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Ensuring Data Privacy Compliance: Navigating the Regulations Impacting Marketing Activities

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Data Privacy Regulations And Compliance In Marketing Activities
In an era where data plays a crucial role in marketing strategies, ensuring data privacy and compliance has become a paramount concern. With the increasing number of regulations and laws governing the use of personal data, marketers need to navigate this complex landscape to protect both their customers and their own businesses.


Section 1: Understanding Data Privacy Regulations

Every day, vast amounts of personal data are collected and processed by organizations worldwide. To protect individuals’ privacy rights and ensure responsible handling of this data, various data privacy regulations have been enacted. These regulations govern how organizations collect, store, process, and share personal data.

Data privacy regulations vary across jurisdictions, but they share common principles and objectives. The most well-known and influential regulation is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented by the European Union (EU). The GDPR sets comprehensive rules for data protection and privacy for EU citizens, regardless of where the processing takes place.

Other notable data privacy regulations include the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, which grants California residents certain rights and control over their personal information. Additionally, the upcoming California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will further enhance data privacy rights for Californians.

These regulations typically define personal data broadly, encompassing any information that can directly or indirectly identify an individual. The scope of personal data includes but is not limited to names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, and even biometric or genetic data.

Under these regulations, organizations are required to obtain lawful bases for collecting and processing personal data. These bases can include the data subject’s consent, contractual necessity, legal obligations, vital interests, public task, or legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or a third party.

Why Data Privacy Regulations Matter

Data privacy regulations play a crucial role in today’s digital landscape. They aim to balance the benefits of data-driven activities with individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection. By complying with these regulations, organizations can build trust with their customers, enhance their reputation, and avoid legal and financial penalties.

Furthermore, data privacy regulations encourage responsible data handling practices, ensuring that personal data is used for legitimate purposes and protected from unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse. They also empower individuals to have control over their personal information by providing them with rights, such as the right to access, correct, or delete their data.

In the next sections, we will explore the key data privacy regulations that impact marketing activities, the role of consent in marketing, transparency requirements, data security measures, and best practices for compliance.

Section 2: Key Data Privacy Regulations Impacting Marketing

Data privacy regulations have a direct impact on marketing activities, as marketing often involves the collection and use of personal data. Understanding the key regulations that govern these activities is essential for marketers to ensure compliance and maintain consumer trust.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is one of the most influential data privacy regulations globally. It applies to organizations that process personal data of individuals residing in the European Union (EU), regardless of the organization’s location. The GDPR sets high standards for data protection and imposes significant penalties for non-compliance.

Under the GDPR, marketers must ensure that they have a valid legal basis for processing personal data, such as obtaining the individual’s consent or demonstrating legitimate interests. Marketers should also provide clear privacy notices, offer opt-in mechanisms, and allow individuals to exercise their data subject rights.

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The CCPA is a data privacy law in California that grants residents specific rights and control over their personal information. It applies to businesses that meet certain criteria, including those that collect, share, or sell California residents’ personal data.

Marketers affected by the CCPA must disclose their data collection practices, provide opt-out options for the sale of personal data, and honor requests from individuals exercising their rights, such as the right to know, delete, and opt-out. The CCPA also imposes penalties for non-compliance.

California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)

The CPRA, set to take effect in 2023, builds upon the CCPA and introduces additional privacy rights and obligations. It expands the definition of personal information, enhances consumer rights, and establishes a new enforcement agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA).

Marketers will need to assess the impact of the CPRA on their marketing practices, including the requirement to provide more detailed privacy notices, limitations on data retention, and stricter regulations on sharing and selling personal information.

Other Data Privacy Regulations

In addition to the GDPR, CCPA, and CPRA, other data privacy regulations exist globally. Examples include the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in Canada, the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in Singapore, and the Privacy Act in Australia.

Marketers operating in different jurisdictions should familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and obligations under these regulations to ensure compliance at both a global and local level.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the various aspects of data privacy compliance in marketing, including consent management, transparency requirements, data security measures, and strategies for managing data subject rights.

