SAR Redaction Services

Eve Hobson

This article talks about SAR Redaction Services including, FAQs, the SAR process and our services.

man working on laptop

SAR Redaction Services

In today’s age where personal data is constantly being processed and shared, understanding your rights as an individual has become even more crucial.  In particular, the most commonly known right is an individual’s right to access their own personal data that an organisation may hold on them. Data protection regulations like the UK GDPR enshrine the right to access personal data. Subject Access Requests (SARs) facilitate this right. However, fulfilling SARs can be complex and time-consuming, especially when redacting sensitive information.

This blog aims to be your one-stop guide to SARs and SAR redaction services. We’ll answer some frequently asked questions, explain the legalities and processes, and outline how our expert SAR redaction services can help your business ensure compliance and streamline the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SARs

1. What Should Be Redacted in a SAR?

When responding to a SAR, you need to provide all the personal information you hold about the person making the request. Data protection regulations require organisations to respond to Subject Access Requests (SARs) within a designated timeframe (usually one month) and in a clear and accessible format. However, there are some exceptions to this timeframe. Here’s a breakdown of what you typically can’t share:

  • Third-party personal data: This encompasses information about other individuals referenced within the data, such as employees, clients, or suppliers.
  • Legally privileged information: This could include legal advice or communications covered by legal professional privilege.
  • Information necessary for the prevention or detection of crime: You have the right to withhold information if disclosure would obstruct law enforcement activities.

It is important to note that information can be disclosed if an organisation is already privy to communications.

Basically, you can’t share anything that could identify someone else or hurt ongoing investigations.

2. Can a Company Ignore a SAR?

The short answer is no, ignoring a SAR is a no-go for most companies. Here’s why:

  • Mandatory Response: Data protection laws generally mandate a timely response to SARs. This timeframe typically falls within one month of receipt of the request. Ignoring the request entirely signifies non-compliance with these regulations.
  • Justification for Withholding Information: Organisations must justify any redactions made to a Subject Access Request (SAR). Simply withholding information without explanation deprives the data subject of their right to understand why specific details are missing.
  • Complaints and Regulatory Action: Disregarding a SAR can lead to formal complaints being filed against the organisation with relevant data protection authorities. These authorities have the power to investigate the matter and potentially impose fines for non-compliance.

So, the next time you receive a SAR, remember: respond promptly and explain any limitations clearly.

3. Are Text Messages Included in a SAR?

If a text message contains your personal information, it can be included in a SAR. We will also review SMS messages sent to or from our organisation that specifically concern you. Think of it this way: any message that helps identify you and details your dealings with the company falls under the scope of a SAR.

4. On What Grounds Can a SAR Be Refused?

There are a few situations where you can refuse a SAR, but they’re pretty specific. Here’s the breakdown:

Remember, these are exceptions. In most cases, you’ll need to fulfill a SAR request.

5. What is the difference between a SAR and and a DSAR?

There essentially isn’t a difference between a SAR (Subject Access Request) and a DSAR (Data Subject Access Request) . Regulations like the GDPR employ the formal term “DSAR,” whereas “SAR” is the more common phrase in everyday use.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • SAR (Subject Access Request): This is the widely used term for a request by an individual to access their personal data held by an organisation. It’s a clear and concise way to communicate the purpose of the request.
  • DSAR (Data Subject Access Request): This is the formal term used in data protection regulations like the GDPR. It precisely identifies the individual making the request (the data subject) and the type of request (access).

The SAR Process: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

Initiation: The data subject submits a SAR to the organisation, typically in writing (email or letter). Individuals should clearly state their desire to access their personal data in the request. They can also specify the type of data they’re interested in.

Verification: The organisation must verify the identity of the data subject to ensure they are requesting their own information. This may involve security measures like password verification or knowledge-based authentication.

Response: Data protection regulations require organisations to respond to Subject Access Requests (SARs) within a designated timeframe (usually one month) and in a clear and accessible format. The response should:

  • Confirm receipt of the request.
  • We will promptly deliver your requested personal data in a structured and commonly used format, such as electronically if you prefer.
  • In some cases, we may need to withhold certain information from your Subject Access Request (SAR). We’ll transparently explain any redactions made to your Subject Access Request (SAR) and provide the legal justification, such as protecting the privacy of third parties.

Subject Access Request (SAR) deadlines can be extended for several reasons:

  • Complexity of the request: Scattered information across different systems or requiring extensive filtering and sorting may extend the deadline for compiling the requested data.
  • Volume of requests: A high volume of SARs at once may necessitate the organisation requesting additional time to fulfil each request.

When a delay is necessary, the organisation will inform the person who submitted the SAR and explain the reason for the extension. The maximum delay allowed in such cases is two additional months.

Appeal: If the data subject is dissatisfied with the response (e.g., information is inaccurate or incomplete), they have the right to appeal the organisation’s decision. This may involve escalating the complaint to a data protection supervisory authority.

Data Protection People: Your Steadfast Partner for SAR Redaction

Data Protection People empowers organisations to navigate the complexities of SARs with our comprehensive redaction services. We take the burden off your shoulders and ensure you meet your legal obligations.

Understanding SAR Redaction Services

SAR redaction necessitates the meticulous removal of any personal data within documents that could lead to the disclosure of information about individuals other than the data subject making the SAR. By ensuring adherence to data protection regulations, this process safeguards the privacy of third parties and protects sensitive information.

Why Engage a SAR Redaction Service?

Manually redacting documents is a laborious and error-prone process. Here’s how a SAR redaction service from Data Protection People can benefit your organisation.

Here’s what we offer:

  • Secure data transfer and storage: We prioritise your data’s security throughout the redaction process by employing secure methods for both transferring and storing it.
  • Scalable solutions: We can efficiently handle large volumes of SARs. Moreover, we cater to businesses of all sizes.
  • Project management and reporting: We provide clear communication and keep you updated on the progress of your SAR redaction project. In addition, we ensure client satisfaction through our commitment to quality and timely delivery.


Gain a comprehensive grasp of SARs and empower your business to manage them effectively. Utilise professional SAR redaction services from Data Protection People to ensure compliance, safeguard sensitive information, and streamline your response process. Contact us today to discuss how our expertise can elevate your SAR management.