Creating a Genuine Data Consent Framework

Creating a Genuine Data Consent Framework

In 2021, over 40 billion records worldwide were exposed due to data breaches—and the most common type of stolen or leaked data in these cases are customers’ personal information, which costs $180 per record.

These data breaches, such as zero-day, zero-click attacks, rightfully cause worry and distress among customers, and these consumer sentiments also brings disastrous results for corporations. As users worldwide began to distrust giving personal information to brands, organizations are left with fragmented consumer data, which results to irrelevant marketing campaigns and disconnected brand journeys.

To protect user data and ensure business growth despite the growing cyber threat landscape, global authorities has issued data privacy rules and regulations. Since data is the most important asset in today’s digitally transformative society, eliminating data acquisition completely is almost impossible. Instead, governments decided to give data consent to users—where they have the ability to take in charge of the types of information that brands have access in.

Key Characteristics of True Data Consent

Data consent helps build organizational trust in data storage and processing, while corporations also do their part by ensuring maximum data safety and security measures. So, what can be considered as genuine data consent? PwC listed the key characteristics of true data consent:

1. Freely given

Data consent must be truly optional for the user. There should be an option to say “yes” or “no,” without any reinforcing or limiting features.

2. Granular and separate

Data consent forms should be separate from the terms and conditions, and the purpose and method of acquiring consent should be specific to the organization.

3. Unambiguous and clear affirmative action

Consent descriptions should be clear, and shows a clear action to let them opt-in. Opt-in is done in two ways: implicit and explicit.

  1. Implicit opt-in is indirect or assumed consent, where the organization has already pre-filled consent features for the user.
  2. Explicit opt-in is direct and free consent, where the organization lets the user completely agree or disagree with data disclosure, use, or storage.

4. No implicit opt-in options

Pre-ticked boxes and default data consent options should be avoided, as it immediately assumes the amount of consent that the user intends to allow. 

5. Right to revoke or withdraw consent

Users must be given the option to revoke or withdraw their consent on data, without any consequences on the services or features they are acquiring from an organization.

For most corporations, these characteristics should definitely be considering in making an effective data consent management architecture. However, some corporations may require users to immediately provide information without asking for consent. For example, users have to give their data to healthcare sectors in the case of emergencies, so that health specialists can provide them with the most appropriate and safe medical services.

How to Build Great Consent Management Architecture

To continuously build customer trust and help corporations enable better consumer journeys, it is important to evaluate their data consent management frameworks in terms of asking, recording, and managing user data.

Discover the best practices for each step in the usual data consent management process, based on existing rules and regulations worldwide.

When asking for data consent

The first step in the consent management process is to ask for the user’s data consent. This is crucial, as this concerns the users’ opportunity to give or withhold personal information from an organization.

  1. Provide explanations why data would be stored or used.

To help users decide on giving their consent, it is crucial to explain why their information is being asked in the first place. Providing short and clear explanations on data collection is a great way to address this.

  1. Ensure age-sensitive consent measures are implemented.

According to studies, about 49% of children ages 10-12 years old are using social media apps, and 69% doesn’t realize that they shared private information. Organizations that offer apps or services for children may enable parental controls or age-verification features to ensure children’s online safety.

  1. Categorize different types of data that needs consent.

There are different kinds of data, such as the contact information and survey responses. Each data must be treated with utmost confidentiality, so corporations must categorize certain questions and data in consent forms.

  1. Use plain language in data consent forms.

No user would want to read a consent form that is full of technical terms, unless the targeted customers are specifically aware of these terms. In response, a brand must ask for consent using plain, clear, and concise questions and instructions.

When recording data

  1. Implement all data privacy protection technologies and protocols.

Modern data breaches are costly, with the average cost in 2021 being $4.24 million. These data breaches will result into losses in profit and number of customers, so businesses must strictly implement all data protection technologies and protocols to protect user data and their companies.

  1. Keep track of which user data can be changed, or may possibly be withdrawn by customers.

Part of data consent is to allow users to change or possibly withdraw their information from organizations. In this sense, businesses should have mechanisms ready in the event that customers want to make the said actions. Also, they need to ensure that there would be no extreme consequences or penalties should they decide to withdraw certain information.

  1. Record where and when the data was acquired.

Today’s omnichannel market can be difficult to navigate without the use of identity resolution platforms. By recording where and when user data was acquired, brands can prepare more relevant customer journeys and evaluate improvements for data consent management on specific online platforms.  

When managing data

  1. Practice data minimization at all times.

Data minimization is collecting only the necessary personal data for a certain service or product, and only keeping it as long as the corporation needs it. The assigned data controllers of a company must always review the data use, so that they can minimize the instances of acquiring personal data.

  1. Update data use and storage according to new rules and regulations.

There are numerous data protection protocols in every country, such as the GPDR, CCPA, POPI, and even the UAE’s data protection laws. These laws may have changes or additional clauses, since these laws can be heavily affected by how dynamic technology grows every year. In that case, organizations should have their resources ready to implement the said changes on their consent management frameworks.

  1. Communicate changes in the data consent management processes.

All changes in the consent management process must be communicated clearly to the personnel involved. Training must also be provided to them to deal with the said updates, so that data will be properly collected, used, and stored.

Customer trust, once broken, can be difficult to regain. It is also difficult to maintain, given how cyber threats continue to evolve every year. The best way to deal with this issue is for corporations to adhere to global data protection laws and implement a true data consent management framework.   


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Patricia Mae M. Estenoso, Creative Copywriter, CXO Connect ME