Section 3: The Role of Consent in Marketing

Consent is a critical aspect of data privacy compliance in marketing activities. It serves as the legal basis for processing personal data and plays a crucial role in ensuring individuals’ rights and choices are respected. Let’s explore the key considerations regarding consent in marketing.

Obtaining Explicit and Informed Consent

Under data privacy regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA, marketers must obtain explicit and informed consent from individuals before collecting and using their personal data for marketing purposes. Explicit consent requires a clear and affirmative action, such as ticking a box or signing a consent form.

Marketers should provide individuals with comprehensive information about the purposes for which their data will be used, who it will be shared with, and how long it will be retained. This information should be easily accessible, written in clear and plain language, and presented separately from other terms and conditions.

Unbundled and Granular Consent

Unbundled and granular consent means that marketers should give individuals the option to consent to different types of processing separately. This allows individuals to have more control over their personal data and choose the specific marketing activities they wish to participate in.

For example, instead of having a single consent checkbox that covers multiple purposes (e.g., marketing emails, targeted advertisements, and third-party sharing), marketers should provide separate checkboxes or options for each purpose, allowing individuals to opt-in or opt-out selectively.

Managing Consent Preferences and Withdrawal

Once consent is obtained, marketers must respect individuals’ preferences and provide mechanisms for them to manage their consent choices. This includes offering easy-to-use opt-out options and honoring requests to withdraw consent at any time.

Marketers should implement robust consent management systems and processes to ensure that individuals’ preferences are accurately recorded and reflected in their marketing communications. This includes regularly updating and refreshing consent preferences to align with changing marketing activities and data processing practices.

Children’s Consent and Parental Authorization

For marketing activities targeting children, additional considerations apply. Data privacy regulations often require obtaining verifiable parental consent before collecting personal data from children under a certain age (e.g., under 16 years old in the GDPR).

Marketers should implement age verification mechanisms and obtain parental authorization when necessary. They should also ensure that marketing communications directed at children are age-appropriate and do not exploit their vulnerabilities or lack of experience.

Consent plays a vital role in building trust with individuals and fostering a transparent and ethical approach to marketing. By obtaining explicit and informed consent, respecting individuals’ preferences, and providing mechanisms for consent management, marketers can ensure compliance and maintain positive relationships with their audience.

Section 4: Transparency and Privacy Notices

Transparency is a fundamental principle of data privacy regulations. Marketers are required to provide individuals with clear and concise privacy notices that inform them about how their personal data will be collected, used, shared, and protected. Let’s delve into the importance of transparency and privacy notices in marketing.

The Purpose of Privacy Notices

Privacy notices, also known as privacy policies or statements, serve as a communication tool between organizations and individuals. These notices inform individuals about the data processing activities undertaken by the organization and empower them to make informed decisions regarding their personal data.

Privacy notices should be easily accessible, written in clear and plain language, and presented in a format that allows individuals to understand the information easily. They should explain the purposes of data collection, the legal basis for processing, the categories of personal data collected, and the recipients or categories of recipients with whom the data may be shared.

Providing Notice at the Point of Data Collection

One important aspect of privacy notices in marketing is providing notice at the point of data collection. Whenever marketers collect personal data directly from individuals, they should inform them about the purposes for which the data will be used and any third parties with whom the data may be shared.

This point of notice can be achieved through various means, such as pop-up notifications, explicit consent checkboxes with accompanying explanations, or links to detailed privacy notices. By providing notice at the point of data collection, marketers ensure individuals are fully aware of how their data will be used before providing it.

Updating Privacy Notices

Privacy notices should not be static documents. As marketing activities evolve or new data processing practices are adopted, marketers must review and update their privacy notices accordingly. This ensures that individuals receive up-to-date information about how their personal data is being handled.

Marketers should regularly assess their data processing activities, review their privacy notices for accuracy and completeness, and make any necessary updates. It is essential to communicate these changes to individuals and provide them with an opportunity to review and understand the updated privacy practices.

Enhancing Transparency through Layered Notices

To improve transparency and facilitate better understanding, marketers can consider using layered privacy notices. Layered notices involve presenting essential information upfront, with the option to access more detailed information if desired.

