with modern regulations like CCPA, we need to rethink privacy.  Privacy needs to be operationalized with automated discovery of each individual’s data across structured and unstructured systems and layers of automation and orchestration on top of it to comply with all aspects of global privacy regulations.  A PrivacyOps framework is required, which enables such individual-level data intelligence and layers of automation in a collaborative environment for various stakeholders.

Key requirements of an effective PrivacyOps framework are the following:

  • The most foundational element of a PrivacyOps framework is the ability to automatically find personal data about an individual and make it easy for data, privacy and compliance teams to interact with that data.
  • An easy to use, secure platform to engage with individual consumers enabling them to exercise data rights and update the consent
  • Automation of critical privacy compliance requirements, such as DSRs, breach notifications, assessments
  • A comprehensive record of all privacy compliance activities
  • A secure collaboration system among privacy stakeholders to avoid personal data sprawl

Adopting a PrivacyOps framework reduces costs associated with compliance, avoids legal penalties and helps avoid brand damage. For example, automating the DSAR process leveraging continuous real-time data intelligence can dramatically reduce the cost per DSAR, as well as improving accuracy and time to complete. Being able to complete DSARs within the required timeframes at scale avoids penalties and potential lawsuits and builds trust equity with customers. Similarly, breach notifications can be more surgical, leveraging accurate data intelligence to identify only those customers that were impacted – avoiding overly broad notifications that could incur more costs and penalties. And harnessing automated orchestration and data insights for vendor assessments eliminates the back and forth of emailing surveys and provides accurate data with less operational effort.

Data privacy regulations create a prime opportunity to revamp your data organization and integrations and create an integrated enterprise. Real-time compliance should be a goal, not just with DSARs, but also across as many regulatory processes as possible.

Next Steps

Organizations collect and store vast amounts of people’s data to provide services and enhance those over time. Consumers, on the other hand, are usually unaware of what data is being collected or used as long as continually improving services are being provided to them. CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) aims to give consumers more visibility, transparency, and control over their personal data. So, let's look at the four types of personal data under the CCPA, benefits of CCPA for consumers as well as organizations, the companies that fall under the ambit of CCPA, how they can comply and some key takeaways from this write-up.

What is Personal Information Under CCPA?

According to CCPA 1798.140(o)(1-2), "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" is classified as personal information.

The term "information" can be either objective or subjective depending on the category. Examples of objective information are the results of a blood test or other medical records. Subjective information is usually collected by banks and insurance companies, for example, "Mr. X is a reliable borrower." This means that certain data does not need to be verified as accurate in order to be classified as personal information.

Personal data doesn't always take the form of names, addresses, and birthdates. It can also show up as images, audio clips, or other personal information if it fulfills the CCPA requirements.

Some key examples of information that CCPA considers to be personal data are:

  • Real Name
  • Alias
  • Postal Address
  • A Unique Personal Identifier
  • Online Identifier
  • Internet Protocol Address
  • Email Address
  • Account Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver's License Number
  • Passport Number

Personal data could also include inferences drawn from information, such as a consumer's preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes. These forms of data also fall into the category of personal data under the CCPA.
Recent amendments to the CCPA introduced in Assembly bill 874 add the qualifier  "reasonably," as in “...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…”. This clarification can help in medical studies where large data sets are anonymized.

Characteristics of Personal Data under the CCPA

According to the CCPA definition, four requirements must be fulfilled for information to be deemed personal.

  1. Information That Identifies:

This requisite refers to information that clearly identifies a consumer or a household. This information could include a real name, social security number, and even an image of the person; these all constitute personal data under the CCPA.

  1. Information That Relates:

This requirement refers to information that does not identify a person or household by its content but by its purpose. For example, it is debated that information gathered through cookies or alternate tracking methods can be classed as personal information that relates to a consumer and becomes a part of a consumer's personal data.

  1. Information That Describes:

Information such as drug prescriptions, dosage, drug identification number, phone number and other information can be used to describe a consumer falls under the category of personal data  under the CCPA.

