A Giant Leap for the Standardizing of Data Privacy Requests - The Data Rights Protocol

Gal Golan
Gal Golan
Nov 3, 2021
min read
A Giant Leap for the Standardizing of Data Privacy Requests - The Data Rights Protocol

It's not everyday that you get to work on a project that could change the world. We recently announced that we’re joining the <hl>Data Rights Protocol drafting group<hl>, an initiative by Consumer Reports Digital Lab that will provide a standard method communicating data subject requests between consumers and companies, together with other industry leaders in the field. We’re absolutely thrilled about it!

The Data Rights Protocol

The Data Rights Protocol is an open-source, decentralized protocol for requesting and granting people data rights in a secure way. <hl>Put simply: consumers will be able to submit data privacy requests with greater ease<hl>. It also means that the companies receiving the requests will have an easier time processing them (since the requests are communicated in a structured way). This provides efficiency for both sides.

Consumers today still find difficulty in their quest for data ownership, since privacy regulations haven’t implemented standardized ways to exchange data rights requests. 

Today, when consumers wish to send data privacy requests to companies, they have to:

  1. Step 1: Read through the privacy policies of each company to find out where to send a privacy request. The correct email address isn't always immediately obvious!
  2. Step 2: Send the privacy request via email. Customers are faced with ambiguity (What should I write? What details should I include?) and companies might lack necessary information to process the request.
  3. Step 3: Maintain a conversation with the company until the request is fulfilled. Companies may ask for more information to identify the consumer or to understand their request, ask for proof or other clarifications. 

As we can see, the current process generates an unnecessary exchange of communication while trying to fulfill data privacy requests. Furthermore, companies tend to ask for additional personal information from the consumer in order to validate and verify the request and the requestor, which makes the entire process longer and  much more complicated. 

It’s fair to say that the current practice is time consuming, costly and inefficient.

With 87% of Americans viewing data privacy as a human right, the challenges consumers are facing are unacceptable. <hl>The Data Rights Protocol may take us one step closer to solving them<hl> — by making it easy for consumers to exercise their data rights, reduce their online exposure and gain control over their digital footprint. Here's to reducing vulnerability online! 

The protocol will streamline and formalize the components of data privacy requests (such as those related to accessing or erasing one's own personal information), which would make it easier for consumers to submit. This should result in more consistency and efficiency on both sides: the individuals submitting the requests, and the companies processing them.

Check out GitHub for the latest progress on the protocol. 

Personally, I must admit that the decision to join this initiative was very obvious. Mine’s mission is to help the entire community, by allowing people to be more responsible and reduce their online exposure of personal data. In the past two years, this community has grown massively, with over 500,000 members that use Mine to control their data online. It was a no-brainer for us to join and help develop the protocol. 

Why now? Well, a recent report by Gartner states that ”by 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations”. Seems like there’s no better way to set the grounds for all of these regulations, by creating a standard protocol that creates a definite structure for data privacy requests — even before consumers can submit them.

We hope you share in our excitement for this new protocol. <hl>As Mine is all about giving people more control, I'm super excited to be able to contribute to the new protocol<hl>. To everyone involved in data rights requests, we strive to provide clarity and standardization. Stay tuned for more information about future iterations and developments of the protocol!