This approach allows individuals to quickly grasp the key points of data collection and processing practices, while also accommodating those who want more in-depth information. Layered notices can be achieved by using summary statements, FAQs, or expandable sections within the privacy notice.

By providing transparent privacy notices, marketers build trust with individuals and demonstrate their commitment to responsible data handling. The clarity and accessibility of privacy notices contribute to individuals’ confidence in sharing their personal data and engaging with marketing activities.

Section 5: Data Minimization and Purpose Limitation

Data minimization and purpose limitation are important principles in data privacy regulations, including the GDPR and CCPA. These principles guide marketers in collecting and processing only the necessary personal data for their marketing activities and using it solely for the specified purposes. Let’s explore the significance of data minimization and purpose limitation in marketing.

Data Minimization: Collecting Only What’s Necessary

Data minimization refers to the practice of collecting and retaining only the minimum amount of personal data necessary to achieve the intended purpose. Marketers should carefully assess the data they collect and ask themselves if each data point is truly essential for their marketing activities.

By collecting only what is necessary, marketers minimize the risks associated with gathering excessive or irrelevant data. It reduces the potential for data breaches, unauthorized access, and the misuse of personal information. Additionally, data minimization helps organizations comply with privacy regulations and respect individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection.

Purpose Limitation: Using Data Only for Specified Purposes

Purpose limitation requires marketers to use personal data only for the specific purposes for which it was collected. When obtaining consent or providing privacy notices, marketers should clearly communicate the intended purposes of data processing to individuals.

Using personal data beyond the specified purposes without obtaining additional consent or a legal basis is not compliant with purpose limitation. Marketers should refrain from repurposing personal data for activities that individuals did not consent to or that are incompatible with the original purpose.

Periodic Data Review and Deletion

To adhere to the principles of data minimization and purpose limitation, marketers should regularly review the personal data they have collected and stored. This review involves assessing whether the data is still necessary for the intended purposes or if it can be securely deleted.

Periodic data review and deletion practices help marketers maintain a lean and compliant data environment. By removing unnecessary or outdated data, organizations reduce the potential impact of a data breach, simplify data management processes, and minimize the risks associated with retaining personal information for longer than necessary.

Data Minimization and Purpose Limitation in Marketing Analytics

Data minimization and purpose limitation also apply to marketing analytics activities. Marketers should ensure that the data they use for analytics purposes is relevant and limited to what is necessary to derive meaningful insights and improve marketing strategies.

When conducting data analysis, marketers should anonymize or pseudonymize personal data whenever possible to protect individuals’ privacy. By applying these techniques, marketers can still extract valuable insights while minimizing the risks associated with handling identifiable personal data.

By practicing data minimization and purpose limitation, marketers demonstrate their commitment to responsible data handling and compliance with data privacy regulations. These principles not only safeguard individuals’ privacy but also contribute to building trust and maintaining a positive relationship between organizations and their audience.

Section 6: Safeguarding Data Security

Ensuring the security of personal data is paramount in maintaining data privacy compliance. Marketers must implement robust data security measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats. Let’s explore the essential aspects of safeguarding data security in marketing activities.

Data Security Risk Assessment

Marketers should conduct regular data security risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks to the personal data they handle. This assessment involves evaluating the effectiveness of existing security measures, identifying weaknesses, and implementing appropriate controls to mitigate risks.

By understanding the specific risks and vulnerabilities they face, marketers can take proactive steps to enhance data security and prevent potential breaches or unauthorized access to personal data.

Access Control and User Authentication

Implementing proper access controls and user authentication mechanisms is crucial in safeguarding data security. Marketers should ensure that only authorized personnel have access to personal data, and each user should have a unique identifier and strong password to prevent unauthorized access.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) can provide an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide two forms of identification, such as a password and a unique code sent to their mobile device. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if someone obtains the user’s login credentials.

