PRIV- 13 – Data Protection Impact Assessment

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What is this control about?

Implementing the control ‘Data Protection Impact Assessment’ is crucial because it ensures that organizations proactively assess and address potential privacy risks associated with their data processing activities. A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), also known as a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), is a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the impact that a particular data processing operation or project may have on individuals’ privacy rights and freedoms.

Available tools in the marketplace

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Available templates

TrustCloud has a curated list of templates internally or externally sourced to help you get started. Click on the link for a downloadable version:

  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) template
  • DPIA policy template example from GitLab

Control implementation

Here are some guidelines to implement a DPIA assessment program:

  • Understand Applicability: First, ensure that the organization understands when a DPIA is required. Review relevant data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) to identify processing activities that may trigger the need for a DPIA, such as large-scale data processing, processing sensitive data, or using new technologies.
  • DPIA Policy and Procedure: Work with the organization to develop a DPIA policy and procedure. This document should outline the criteria for conducting a DPIA, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders involved, and the steps of the DPIA process.
  • Data Mapping: Assist in identifying and documenting all data processing activities. Work with data owners and processors to understand how data flows within the organization, where it is stored, and who has access to it.
  • Risk Assessment: Collaborate with relevant teams to perform a comprehensive risk assessment of the identified data processing activities. Evaluate the potential risks to data subjects’ rights and freedoms, including the likelihood and severity of harm.
  • Privacy Impact Assessment: Guide the organization in conducting the privacy impact assessment itself. This involves assessing the necessity and proportionality of the processing, ensuring data minimization, and identifying measures to mitigate risks.
  • Privacy by Design: Encourage the implementation of privacy by design principles in new projects and data processing activities. Emphasize that privacy should be considered from the outset, rather than added as an afterthought.
  • Documentation and Record Keeping: Ensure that the organization maintains detailed records of DPIA activities, including the decisions made, the measures implemented, and the outcomes of the assessments.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Facilitate discussions and collaboration among relevant stakeholders, including IT, legal, HR, and data protection officers, to gather input and ensure a comprehensive DPIA.
  • Periodic Review: Advise the organization to conduct periodic reviews of DPIAs to assess the ongoing effectiveness of implemented measures and identify any changes that may require a new assessment.
  • Communication and Training: Assist in educating employees about the importance of DPIAs and data protection best practices. Offer training sessions to raise awareness and ensure consistent adherence to the DPIA policy.

What evidence do auditors look for?

Most auditors, at a minimum, are looking for the below-suggested action:

  • DPIA Policy and Procedure: The organization should have a documented DPIA policy and procedure. This document outlines the criteria for conducting DPIAs, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders involved, and the steps of the DPIA process. It also highlights the triggers that necessitate a DPIA and the threshold for conducting one.
  • DPIA Assessment Reports: Auditors review the DPIA reports for completed assessments. These reports should detail the identified risks to data subjects’ rights and freedoms, an assessment of the likelihood and severity of harm, and the measures put in place to mitigate the risks.
  • Records of Stakeholder Engagement: Documentation of stakeholder engagement during the DPIA process is essential. This includes meeting minutes, feedback from stakeholders, and any actions taken based on their input.

Evidence example

For the suggested action, an example is provided below:

  • DPIA Policy and Procedure. Use this template example DPIA policy template example from GitLab
  • DPIA Assessment Reports. Use this Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) template
  • Records of Stakeholder Engagement  – This should be evidenced within a completed DPIA assessment report


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