  1. Information That Can Be Reasonably Linked:

In company databases and software, internal systems may embed tracking to keep data organized. Although this tracking system may not have the intent of tracking individuals, the CCPA classes any information taken from this system about an individual as personal data.

Who Must Comply With the CCPA?

Now that we know what personal data is, enterprises need to know to whom the CCPA applies. There are two requirements that, when met, obligate an organization to comply with CCPA regulations:

1. The company collects personal data from California residents.

2. The company (or their parent company or a subsidiary) exceeds at least one of the three thresholds:

  • It has an annual gross revenue of at least $25 million.
  • It obtains personal information from at least 50,000 California households, and/or devices per year.
  • It obtains at least 50% of its annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information.

When a company fulfills these requirements, it must comply with the CCPA or deal with the repercussions.

Although this may seem like a narrow scope that excludes a lot of companies, experts have estimated that a potential 500,000 companies must comply with CCPA across the globe. This is mainly because of the financial and demographic weight of the state of California and its businesses. Whether an online business or working in the global market, chances are that an organization has interactions with at least some California resident

How will CCPA Benefit Consumers and Businesses?

CCPA is designed to give consumers more power over their personal data. The rights embodied in CCPA give consumers more control over their data than ever before.

1. Consumers have the right to access their data that is held by companies, for free, up to twice every year.

2. Consumers have the right to opt-out from companies selling their data. They can also require companies to delete their information.

3. If there is a security breach in the company and a consumer's personal data is stolen, the CCPA fines the enterprise up to $750 per incident. With the amount of records stored by companies, these fines could translate to millions if not billions of dollars per data breach.

4. For children under 16, there is a mandatory opt-in for data collection. This requirement helps protect the privacy of minors.

Overall, the CCPA grants transparency to consumers from companies. From now on, companies must be upfront about the data that they possess, and they cannot sell that data without consumer consent.

With customers' ability to opt-out of data collection, data selling is more restricted and  forces companies to collect their own data on a first-party basis. This strategy change means that companies  have more accurate data and must know the exact origin of their data. This original data can be used to improve marketing activities and target the people that are a company's core audience.

How can Companies Comply with the CCPA?

The following are some fundamental building blocks of a state-of-the-art CCPA compliance solution:

  • Automatic Personal Data Discovery & People Data Graph Building

A fundamental building block of a CCPA compliance solution should be to automatically gather personal data across a myriad of systems like private apps and databases, IaaS and SaaS platforms. However, a comprehensive compliance solution shouldn’t stop there. Another critical function would be to automatically map this data to individuals, enabling a “people data graph” to ensure complete automation and compliance.

  • Secure Privacy Portal

A secure privacy portal with a cybersecurity focus is critical to collect and fulfill requests in a secure environment. Essentially, this portal would function as a secure interface between users who are requesting access to their data, and your employees who are fulfilling these data requests.

  • Robotic Automation of Data Subject Access Requests

With CCPA going into effect, we can expect a rise in DSARs being received by enterprises. Since fulfilling them requires a comprehensive search across a myriad of systems, manual fulfillment can be ruled out as a practical solution. Intelligent robotic automation can not only significantly cut down on DSAR fulfilment costs, it can also substantially reduce fulfillment times. A CCPA compliance solution built on state-of-the-art robotic automation protocols can be a powerful tool for any business operating in a post-CCPA world.

  • Consent Lifecycle

Automatically tracking the consent lifecycle across users will help a business understand when consent was given, the purpose of collection of user data, and update systems when consent is enabled or retracted by a user. Automation can accelerate this process more cost-effectively, with greater accuracy and at greater scale when compared to manual processes.

  • Breach Management

In the event of a system breach, a state-of-the-art compliance solution should follow certain protocols to inform regulatory authorities and people whose data has been impacted. This is where the people data graph can be used to inform only those customers whose data has been affected rather than having to inform all customers, saving an organization time, money and effort.

  • Vendor Assessment Ratings

Since PI data is often shared with vendors to ensure delivery of continually improving services to customers, a best-in-class CCPA compliance solution should also be able to conduct vendor assessments and rate them based on the type of PI data shared with them, while maintaining records of each vendor assessment for future use.

