Data PrivacyData Privacy Automation

April 10, 20240


Data privacy has emerged as a critical issue for both individuals and businesses in today’s interconnected digital world.  Along with the rise of cyber threats and a rising quantity of sensitive information being created and shared online, data security has never been more important than in the digital age.

In light of an increasing number of privacy concerns and the emergence of data privacy regulations, companies are required to define and implement privacy policies, to know the location and use of all personal data, to comply with specific regulatory requirements such as data subject rights, breach management, and privacy impact analyses.

It is nearly impossible to operate or scale regulatory compliance by manual and fragmented processes, or through a set of tools in isolation. This is where the automation comes in eliminating the cons posed by the manual processes.

The growth of automation has transformed several industries, including healthcare, banking, and retail. In terms of data privacy, automation may provide substantial benefits such as enhanced productivity, lower costs, and improved privacy protection procedures. Data privacy automation helps to streamline the activities involved in data privacy management while also ensuring that policies adhere to legal standards and protect individual privacy rights.


Data Privacy refers to the proper handling of sensitive data including, essentially the personal data and other confidential data, such as certain financial data and intellectual property data, to meet regulatory requirements as well as protecting the confidentiality and immutability of the data. Cases where the data is mishandled, it poses a threat to human privacy and can have serious ramifications for corporations, including financial penalties and reputational harm. As the amount and complexity of data increases, traditional data protection solutions become inadequate. Automation emerges as a critical enabler in reducing operations, increasing accuracy, and taking a proactive approach to data privacy.

Automated decision-making refers to the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence (hereinafter referred to as “AI”) systems to make decisions that would otherwise be made by humans. These decisions may have a big influence on people, from assessing creditworthiness to impacting career possibilities. However, the use of automated decision-making raises issues about prejudice, discrimination, and a lack of transparency.

Section 2(b) of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (hereinafter referred to as “DPDP Act”) defines the term “automated” which refers to any digital process that can operate automatically in response to instructions provided or otherwise for the purpose of data processing.

This definition clarifies that the Act encompasses digital processes that function autonomously, emphasizing the importance of regulating automated data processing activities to ensure compliance with data protection standards.

Section 2(h) of the DPDP Act, 2023 defines the term “data” as a “means a representation of information, facts, concepts, opinions or instructions in a manner suitable for communication, interpretation or processing by human beings or by automated means

This definition establishes the scope of data covered by the Act, encompassing various forms of information that can be processed either manually or through automated processes. It underscores the broad applicability to all types of data, regardless of the method of processing, emphasizing the importance of protecting personal data in both human-readable and machine-readable formats.

Subsequently, Section 2(x) of the DPDP Act, 2023 defines “processing” as “wholly or partly automated operation or set of operations performed on digital personal data, and includes operations such as collection, recording, organization, structuring, storage, adaptation, retrieval, use, alignment or combination, indexing, sharing, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, restriction, erasure or destruction”.

This definition encompasses various stages of data handling from collection to disposal, both automated and manual, emphasizing the importance of regulating each aspect to ensure comprehensive data protection. The inclusion of specific operations provides clarity and guidance for individuals and organizations regarding their obligations and responsibilities concerning personal data processing.

On the global front, Article 22 of the General Data Protection Rules (hereinafter referred to as “GDPR”), deals with the concept of Automated individual decision-making. The provision provides that the data subjects have the right not to be subjected to a decision based purely on automated processing, such as profiling, or other activity that has a legal impact on them or substantially affects them.  In other words, any organization that uses an EU data subject’s information in an automated decision-making process must get explicit consent from the subject and must explain to the subject the aim and method of the analysis.


1. Consent Management: Automated consent management technologies make it easier to obtain, record, and manage user consent for data processing. These technologies enable organizations to gain express consent from individuals and track consent preferences more efficiently.

