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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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
To learn more about benefits of DSAR automation, check out the following resources:
A Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is the means by which individuals request that your enterprise discloses what personal data it holds on them and how you use or intend to use it. Submitting DSARs is one of the Data Subject Rights granted to consumers under data privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These laws not only give consumers awareness about their rights over their personal data but also provide the tools necessary to exercise them.
An enterprise served with a DSAR is legally obligated to fulfill these requests within a limited timeframe to avoid non-compliance. This is why automating the processing of DSARs is necessary to respond within the aforementioned timeframe. So, let’s discuss the importance of DSARs, how they differ under CCPA and GDPR, and how your business can cost-effectively prepare for and automatically respond to DSARs, which are likely to increase substantially in a post-CCPA world.
DSARs give consumers unprecedented control over their personal information stored by organizations, from access to data and requesting information on stored data to requesting information on the data safeguards the organization provides. With CCPA, consumers can request DSARs twice a year at no cost whatsoever.
For businesses, speedy and accurate fulfillment of DSARs substantially boosts their brand image while also ensuring compliance with CCPA regulations. However, some estimates put the cost of the fulfillment of each DSAR could be in the thousands, since it requires data gathering across a multitude of systems, putting them in one place, going through data records and compiling it all in a comprehensive report. Moreover, fulfilling each DSAR can take weeks. This is where a solution based on automation can be a potent weapon.
While both CCPA and GDPR provide consumers with mechanisms to exercise greater control over their data, there are some fundamental differences between how much power a consumer has under each law. Let’s have a look:
Many expect that the number of receiving DSARs have increased significantly after CCPA. So let’s explore what is required and how to prepare:
Organizations have 45 days to respond and fulfill a customer’s data subject request, in a transferable electronic format. These obligations may vary depending on the customer’s request and how their information is handled.
Deletion requests involve not only team members from within the organization, but also all third-party vendors and partners with whom the personal information has been shared.
CCPA requires the disclosure of rights and communication about DSARs, as does the GDPR. The rights given to consumers under CCPA and GDPR are similar but not identical. This means that organizations will need to change their communication accordingly.
The following are the steps required to process and fulfill a DSAR:
Here are several risks associated with fulfilling a data subject request you must watch out for:
One important factor to consider is that using traditional means will do more harm than good. For example, using emails to deal with DSARs can be dangerous as the risk of data sprawl increases when sending and receiving data over a system that is not secure. Moving personal information in an unencrypted system increases the risk of data breaches. It takes an average of 196 days for an organization to pick up on a data breach, making it essential for enterprises to fortify and automate their systems to protect themselves from any data breach.
Here are some highlights:
Large organizations may have hundreds of millions of records about their consumers, often spread across an array of systems. Sorting this data and creating a data inventory to cope with DSARs is a challenging task that requires organizations to automate their current practices.
At SECURITI.ai, we have solutions that offer robotic automation, machine learning and secure cross-channel collaboration to help your business stay prepared for CCPA.
To learn more about automation and orchestration of data subject requests and how much time you can save, check out the video below or schedule a demo to see it live, in action!