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What is data subject request (DSR)?

Learn what Data Subject Requests (DSR) are and the role they play in data privacy compliance and regulations, empowering both businesses and consumers.
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7 min read
August 27, 2023
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In an era dominated by data, privacy concerns have become paramount. As individuals become more aware of their rights regarding their personal information, the concept of Data Subject Requests (DSRs) has gained significant traction. But what exactly are DSRs, and why are they crucial in today's data landscape?

Whether you're a consumer seeking to understand your rights or a business navigating data regulations, let’s shed light on the vital aspects of DSRs that everyone should know.

DSR meaning

A data subject request is a crucial concept in data protection and privacy. A data subject request, or DSR, is a provision sanctioned by law that allows individuals to effectively manage their personal information held by businesses or organizations. 

This essentially means that any person, also known as the 'data subject', has the legal right to place a request in relation to their personal data. This could encompass a wide range of actions, from requesting access and copies (such as a data subject access request, or DSAR request) to modification, restriction, and even deletion of their data. 

What is data subject access request (DSAR)?

Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is a mechanism by which an individual is empowered to request for access to personal data held by organizations. This aspect of data privacy compliance ensures that corporations are transparent and accountable about the data they hold about consumers.

The Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) request serves as a way to empower data subjects by granting them the right to access the data collected about them. This right is deeply rooted in privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.

Read more: What is Data Subject Access Request (DSAR meaning)?

For instance, if you’ve made a DSAR request, the company holding your data is obligated to provide comprehensive info such as the types of data they possess, the reasons for processing it, anybody who has access to it, and how long they plan to retain this data. This offers you insight into how your personal information is being handled, thus fostering a more transparent system. 

What is included in a subject access request?

Given this multiplicity of functions housed under the acronym of DSR, one might ask what is included in a subject access request. While the specifics may vary based on the governing privacy law, a few common elements would be: 

  • Confirmation that the data subject's personal data is being processed
  • Access to, and copies of, the personal data
  • The purposes for which the personal data is being processed
  • Details of the entities with whom the personal data has been shared
  • The anticipated retention period for the data

Armed with this information, consumers can take back control of their data while creating a more transparent and trustworthy relationship with the businesses harnessing their information. The ecosystem of DSR, spearheaded by DSAR requests, forms the scaffolding of a respectful and responsible data culture in companies like Ketch, forging an indispensable path to deeper customer engagement and growth.

Data subject rights

What is meant by rights of the data subject?

Data subject rights empowers individuals to have control over their personal data, which is processed by organizations. These rights come bundled with the enforcement of rigorous consent-gathering workflows by data custodians in a bid to ensure the ethical and lawful processing of data. The phrase "data subject rights DSR" is often used — this terminology merely connects the abbreviation (DSR) with the actual right, allowing for easier identification in digital parlance. It introduces a level of jargonization common in industries like data privacy and compliance. 

Here are a few data subject rights examples:

  • The right to access stands as a prominent one in the list. It empowers data subjects to request a copy of their personal data from an organization for review. 
  • Another prevalent data subject right is the right to deletion, also known as the right to be forgotten. This empowers individuals to request that an organization delete their personal data under certain circumstances, often involving data that is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was initially collected or processed.
  • Other rights include the right to rectification, restriction, data portability, and objection, form the cornerstone of consumer data protection.

At the intersection of data rights and regulatory requirements lies the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It established the ground rules for data rights and stipulated the pivotal role of data subject rights in GDPR. This comprehensive law has prompted organizations to rapidly adapt to its data privacy standards, which stress the importance of personal data protection. Businesses worldwide are now obliged to uphold these principles, regardless of the size or geographic location of their operations. 

In terms of operationalizing these rights, data subject rights request comes into play. This is a formal, legal request made by a data subject to an organization with the aim of invoking any of the established data subject rights. 

As alluded earlier, a data subject access request is a notable example. Here, data subjects exert their right to access, requesting organizations to share the types of personal data they hold on them, the purpose for processing such data, and other relevant details. Implementing comprehensive systems to efficiently handle such requests has become a vital aspect of modern business operations. 

In this data privacy landscape, platforms like Ketch play a pivotal role. The Ketch Trust by Design Platform equips businesses with the tools to manage privacy operations and engage with their customers responsibly through the ethical use of data. 

