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Using AI to manage the DSAR deluge

30 April 2021 | Luke Taylor, Subject Matter Expert

Data Subject Access Requests or DSARs arising from data protection regulation like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) have become a key business concern. Not only are manual DSAR reviews notoriously time-consuming and complex, but the added impact of COVID-19 and the strict 30-day timeframe in which firms must respond to the request has put a significant strain on companies choosing to complete their reviews without the aid of technology. AI like Luminance is transforming the DSAR process, allowing firms to rapidly surface pertinent information with greater efficiency, insight and precision than ever before.

The rise of DSARs in the pandemic era

Data protection regulation like the GDPR and the CCPA have been hailed as giving individuals far greater control over their data and therefore helped to shape an increasingly ‘data aware’ society. DSARs provide individuals the ability to request all the information an organisation holds on them. However, organisations must comply with standard DSAR requirements, such as completion within 30 days or otherwise face a fine of up to 4% of the company’s annual global turnover. This has proved increasingly unmanageable in the context of the global pandemic, with data requests booming amongst the tidal waves of employees put onto furlough schemes or those with terminated employment contracts who are looking to understand why they have been selected for furlough or redundancy.

And with the number of DSARs only expected to increase as the UK Government’s furlough scheme starts to be scaled back and employers must consider terminating employment, adopting AI technology has never been more crucial. Indeed, as a recent DPA report indicates, 71% of surveyed firms have experienced an increase in the number of employee DSARs since GDPR, with employee access requests further spiralling during lockdown.

Luminance makes DSAR reviews manageable and profitable

The explosion in data means that employers now have to deal with streams of communication like never before: think e-mails, instant messages, text messages as well as collaborative tools – all of which leave behind a significant trail of information, and therefore compound the difficulties in completing a manual DSAR.

Luminance is uniquely powered by supervised and unsupervised machine learning, meaning it can read and crucially form a conceptual understanding of legal documents in any language or jurisdiction. Deployed easily via the cloud, Luminance requires no prior machine training and can immediately surface the most relevant information as well as flag anomalies at unmatched speeds. This includes the unique ability to automatically identify Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as party names, addresses and security numbers.

To manage the rise in demand of DSARs, leading law firms Burness Paull and Dentons have adopted Luminance’s game-changing AI.

For example, Burness Paull used Luminance’s AI-powered eDiscovery tool to conduct a DSAR for their long-standing client who had received the request from a former employee. With just one associate in charge of the review of over 6,000 documents, the firm needed Luminance to identify all of the personal information relating to the subject within the dataset. Within minutes, Luminance’s powerful data culling tools, filtering and searching widgets reduced the dataset by 80% compared to its original size, allowing the associate to rapidly circle in on what mattered.

Burness Paull estimate that using Luminance increased the efficiency of their review by approximately 50% compared with manual review techniques. Following the success of this review, Burness Paull have chosen to use Luminance Discovery on all upcoming DSARs. Sam Moore, Innovation Manager at Burness Paull, stated recently at an event hosted by Luminance: “Using Luminance, we are able to comb through large volumes of data in an efficient way, and provide high-level insight into every step of the review.”

Luminance now also has customers who are using its AI technology to offer their clients a specialised DSAR service, which was not previously possible given how resource intensive DSARs are when conducted manually. This has been game-changing for firms seeking to gain a strategic advantage, converting what was otherwise unprofitable into profitable work, whilst enabling them to grow the range of legal services offered to their clients.

Staying compliant with Luminance

The scale of regulation facing legal teams today makes it more important than ever that they are evolving to meet the needs of ever-tightening compliance measures. As Robert Webb QC, Former General Counsel of Rolls-Royce and BA, commented at a recent Luminance webinar: "We’re reaching a tipping point where it will be negligent not to use tech… If you’re not using technology, you’re running a real risk of missing something." Luminance’s next generation AI technology prepares customers with the tools required to be successful in this new ‘data-centric’ era, allowing them to mitigate risk and complete reviews with more insight, depth, and efficiency than was previously possible.