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The Rise & Rise of the Data Subject Access Request

The Cost of living crisis fuelling the increase of the Data Subject Access Request. 

Data subject access requests (DSARs), are both costly and time consuming, with the growing risk of companies becoming inundated. 

The Regulations

The UK’s GDPR regulations allows for any customer to request access to any personal data that an organisation might hold on them, usually from phone calls or where a customer has been recorded. 

Given that DSARs must be actioned within 30 days (unless an extension is sought), companies are more than often under pressure to find, identify and redact personal information within the allotted time. 

More than half the firms polled by Talend failed to address DSARs on time, adding added pressure on company logistics. 

The Cost

The Data Privacy Group found that DSARs are costing UK businesses between £70,000 and £330,000 a year, with Gartner estimating a single DSAR can cost upwards of a £1,000.

Demands are only increasing, driven by the current cost of living crisis and as a knock-on effect of Covid.  

At JUST:Access, we have seen a dramatic rise in DSAR requests from current customers. Digging a little deeper, it is clearly a trend on the rise. 

A recent study from the DPO Centre (The UK DP Index) found six million adults had considered submitting a DSAR. 

During the pandemic, pre-litigation DSARs rose sharply to support employment tribunals owing to redundancies. A survey of 460 UK-based DPOs from the UK Data Protection Index revealed an average of 10.85 DSARs per month, peaking at 18.04 in December 2020 – a 66% increase. 

The prediction is that the cost of living crisis will replicate pandemic numbers, while departmental budgets will stay the same. 

DSARs are also open to abuse, with no requirement for parties to justify requests, with many requests a leverage tactic in HR complaints and other protests. 

While the ICO carried out a consultation in March 2022 to determine if more guidance was needed on how companies should deal with unfounded or excessive requests. However, there was little to no guidance on increased requests. 

The Solution

Automating processes is clearly the only option in not only dealing with the rise of DSARs, but becoming proactive longer term. 

JUST:Access currently assists a number of firms with their DSAR requests, transcribing, collating & redacting call centre interactions for utilities, insurance & financial services firms.  AI led solutions that dramatically reduce the overall time taken to process these requests.


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