2. Data Classification: Automated data classification technologies classify data according to its sensitivity and regulatory requirements. This aids in the identification and prioritization of data protection measures by organizations, including encryption, access restrictions, and retention guidelines.

3. Access Controls: Automation implements access controls to limit who has access to sensitive data and under what conditions. Role-based access control (hereinafter referred to as “RBAC”) systems automatically give access privileges to individuals based on their roles and responsibilities, lowering the risk of unauthorized data access.

4. Incident Response: Automated incident response technologies assist organizations in quickly detecting, investigating, and mitigating data breaches and security issues. These technologies streamline incident triage, improve communication with stakeholders, and support established action strategies to reduce the impact of data breaches.

5. Data Subject Rights: Automation makes it easier to handle data subject rights, including the ability to view, amend, and delete personal information. Automated processes allow organizations to efficiently manage data subject requests, authenticate identities, and complete requests within legal timeframes.

6. Auditing and reporting: Data privacy automation comprises tools for tracking audit trails and producing reports on data access, processing, and modification activities. Automated auditing solutions monitor changes to data and user interactions, allowing organizations to show regulatory compliance and create responsibility for data management procedures.


Automation has various benefits for data privacy. One of the most notable advantages is the increased efficiency with which large volumes of personal data can be processed and protected. Automation, for example, can make it easier to incorporate privacy-protecting procedures like access controls, data encryption, and user authentication. By automating these procedures, organizations may guarantee that sensitive data is only available to authorized workers, lowering the risk of data breaches and other privacy violations.

Automated methods reduce human error while also assuring consistency and accuracy in data protection standards. This lowers the risk of regulatory compliance violations and data breaches caused by human error. Organizations can also decrease operating expenses associated with human labour, audits, and compliance activities by automating data privacy processes. Data privacy automation, therefore, improves security by enforcing access limits, encrypting sensitive data, and tracking unauthorized access or suspicious activity.

Opt-in and Opt-Out

In the context of data privacy, opt-in refers to a technique in which consumers voluntarily consent to the collection and use of their personal data. This implies that the consumers must take clear and affirmative action, such as checking a box, clicking a button, or signing a document, before their information may be processed. However, an opt-out model assumes that consumers consent to their data being collected and processed until they expressly opt out.

Previously, most organizations collected data under an “opt-out” mechanism. They would automatically collect user data, and it was up to the user to opt-out. However, with the implementation of the DPDP Act, an “opt-in” system is necessary. Companies must ask the user’s permission before collecting or utilizing their information in any way. They must clearly disclose how they intend to use your information, and you have the option to opt in or out.

Automation technologies can help therefore to speed up the opt-in process by creating customizable consent forms, managing consent preferences, and keeping an audit trail of consent transactions. This enables organizations to handle consent at scale while lowering administrative overhead.

Privacy by Design

Privacy by Design is a proactive approach to data protection that focuses on incorporating privacy issues into the design and development of systems, processes, and technologies from the start.

In India, the concept of privacy by design is gaining acceptance as businesses recognize the value of incorporating privacy into their goods, services, and business operations. Future improvements in data privacy automation are anticipated to prioritize the incorporation of Privacy by Design and Default principles into automated processes and technologies. Proactive integration of privacy issues from the beginning  will be required to successfully handle privacy threats and develop a privacy-centric culture.


Automation plays an important role in data privacy, but the human aspect remains essential. Human oversight is required to evaluate results, make strategic decisions, and guarantee that ethical considerations are followed. In order to sustain a privacy culture alongside automated technology, organizations must implement training programs and awareness activities.

A well-designed automated system helps in reducing human bias during the decision-making process. Automation can also be utilized to improve data quality and consistency by performing checks and balances on input and output.

Data privacy automation is a holistic method of protecting sensitive information in the digital era, therefore, understanding the fundamentals of consent management, data mapping, encryption, and integration is critical to effective deployment.

– Team AMLEGALS assisted by Ms. Deepanshi Kapoor (Intern)

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