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DSARs: What Are Data Subject Access Requests And What Do You Need To Know?

Posted by Bill Gallivan | Tue, Aug 30, 2022

In the digital age, data is king. Companies large and small have learned the importance of safeguarding their data and ensuring that they can access it when needed. 

This has led to a rise in data subject access requests (DSARs). To help guide you through this cumbersome process, we will discuss what DSARs are and what you need to know about them in regard to DSAR and eDiscovery.

What is a data subject access request?

In the simplest terms, DSARs are formal written requests from individuals for information about themselves that is held by organizations. This information could be anything from contact details and payment history to medical records and social media posts. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced new rights for individuals in relation to their personal data, including the right to make a DSAR.

A data subject access request is a request made by an individual for information held about them by an organization. The subject of the request must be clearly identified and the request must be made in writing through a formal process.

GDPR and US-based privacy regulations

GDPR and US-based privacy regulation the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), both stipulate that organizations must respond to DSARs within a certain timeframe. GDPR states that organizations must respond to DSARs within one month, while CCPA compliance requires organizations to provide the requested information within 45 days.

The rights under GDPR fall into 8 primary categories:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right of access
  • The right to rectification
  • The right to erasure
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • The right to object
  • Rights in relation to automated decision-making and profiling.

DSAR categories

DSARs come in four main categories:

  • Requests for information about an individual’s data
  • Requests for copies of an individual’s data
  • Requests to have an individual’s data corrected
  • Requests to have an individual’s data deleted

Organizations must be able to identify and respond to all four types of requests.

What does access to data subjects have to do with eDiscovery?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018. This new regulation strengthens the protection of personal data for individuals within the European Union. 

One of the most important aspects of GDPR is the right of individuals to access their personal data from any website that would store personal data. This right is known as a "data subject access request" (DSAR).

eDiscovery is the process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a legal request or subpoena. This can include emails, documents, images, social media posts, and more. When a company receives a DSAR, they must search their ESI for any relevant information and produce it to the requesting party.

Defensible data subject requests

To ensure that your company is able to respond effectively to data subject requests, it is important to have a defensible process in place. This means having a clear and concise policy that outlines how requests will be handled, who is responsible for each step of the process, and what information will be included in the response.

Finding relevant data

Combing through to find relevant data can be a challenge, especially if you are dealing with a large volume of ESI. This is where eDiscovery software can be extremely helpful. eDiscovery software can quickly identify and collect relevant information from a variety of sources. This includes emails, documents, social media posts, and more.

Reviewing data quickly and efficiently

Once the relevant data has been collected, it must be reviewed to determine what information will be included in the response. This can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially if you are dealing with a large volume of data. eDiscovery software can help streamline the review process by providing tools to quickly and efficiently review data.

Proper redaction of sensitive information

When producing a response to a data subject request, it is important to properly redact any sensitive information. This includes personal data, financial information, and health data. eDiscovery software can help with this by providing tools to identify and redact sensitive information.

Accessible production formats

Finally, it is important to consider the format of the production. The data subject should be able to easily access and understand the information that is being provided. eDiscovery software can help with this by providing a variety of production formats, including PDF, Excel, and CSV.

Producing a defensible response

Once the relevant information has been gathered and reviewed, it must be compiled into a response that can be produced to the requesting party. eDiscovery software can help with this by providing tools to create a defensible and compliant response to such requests.

eDiscovery technology can solve top DSAR challenges

When it comes to responding to data subject access requests, eDiscovery software can be a powerful tool. The right platform will offer a variety of features that can streamline the process and make it more defensible.

Some of the top benefits of using eDiscovery technology for DSARs include:

  • The ability to search across all ESI in one central location
  • The ability to identify relevant information quickly and efficiently
  • The ability to redact privileged or sensitive information before production
  • The ability to track and manage requests from start to finish

How to leverage eDiscovery software for DSAR reviews

If your company is looking for a way to streamline its DSAR response process, consider investing in Digital WarRoom’s eDiscovery software. This type of platform can offer a number of benefits, from the ability to search across all ESI in one central location to the ability to identify relevant information quickly and efficiently. 

eDiscovery software can be a valuable tool for managing DSARs. This type of software can help you organize and search your ESI, track progress on requests, and ensure that all relevant information is produced.

When choosing a platform, be sure to look for one that offers the features and functionality that best meets your company's needs. Digital WarRoom provides industry-leading tools and service to help you save time and money on DSAR responses. 

Key takeaways

When it comes to data subject access requests, it is important to have a clear understanding of what they are and how to respond to them. eDiscovery software can be a helpful tool for managing such requests. By following a defensible process, you can ensure that your company is able to effectively respond to data subject access requests. With Digital WarRoom, you can be confident in handling any DSARs

 

Written by Bill Gallivan

Bill is a seasoned technology commercialization manager, security & forensic consultant, and submarine officer that founded Digital WarRoom in 2002. He is a strong advocate for making e-discovery accessible to everyone and creating publically available educational content. Bill serves as President, CFO and Chief Mentor for the Digital WarRoom family.

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