Encryption of Personal Data

Encrypting personal data is an effective measure to protect it from unauthorized access. Marketers should consider encrypting personal data both in transit and at rest. Encryption ensures that even if data is intercepted or accessed without authorization, it remains unreadable and unusable to unauthorized individuals.

Various encryption methods, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS), or data-at-rest encryption, can be utilized to secure personal data throughout its lifecycle.

Regular Data Backups

Data backups are essential in data security and recovery planning. Marketers should establish regular data backup procedures to ensure that personal data is not lost in the event of a system failure, data corruption, or a security incident.

Backups should be securely stored and tested periodically to verify their integrity and effectiveness. This practice helps ensure the availability and recoverability of personal data, minimizing the impact of potential data loss or disruption.

Employee Training and Awareness

Human error is a significant factor in data breaches and security incidents. Marketers should provide comprehensive training and awareness programs to employees to educate them about data security best practices, the importance of privacy, and their roles and responsibilities in protecting personal data.

Training should cover topics such as recognizing and reporting security incidents, handling personal data securely, and following internal data protection policies and procedures. Regular refreshers and updates should be provided to keep employees informed about emerging security threats and best practices.

By implementing robust data security measures, marketers can minimize the risk of data breaches, protect personal data, and maintain compliance with data privacy regulations. Data security is not only essential for legal and ethical reasons but also crucial for maintaining trust and confidence among customers and stakeholders.

Section 7: Managing Data Subject Rights

Data subject rights are an integral part of data privacy regulations, empowering individuals to have control over their personal data. Marketers must have mechanisms in place to handle data subject rights requests promptly and effectively. Let’s explore the key aspects of managing data subject rights in marketing activities.

Understanding Data Subject Rights

Data subject rights grant individuals certain privileges and control over their personal data. These rights may include the right to access their data, rectify inaccuracies, erase data (the right to be forgotten), restrict processing, object to processing, and data portability.

Marketers should familiarize themselves with the specific data subject rights outlined in the applicable data privacy regulations, as they may vary between jurisdictions. Understanding these rights is essential for ensuring compliance and addressing individuals’ requests effectively.

Establishing a Data Subject Request Process

Marketers should develop a clear and efficient process for handling data subject requests. This process should outline the steps to be followed when receiving a request, how to verify the identity of the data subject, and the timelines for responding to the request.

Having a well-defined process helps ensure that requests are handled consistently and in a timely manner. It also demonstrates transparency and accountability in addressing individuals’ rights.

Verifying Data Subject Identity

Verifying the identity of the data subject is crucial to prevent unauthorized access to personal data and protect individuals’ privacy. Marketers should implement appropriate identity verification measures to ensure that the request is coming from the legitimate data subject.

Depending on the nature of the request and the sensitivity of the data involved, marketers may require the data subject to provide specific information or undergo additional verification steps. This helps safeguard personal data from falling into the wrong hands.

Responding to Data Subject Requests

Marketers should respond to data subject requests promptly and within the required timeframes set by data privacy regulations. The response should address the specific request, whether it involves providing access to data, rectifying inaccuracies, erasing data, or any other applicable right.

If a request cannot be fulfilled, marketers should provide clear and lawful reasons for denial and inform the data subject of their rights to escalate the matter or lodge a complaint with the relevant data protection authority.

Ensuring Internal Collaboration and Documentation

Managing data subject rights requires collaboration between different teams and departments within an organization. Marketers should work closely with legal, IT, and customer support teams to ensure consistent and compliant handling of data subject requests.

It is essential to maintain proper documentation of data subject requests, including the details of the request, actions taken, and any communication with the data subject. This documentation helps demonstrate compliance and serves as a reference in case of audits or inquiries.

By effectively managing data subject rights, marketers can demonstrate their commitment to data privacy and build trust with individuals. Implementing a well-defined process, verifying data subject identity, and promptly responding to requests contribute to a transparent and privacy-conscious approach to marketing activities.

Section 8: International Data Transfers

In today’s globalized world, marketers often engage in international data transfers, where personal data is transferred from one country to another. However, such transfers must comply with data privacy regulations and ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data. Let’s explore the key considerations for international data transfers in marketing activities.

