Guide to Subject Access Requests

Myles Dacres

Your guide to submitting a subject access request under the UK GDPR.

Guide to Subject Access Requests

Your Guide to Subject Access Requests (with DSAR Support)

Data. Privacy. Empowerment. In today’s digital landscape, these three words intertwine, sometimes creating a tangled web. This is why Data Protection People exists. Our mission is to make data protection easy, simplify complex area of data protection law making it easy to understand. Guide to Subject Access Requests: This ultimate guide, brought to you by the data protection champions at Data Protection People, will equip you with the knowledge and resources to confidently navigate the sometimes-daunting world of Subject Access Requests (SARs) or, depending on your location, Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs).

What are SARs (or DSARs)?

Think of SARs or DSARs as your personal data passport. These powerful requests empower you to demand access to and understand the information organisations hold about you. This can range from basic details like your name and address to your browsing history, online activity, and even social media footprints. Imagine a treasure chest filled with your personal data; SARs act as the key, unlocking its contents and revealing what information is stored and how it’s used.

Your Glossary to SARs, DSARs, and More

Navigating the world of data privacy can feel like deciphering a foreign language. But fear not! This glossary will equip you with the knowledge to confidently understand key terms related to Subject Access Requests (SARs) and Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs).


  • SAR (Subject Access Request):This term is commonly used in the UK and GDPR-based regulations. It signifies an individual’s right to request access to personal data held by an organisation.
  • DSAR (Data Subject Access Request):This term is typically used in the context of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It grants similar rights to individuals to access their personal data.

Key Players:

  • Controller: The organisation that determines the purpose and means of processing personal data. They are ultimately responsible for fulfilling your SAR/DSAR request.
  • Processor: An organisation that processes personal data on behalf of the controller. They must comply with the controller’s instructions regarding your data.

Your Rights:

  • Right of access: This allows you to request and receive a copy of the personal data an organisation holds about you. Both SARs and DSARs fall under this right.
  • Right to erasure: This grants you the ability to request the deletion of your personal data under certain circumstances.
  • Right to rectification: This empowers you to request the correction of any inaccurate or incomplete data about you.

Types of Requests:

  • SAR/DSAR Request: Specifically focuses on accessing your personal data.
  • Freedom of Information (FOI) Request: Applies to government organisations, allowing you to request access to non-personal information they hold.

Remember: This glossary provides a simplified overview. For specific legal nuances and detailed information, consult relevant data privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA. Or speak to one of the experts here at Data Protection People.

Additional Resources:

By understanding these key terms and your rights, you can confidently navigate the world of SARs/DSARs and take control of your personal data.

Why Take Control? The Power of SARs:

Knowledge is power, and submitting a SAR empowers you in several ways:

  • Transparency: Gain invaluable insights into the data organisations hold about you, ensuring its accuracy and completeness.
  • Control: Identify and address any potential errors or misuse of your personal data, taking charge of your digital footprint.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing what information is out there and how it’s used empowers you to make informed decisions about your privacy and online presence.

Submitting a SAR

Don’t let the technical jargon fool you! Submitting a SAR is more straightforward than you might imagine. Here’s a simplified roadmap:

  1. Know Your Target: Who possesses the data you seek? Businesses, government agencies, and even some social media platforms fall under this scope. Identify the specific organisation holding your data.
  2. Choose Your Path: Most organisations offer user-friendly online forms, email addresses, or even postal mail options for submitting SARs. Check their website or data privacy policy for specific instructions.
  3. Craft Your Quest: Clearly state your intention to submit a SAR and specify the type of data you’re seeking. Keep it concise and focused for faster processing.
  4. Verification Checkpoint: To ensure data security, the organisation might request proof of your identity. Be prepared to provide valid documents like passports or driving licenses.
  5. Patience is Key: Organisations typically have 30 days to respond to your SAR, although this can vary based on regulations and complexity.

Need Guidance? Here’s Your Guide to Subject Access Requests

At Data Protection People, we understand that even with this simplified guide, SARs can still feel like a complex maze. That’s why we offer comprehensive DSAR support. Our team of data protection experts, renowned for their ability to simplify the seemingly complex, can assist you with:

  • Drafting a clear and effective SAR request tailored to your specific needs.
  • Understanding the response and identifying any discrepancies or concerns.
  • Navigating legal complexities and ensuring your rights are upheld throughout the process.

Remember, You’re Not Alone!

No matter where you are in the world, our resources and support are readily available. Explore our treasure trove of informative blog posts, FAQs, and legal guides on our website. We’re here to empower you with the knowledge and confidence to take control of your personal data journey.

Additional Resources:

Contact Data Protection People

Ready to embark on your data empowerment journey? Our DSAR support team is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today for personalised assistance. Our service provides processors who need support with expert advice, guidance and even provides an end to end SAR Handling Service.