Privacy Impact Assessment

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Privacy Impact Assessment

Why Do You Need a Red Clover Privacy Impact Assessment?

Frequently asked Questions

What are Privacy Risk Assessments?

A Privacy Risk Assessment (PRA), also called Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), Data Privacy or Protection Assessment (DPA), or Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), is an invaluable tool for enhancing trust and transparency in your operations, especially in today’s data-driven world. These assessments include a (1) review of the impact of privacy and (2) identification of risks related to the use of personal information in the context of a business activity. At its core, a PRA provides insight into how you collect, use, and manage personal data.

Why is a Privacy Risk Assessment necessary?

PRAs proactively identify and mitigate privacy risks in new or modified data processing activities, ensure compliance with data protection laws, and build consumer trust by demonstrating a commitment to protecting personal data. They are a crucial step in responsible personal data management and help solidify your reputation as a company that values privacy and security. Plus, conducting PRAs is often more than just a good idea; it’s both a regulatory requirement and a best practice in the era of data-driven decision-making.

What are the types of Privacy Risk Assessments?

Privacy Threshold Assessment (PTA)

A Privacy Threshold Assessment is the starting point for most businesses. It is the initial and highest-level review that determines whether a business activity needs a more in-depth privacy review like a PIA/DPA or DPIA. A PTA may be as simple as determining whether consumers’ personal data is impacted or customized to your organization’s operations. This flexibility allows you to tailor the assessment to fit the unique privacy risks and requirements of your business. A PTA can also help prioritize conducting Privacy Risk Assessments for existing initiatives.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) / Data Privacy Assessment or Data Protection Assessment (DPA)

Once you confirm a business activity involves personal data, it is called a processing activity. A PIA or DPA takes a deeper look at identifying privacy risks that a processing activity might create. In some cases, PIAs/DPAs are required by law. So, make sure you know the rules for the jurisdictions that impact your use of personal data.

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

In some regions or states, DPIAs are required for certain processing activities. You need to include specific information in the assessment, and there are obligations around consulting data protection officers, regulators, and rules around next steps when you identify significant risks as part of the assessment process.

When do I conduct a Privacy Risk Assessment?

Before Launching New or Modified Products or Services

A PRA at this stage ensures you are building on a foundation of privacy, enhancing customer trust from the get-go.

While Integrating New Technologies

A PRA helps navigate new technologies and innovations responsibly, ensuring your advancements don’t compromise user privacy.

Integrating New Technologies During Business Expansion

As you enter new markets, a PRA is vital for complying with local and international data protection laws, avoiding costly fines, and resonating with a privacy-conscious audience.

When Processing Activities Present A Heightened Risk of Harm

A PRA helps you proactively uncover any areas where data processing might inadvertently harm individuals’ privacy (e.g., targeted advertising, processing sensitive data, sale of data, profiling under certain conditions).

Post Data-Breach

If you experience a breach, a PRA is critical for assessing the damage, strengthening your defenses, and restoring public trust.

What are some examples for when I might conduct a PRA?

New or Changing Product or Service Offering

  • A new use of existing personal data to improve upon a product or service offering.
  • A new product or service engaging in targeted advertising, sale of personal data, profiling, handling sensitive information, and/or large volumes of data.
  • Collection of new personal data to improve upon a product or service offering.
  • Sharing personal data with a third party to support a product or service offering.

New or Changing Processes

  • A new use case or disclosure of existing personal data.
  • A decision to keep personal data for longer than designated in the retention schedule or as disclosed in the Privacy Notice.
  • Changes to the regulatory context in which a process operates.

New or Changing Technologies

  • Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • A change in the way personal data is stored or secured.
  • A new system or system upgrade.
  • Retiring or modifying an existing legacy system or application.
  • A new way of collecting personal data (e.g., screen scraping).
  • A new business process supported by IT tool(s).
  • Engaging a third party to provide an IT service or application.
What are some key pieces I need to think about?
  • Type of processing: Some processing activities result in higher risks to individuals, like tracking, profiling, and selling or sharing personal data.
  • Type of personal data: Some categories of personal data involved in the processing may be considered sensitive, meaning its loss or inappropriate exposure would mean high risk to individuals.
  • Type of individual (person, aka data subject): Some individuals need more protection than others, like children or other vulnerable groups.
  • The jurisdictions that apply to you: Laws requiring privacy reviews differ based on jurisdiction, so it’s important to know what jurisdictions apply to the processing activities to know your legal obligations. For example, this information will help you understand if a DPIA is required.
Privacy Impact Assessment

Key Activities

Scoping & discovery
Develop policy, process, and procedures
Create assessment templates
Software implementation
Execute assessments
Review assessments
Maintenance, updates, and ongoing assessments