We have all seen the classic police dramas where uniformed officers knock on a door with search warrant in hand. On the news, we’ve witnessed investigators pouring out of a building with boxes of potential evidence.
For countless years, this was how police work was done. But in the digital age how can they “search” and “seize” data that doesn’t physically exist and could be stored somewhere on the other side of the world?
The first hurdle for law enforcement is to get their legal demands into the correct hands. Unless they are lucky enough to have their target data-wielding corporation around the corner, they need to find a way to serve their order. This has been accomplished by mail, by fax and more recently by e-mail.
The second hurdle is to obtain the responsive data that needs to be returned to them. At one point they might have received these results on a disk through the mail, by fax or an e-mail attachment. However, these methods offer some issues with either response speed, security or both. To alleviate these challenges, many information providers have moved to on-line portals for law enforcement to submit their requests, and then receive their results.
Think of it like your nearest food court kiosk. Law enforcement places their order (the less tasty legal kind). The helpful staff reviews it for accuracy and validity (Sorry, special agent. You can’t order this item off the subpoena menu), and if all is in order they provide the requested data back to the officer. This all takes place securely and on one site, which adds ease to the process and an extra layer of protection and privacy for both law enforcement and the account holder.
In addition to these obvious advantages, many data holders are using compliance portals to ensure compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect last year. This landmark data privacy regulation has ushered in a new era for data controllers and processors, and compliance portals are an important step into the future of legal compliance.
Interested in more information about the GDPR? Check out: GDPR compliance: what organisations need to know
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