The platform constitutes robust applications, infrastructure, and APIs that support cost-effective management of data privacy, consent gathering, and data subject rights request operations - ensuring businesses stay compliant while fostering customer trust.

DSAR process

The advent of DSAR under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has called for the meticulous establishment of DSAR procedures within organizations to handle an individual's request to access personal data swiftly and efficiently. 

Implementing a systematic DSAR process facilitates individuals to exercise their right by providing a clear, straightforward channel for information retrieval. Formulating a DSAR request, from a consumer's perspective, encapsulates reaching out to the organization holding one’s personal data. This outreach is often in written format, but considering GDPR’s flexible stance, it could also stem from any other medium of communication. It is the organization's responsibility to acknowledge and process the request without undue delay, usually within one month from the receipt of the request. 

While each organization may adopt different approaches to implement its DSAR process, several common steps prevail. Initially, the identification and verification of the person making the request occur. This pivotal step ensures that data privacy is not breached. 

Subsequently, there's a meticulous search for relevant data within the organization's data repositories. This includes all data the organization has about an individual, extending from personal identification data to purchase records, preferences, and more. Once all relevant data is identified, it’s compiled, reviewed, and edited for appropriateness (for example, removing information about other individuals) before confirming the data is wholly accurate and up-to-date. 

Ketch, an innovative Trust by Design platform, is transforming the DSAR process through its sophisticated applications and infrastructure. Innovative tools like these help organizations reduce inefficiencies and manage data privacy compliance, thus mobilizing responsibly gathered data for deeper customer engagement and catalyzing top-line growth. 

In essence, the DSAR process is a compass leading to a more transparent, accountable digital world - a world where data privacy compliance is not a daunting hindrance but an integrated element of companies' systemic functioning. It empowers consumers to assert their data rights and guides organizations to navigate effectively within the limits of data privacy directives.

DSAR compliance

Data Subject Access Request compliance is pivotal in fostering a culture of transparency and trust, specifically in the context of privacy operations - a core ethos echoed by Ketch's Trust by Design Platform. 

Broadly explained, a data subject request is an appeal lodged by an individual, known as the 'data subject', seeking access to their personal information held by a company or organization. This is underpinned by certain data privacy laws and legislations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which prescribes explicit rights to details about their data. 

Amplifying this understanding, one pervasive form of a DSR is the 'data subject access request' (DSAR), a specific appeal for access to personal data by the concerned data subject. Untangling the complexities of DSRs and DSARs, and aligning them with GDPR guidelines require a penetrating insight into the nuances of the data subject access request GDPR approach, and data subject rights GDPR guidelines. 

Given the myriad of possible DSRs, streamlining the process of responding to a subject access request timely and efficiently, fortifying DSAR compliance, and maintaining a robust data subject access request policy becomes nothing short of critical. 

Easing this intricate process of DSAR compliance is the ground-breaking Ketch workflow builder. Enabling stakeholders to create tailor-made, DSR workflows that resonate with their unique business processes, Ketch’s drag-and-drop builder interface requires no technical expertise. The workflow builder accommodates both internal and external systems and applications through its user-friendly set of tiles and connectors. 

Ketch further revolutionizes DSAR compliance through its customizable automation possibilities. It effortlessly navigates the spectrum from rudimentary to complex, substantiating the value of automation in performing monotonous tasks, designing workflows, and fostering seamless operational fluidity. 

How to implement essential DSR automation features

The flexibility of Ketch DSR automation allows for adaptability to changes in team structure and business processes. Augmenting this automation is the ability to integrate with 1000+ systems using Ketch APIs, making it effortlessly simple to fulfill your DSRs. In addition, the customizable webhooks and user identity recognition across systems impart a superior layer of flexibility to the operational landscape. 

“Thanks to integrating Ketch with our apps for DSR automation, we estimate that we’ve saved at least ten hours per week, affecting six employees across four different departments. This is an annual internal savings of 500+ hours per year."
Shubham Gupta, Product Manager at 6sense

Ketch crystallizes a pragmatic approach to effective DSAR compliance through its responsiveness to business-specific requisites and commitment to responsible data management. Given its robust support towards DSAR compliance and commitment to enhancing customer engagement and growth, Ketch is uniquely positioned to aid businesses in seamlessly navigating their journey in the pursuit of privacy operations.

Read time
7 min read
August 27, 2023
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