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What is a Data Subject Access Request

A Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is a request made by an individual, known as the data subject, to an organisation or data controller to obtain information about what personal data the organization holds about them. This request is made under data protection laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.

DSARs are an important tool for individuals to exercise control over their personal data, and to ensure that organisations are processing their data lawfully and transparently. Organisations have a legal obligation to respond to DSARs within a specified time frame, typically one month, and must provide the requested information free of charge, unless the request is unfounded, excessive or repetitive.

DSARs can also include requests to rectify or erase personal data, restrict its processing, or object to its processing. These requests must also be responded to within the same time frame and in accordance with the relevant data protection laws.

A DSAR typically includes details such as the type of personal data collected, the purpose for which it is being processed, the categories of recipients who have received or will receive the data, and the length of time the data will be retained. The data subject also has the right to request the correction or deletion of any inaccurate or outdated personal data held about them.

Data controllers are legally required to respond to DSARs within a set time frame and to provide the requested information free of charge, except in certain circumstances. The purpose of DSARs is to promote transparency and empower individuals to have greater control over their personal data.

DSARs exist to empower individuals to exercise their data protection rights and to promote transparency and accountability in data processing practices. Here are some key reasons why we have DSARs:

  • Transparency and Accountability: DSARs promote transparency and accountability by giving individuals the right to access the personal data that organisations hold about them. This helps to ensure that organizations are processing personal data in a lawful and transparent manner.
  • Empowering individuals: DSARs empower individuals by giving them greater control over their personal data. They allow individuals to know what personal data organizations hold about them and how that data is being processed.
  • Correcting inaccuracies: DSARs give individuals the right to request corrections to any inaccurate personal data that organizations hold about them. This helps to ensure that personal data is accurate and up to date.
  • Protecting privacy: DSARs help to protect individuals’ privacy by giving them control over their personal data. Individuals can request that their personal data be erased, restricted, or not processed for certain purposes, which can help to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access to personal data.

Overall, DSARs play an important role in ensuring that personal data is processed in a lawful and transparent manner, and that individuals’ data protection rights are respected and upheld.

PAI regularly runs training sessions in DSARs to register your interest in the next upcoming date email info@pai.ie

  1. https://www.dataprotection.ie/
  2. https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/individuals/exercising-your-rights/how-long-will-it-take
  3. https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/dpc-guidance/data-subject-access-requests-faq
  4. https://www.dataprotection.ie/sites/default/files/uploads/2019-10/FAQ%20Guide%20to%20Data%20Subject%20Access%20Requests_Oct19.pdf

Neil Vago, PAIs In-House Education and Training Contract Manager

Neil Vago.


PAI’s Education and Training Contract Manager, Neil Vago is both a highly qualified education manager and trainer, who has been working within the training and education sector for over 20 years