Understanding Cross-Border Data Transfers

Cross-border data transfers refer to the movement of personal data from one country to another. These transfers can occur between different branches or subsidiaries of an organization, with third-party service providers located in different countries, or when data is stored on servers located outside the data subject’s country.

Transferring personal data across borders requires compliance with the data protection laws of both the originating country (where the data is collected) and the receiving country (where the data is transferred to).

Adequacy Decisions and Approved Mechanisms

Some countries or regions have been deemed to provide an “adequate” level of data protection by the European Commission and other regulatory bodies. Adequacy decisions declare that personal data can be freely transferred to these countries without requiring additional safeguards.

In cases where the receiving country does not have an adequacy decision, marketers must rely on approved data transfer mechanisms to ensure an adequate level of protection. These mechanisms may include the use of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs), or obtaining explicit consent from data subjects.

Assessing the Receiving Country’s Data Protection Laws

Before transferring personal data to another country, marketers should carefully assess the data protection laws and regulations in the receiving country. It is crucial to ensure that the receiving country provides sufficient safeguards and protections for personal data.

This assessment involves evaluating factors such as the robustness of the data protection framework, the existence of independent supervisory authorities, and any specific requirements or restrictions on data transfers imposed by the receiving country’s laws.

Implementing Additional Security Measures

In certain cases, marketers may need to implement additional security measures to protect personal data during international transfers. These measures may include encryption, anonymization, or pseudonymization of data to minimize the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

Implementing appropriate security measures helps ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal data during transit and storage in the receiving country.

Keeping Up with Evolving Regulations

Data privacy regulations and international data transfer requirements are constantly evolving. Marketers must stay informed about changes in the laws and regulations of both the originating and receiving countries to ensure ongoing compliance with data protection requirements.

By staying up-to-date, marketers can adapt their data transfer practices accordingly and implement any necessary safeguards or mechanisms to maintain compliance.

International data transfers require careful consideration and compliance with data privacy regulations. By understanding the various mechanisms and requirements for data transfers, marketers can ensure the protection of personal data and maintain compliance when conducting marketing activities across borders.

Section 9: Compliance Challenges and Best Practices

Complying with data privacy regulations in marketing activities can present various challenges. However, by adopting best practices and implementing effective strategies, marketers can navigate these challenges and ensure compliance. Let’s explore the common compliance challenges faced by marketers and the corresponding best practices.

Keeping Up with Changing Regulations

Data privacy regulations are continuously evolving, with new laws and amendments being introduced. Staying informed about these changes is crucial for marketers to adapt their practices and ensure ongoing compliance. Regularly monitoring regulatory updates and seeking guidance from legal professionals or industry experts can help marketers stay ahead of the curve.

Consent Management

Managing consent effectively is a critical aspect of compliance. Marketers should implement robust consent management systems to track and document consent obtained from individuals. This includes capturing consent preferences, maintaining consent records, and enabling individuals to easily modify or withdraw their consent. Regularly reviewing and refreshing consent is also essential to keep it up to date and aligned with marketing activities.

Third-Party Data Processors

Engaging third-party data processors, such as marketing agencies or cloud service providers, can introduce compliance challenges. Marketers should carefully assess the data privacy practices and security measures of these processors before engaging them. Implementing robust data processing agreements, conducting due diligence, and monitoring the compliance practices of third parties can help mitigate risks and ensure their adherence to applicable data privacy regulations.

Data Breach Preparedness

Data breaches can occur despite robust security measures. Marketers should have a well-defined incident response plan in place to handle data breaches promptly and effectively. This includes establishing procedures for assessing and containing breaches, notifying affected individuals or authorities, and mitigating potential harm. Regularly testing and updating the incident response plan helps ensure its effectiveness when a breach occurs.

Employee Training and Awareness

Employees play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations. Providing comprehensive training and awareness programs to employees helps foster a culture of privacy and data protection within the organization. Training should cover topics such as data privacy principles, handling personal data securely, and recognizing and responding to data privacy incidents. Regularly reinforcing training and promoting ongoing awareness are essential to maintain a privacy-conscious workforce.