  • Self Assessments

There should be automatic, routine self assessments across all internal systems being employed by a business to ensure they are compliant with the relevant data privacy regulations. The reports from these self assessments also need to be curated as well as automatically sent out to all relevant stakeholders to ensure continuous compliance with all relevant regulations. This is something that a CCPA compliance solution based on an advanced PrivacyOps framework would be able to provide.

  • Compliance Records

Finally, a comprehensive CCPA compliance solution needs to have a centrally-accessible, easy-to-find and easy-to-acquire repository of all compliance records. This will ensure faster processing of compliance checks by regulatory authorities.

Key Takeaways
  • CCPA was created to protect consumer data by giving them more control, visibility, and transparency of their data. This added layer of security improves how AdTech and Data brokerage firms store and process data to minimize the occurrence of data breaches, identity theft, and the misuse of PII (Personally Identifiable Information).  
  • The CCPA defines personal data 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."
  • These regulations give consumers power over their data and what companies do with it.
  • Companies that comply with the CCPA tend to build a stronger trust-relation with their consumers.
  • Companies must have a proper framework set to comply with the CCPA and avoid lawsuits and fines.
Next Steps

Visit SECURITI.AI to learn about automating your operations and staying ahead of the pack by improving your policies and practices. Schedule a demo today and see how PrivacyOps automation and orchestration can help your business with CCPA compliance readiness.

January 2020 will usher in more than a New Year, it will also trigger the enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act impacting about 500,000 organizations.  As Patience Haggin outlines in her recent Wall Street Journal article, the CCPA “applies to any for-profit business that does business in California and collects data on California residents, as long as its annual revenue tops $25 million, or it holds personal information on at least 50,000 consumers, or it generates at least 50% of its annual revenue from selling user data.” This means that, whether or not you physically operate in the state of California, if your website serves the state’s residents, the new law applies to you as well.

The article, titled “Businesses Across the Board Scramble to Comply With California Data-Privacy Law,” comes as news to many. For us at SECURITI.ai, it’s further justification for the solution we provide, and the recognition is validating. Haggin explains how the CCPA will enable California residents to request retailers, restaurants, airlines, banks and many other companies to provide them with any personal information they may have, including individual contact information, purchases and loyalty-program history. Consumers are further empowered with the ability to request that businesses delete their data entirely, or opt out of letting them profit from it.

Haggin cites Gap Inc. as an example and includes quotes from Dan Koslofsky, associate general counsel for privacy and data security at Gap, discussing the massive undertaking that preparing for the CCPA presents to companies that haven’t previously been regulated -- i.e. anything other than healthcare or financial services.

According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, there are over 500,000 U.S. businesses across across industries that will be required to comply when the CCPA takes effect. From food and beverage companies to retailers to health insurers, banks and airlines, there’s no industry that will go untouched by the new privacy laws.

As the amount of data we create has grown, no system to organize it has grown with it. Haggin writes, “few companies keep all their customer data in one place, and now many are scrambling to build tools to match up individuals’ data across disparate systems, such as directories, purchase histories and customer-service request logs.”

The upcoming change for businesses is significant, but not unprecedented. For instance, companies like Gap have already gone through similar compliance issues in Europe with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR, which took effect last year, is similar in its scope of customer-data requirements.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey this past year, only 52% of businesses expect to be CCPA-compliant by January 2020. To illustrate the kinds of concerns businesses big and small are having, the WSJ quotes Jeff Savage, president of Sacramento’s minor league baseball River Cats, “I’m concerned about people falsely accusing us of having information on them when indeed we don’t. How do I prove to Joe Smith that I don’t have his info?”

The WSJ explains that businesses receiving data requests will be required to comply within 45 days or risk fines and litigation, and that “the law threatens steep damages in the event of a data breach—as high as $7,500 per affected person.”

Could the CCPA be a sign of things to come? The WSJ likens the law to another standard that began in California -- regulated auto emissions -- and many believe that the requirements of the CCPA may soon become the national standard. In other words, this is only the beginning for PrivacyOps.

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