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Published on March 16, 2021 AUTHOR PRIVACY RESEARCH TEAM
Consent is one of the most paramount responsibilities of organizations to stay in compliance with global privacy regulations. This may come as a challenge for these organizations as data collection is constantly growing and keeping track of every customer consent can be a struggle if done through manual methods. This article will discuss the different types of consent and what organizations can do in order to simplify this process.
If we look at the literal definition of consent it is merely the “permission or agreement for something to happen”. Honoring this may seem like an easy task, but considering the different types of laws for different types of consent, it becomes difficult and complex to understand and operationalize. We have broken down consent into six different types.
Informed consent is the act of obtaining consent after informing the individual of all the possible outcomes and consequences of granting consent. “To be informed, consent must be given by persons who are competent to consent, have voluntarily consented, are fully informed about the research, and have comprehended what they have been told” (Chambliss and Schutt 2010, pp.57-8). Unless they are emancipated minors, (depending on the legal age in said country), individuals under 18 may never give consent.
Also there is the topic of legal competence, for example people affected by mental illness, or institutionalized in the prison system. If a person is not competent legally to give consent, a parent or legal guardian has to give it. The participant may only give assent.
Participation in a certain situation is sometimes considered proof of consent. This is acceptable for research studies that provide anonymity, such as opinion surveys. This may not always be applicable in marketing activities because privacy regulations, especially in the EU, ask marketers to capture either opt-in or opt-out consent. Outside of certain exceptions, "implied consent" could lead to non compliance.
Explicit consent, known as direct or express consent, is when an individual is presented with a decision on whether they authorize the collection, use, and/or disclosure of their personal information before data is collected.
Explicit consent is required by global privacy regulations when an organization wants to process a consumers data leveraging consent as a lawful basis. This requires disclosing what is being collected and for what purpose to be clear and documented. Explicit consent can be provided in both oral or writing forms.
Active consent refers to a consumer being given a specific statement to agree on and they show their consent by "actively" agreeing. This can be defined as another form of explicit consent.
Passive consent can be seen as another type of implied consent where the consumer is assumed to have consented unless they explicitly state otherwise. This again can not be acceptable if an organization is looking to comply with privacy regulations where explicit consent is required
Opt-out consent is the ability to decline consent at any point. For example, you visit a website that clearly gives you an option to decline your consent. If the consumer proceeds further without clearly declining the consent, consent is granted. This type of consent is usually done in writing.
Many organizational websites incorporate opt-out consent to use your personal information for other purposes.
Businesses tend to favor opt-out consent because it requires an action to be taken by the customers in order to stop marketing to them. Many individuals fail to read the text and permissions and are far more likely to give consent for purposes that would benefit an organization.
Obtaining consent is one of the most important requirements in data privacy regulation, although, fulfilling this requirement using manual methods can be costly, tedious and prone to human error. With the help of the PrivacyOps framework, organizations can automate their consent lifecycle in the following ways:
Given the increase in frequency of consent enforcements, these data privacy regulations will only get tougher as time goes by. It’s wise to invest in automation from an early stage of the compliance process and bolster a business for all existing and upcoming global data privacy regulations.