Privacy by Design

Adopting a privacy by design approach involves integrating data privacy considerations into the design of marketing activities, systems, and processes. Marketers should proactively assess and address privacy risks at the early stages of planning and development. By implementing privacy-enhancing measures, such as pseudonymization, data minimization, and access controls, marketers can embed compliance into their marketing practices from the outset.

By understanding and addressing these common compliance challenges, marketers can establish a strong foundation for data privacy compliance. Adopting best practices, staying informed about regulatory developments, and fostering a privacy-conscious culture within the organization not only ensures compliance but also enhances customer trust and loyalty.

Section 10: The Future of Data Privacy in Marketing

Data privacy continues to be a prominent topic that shapes the landscape of marketing activities. As technology evolves and consumer expectations change, data privacy regulations and best practices will continue to evolve as well. Let’s explore the future trends and considerations for data privacy in marketing.

Enhanced Consumer Privacy Rights

Consumer privacy rights are likely to be strengthened in the future. We can expect to see more regulations granting individuals greater control over their personal data, including the right to opt out of targeted advertising, stricter consent requirements, and enhanced rights to access, rectify, and delete personal information. Marketers need to stay abreast of these changes and adapt their practices accordingly.

Emerging Technologies and Privacy Challenges

New and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), present both opportunities and challenges for data privacy in marketing. Marketers must navigate the ethical considerations surrounding these technologies, such as ensuring transparency in automated decision-making processes and addressing potential biases in AI algorithms. Privacy considerations should be built into the design and implementation of these technologies.

Data Protection in a Global Context

Data privacy regulations are increasingly being adopted globally. Marketers operating on an international scale should be prepared to comply with multiple sets of regulations and navigate the complexities of cross-border data transfers. Harmonizing data protection practices and ensuring consistency in compliance measures will be crucial for organizations with a global presence.

Data Ethics and Trust

Ethical data practices and building trust with consumers will become even more important in the future. Marketers should prioritize transparency, accountability, and responsible data handling. Demonstrating ethical use of personal data and implementing privacy-enhancing technologies will help build and maintain consumer trust, leading to stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Evolving Data Security Measures

Data security will remain a top priority in the future. Marketers must continue to invest in robust security measures to protect personal data from evolving cyber threats. This may include adopting advanced encryption techniques, implementing multi-factor authentication, and conducting regular security audits and assessments.

Educating Consumers about Data Privacy

As data privacy becomes increasingly complex, educating consumers about their rights and the importance of data privacy will be crucial. Marketers can play a role in promoting consumer education by providing clear and accessible privacy notices, offering user-friendly privacy settings, and communicating privacy practices in a transparent and easily understandable manner.

By staying informed about emerging trends, proactively addressing privacy challenges, and embracing privacy as a fundamental value, marketers can navigate the future of data privacy in marketing and ensure continued compliance and trust in their relationships with consumers.

In today’s digital landscape, data privacy and compliance with data privacy regulations are of utmost importance for marketers. As technology evolves and consumer expectations change, marketers must stay informed about the ever-evolving landscape of data privacy. By understanding and adhering to key principles such as obtaining explicit consent, ensuring transparency, safeguarding data security, and managing data subject rights, marketers can build trust with individuals and maintain compliance with data privacy regulations.

While compliance may present challenges, adopting best practices and staying abreast of changing regulations are essential in navigating the complexities of data privacy in marketing activities. By embracing privacy by design, implementing robust security measures, and fostering a culture of privacy within the organization, marketers can not only ensure compliance but also enhance customer trust and loyalty.

Looking ahead, the future of data privacy in marketing will continue to evolve. Strengthened consumer privacy rights, emerging technologies, global data protection considerations, data ethics, and evolving data security measures will shape the landscape. Marketers must adapt to these changes, educate consumers about their privacy rights, and prioritize ethical data practices to build trust and maintain a competitive edge.

By embracing the principles of data privacy, staying informed, and proactively addressing privacy challenges, marketers can navigate the future with confidence and ensure that their marketing activities respect individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection.

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