The purpose of this FAQ is to set out for customers of the Brandwatch group of companies, including Crimson Hexagon, Buzzsumo, and qriously (“Brandwatch Group”), how the Brandwatch Group approaches data privacy compliance. If you have any questions that are not answered by this FAQ, please get in touch with your sales representative or customer success manager.
The GDPR applies to the processing of personal data. Personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. The Brandwatch Group offers a variety of services, each of which require a different analysis under the GDPR.
Brandwatch Consumer Research, HelioSight, ForSight, Analytics/Images, Audiences, and BuzzSumo (“Analytics Services”)
Analytics Services are personal data agnostic. These Analytics Services are based on analyzing large sets of unstructured text data/images. This means that, while processing personal data is not the core point of the Analytics Services, it is likely that there is personal data in data that forms part of the Analytics Services. For example, some users on Twitter verify their account. Where a user’s account is verified, that user’s username and accompanying Tweets are personal data. Because of the difficulty in analyzing on a post-by-post basis whether information is personal data, the Brandwatch Group chooses to treat its entire database for its Analytics Services as if it contains all personal data.
For Vizia, the GDPR applies where the data within Vizia is personal data.
qriously collects personal data from survey participants when asking users to take part in the survey and when delivering the survey. When inviting users to take part in surveys, qriously may collect information about a user’s device and location. We may also assign a mobile advertising identifier. We use this information to ensure users are not served the same survey multiple times and to honor opt-out and consent requirements.
In all cases, any personal data that we collect is strictly for internal use only and is never passed to customers.
Content Upload APIs
The Brandwatch Group allows customers to use APIs to upload the customers’ own data for analysis. Where the data that a customer uploads has personal data in it, the GDPR applies.
The Brandwatch Group acts as a data controller and/or a data processor, depending on the services that it provides:
For its Analytics Services, the Brandwatch Group makes decisions about which websites it crawls, what data it collects, and how and why this data is used in connection with its services. This decision is based on the fact that these services and any related processing are not specific to any particular customer and could not therefore be said to be only “on the instructions” of any such customer. Therefore, for the Analytics Services that contain personal data, Brandwatch is a data controller under the GDPR.
Historically, Vizia only displayed data from the Analytics Services. Where only data from the Analytics Services is displayed, the Brandwatch Group is still a data controller. This is because the data that Vizia is processing is the Brandwatch Group’s own data source (for which the Brandwatch Group is a data controller). However, the Brandwatch Group has expanded Vizia to allow customers to build their own software applications to sit on top of Vizia, as well as to allow customers to visualize and distribute reports that contain non-Brandwatch Group data. Where a customer displays their own data sources in Vizia and that data contains personal data, the Brandwatch Group is a data processor and the customer is a data controller of that personal data. This is because the Brandwatch Group is only processing this personal data on the customer’s behalf (i.e. to display and visualise the customer’s data and to distribute reports throughout the customer’s organisation).
The Brandwatch Group is a data controller of the personal data collected as part of distributing the survey. The Brandwatch Group is a controller because it decides how best to collect consent, how to respect opt-outs, and how to organize this personal data.
Content Upload APIs
When customers upload their own data via the Brandwatch Group’s APIs, the Brandwatch Group is a data processor. This is because the Brandwatch Group is only processing this personal data on the customer’s behalf (i.e. to allow the customer to use Brandwatch’s technology to analyse the customer’s own data).
For the Analytics Services, Brandwatch’s customers are also data controllers in respect of the personal data which customers process through the use of the Analytics Services. The reason is that, under the GDPR, a person must be a data processor or a data controller when personal data is involved. A data processor processes personal data on behalf of the data controller. Since Brandwatch’s customers do not process personal data on Brandwatch’s behalf, Brandwatch’s customers must be data controllers under the GDPR for the Analytics Services.
The primary legal basis on which the Brandwatch Group processes personal data when performing the Analytics Services is the legitimate interests of the data controller. This legal basis requires a balancing of the legitimate interests of the data controller with the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data. The data that the Brandwatch Group processes from the Analytics Services is all publicly available – and made available – by the particular social media author him or herself. The Brandwatch Group therefore believes that the interests, fundamental rights, and freedoms of data subjects are not prejudiced or overridden in the context of its processing of social media data that is (1) publicly available and (2) can be made private at any time by the social media author him or herself. The social media authors have significant levels of control over the availability of their personal data on the underlying websites, including (e.g.) setting their Twitter account to private.
Where personal data is stored depends on the services that the Brandwatch Group provides.
For Brandwatch Consumer Research, personal data (including any personal data that the customer uploads using our Content Upload API) is hosted by a third party cloud provider in the USA as well as colocation providers in the UK.
For Brandwatch Analytics, the personal data is stored on servers that the Brandwatch Group owns and manages, hosted with colocation providers in the UK. The Analytics’s Image Analysis service is hosted both within the Analytics database and by a third party provider in Ireland.
The Audiences and BuzzSumo services are hosted by third party cloud providers, in Ireland and Canada respectively.
The HelioSight and ForSight services are hosted by third party cloud providers in the USA, including any personal data that the customer uploads using the ForSight Content Upload API.
The personal data in Vizia is hosted by a third party cloud provider in the UK.
There is no personal data made available to customers through qriously. For the personal data that the Brandwatch Group uses internally to manage opt-outs and consents of survey respondents, the servers are hosted by a third party provider in the USA and UK.
As set out above, the BuzzSumo servers are in Canada and the Brandwatch Consumer Research, HelioSight, and ForSight servers are (at least partly) in the USA. Besides that, none of the Brandwatch Group’s services currently export any personal data outside of the European Economic Area. However, via the API or the export functionality of Brandwatch Consumer Research, Analytics, Audiences, HelioSight, and ForSight, customers can technically export data from the Brandwatch Group’s servers to whatever country the customer is located in.
Yes. The Brandwatch Group has ISO27001 and SOC2 Type 1 certifications that cover the hosting, development and support for some of its applications and data. The information security management systems and servers that host the personal data within Analytics and Vizia are covered by an ISO27001 certification that is audited annually. The processes, policies, and infrastructure that support ForSight, HelioSight, and related APIs have been reviewed as part of a SOC2 Type 1 certification. The Brandwatch Group has technical and organisational measures in place to protect against the unauthorised or unlawful processing of data and against accidental loss, destruction or damage of that data. Where the Brandwatch Group uses third party cloud providers, those providers are industry-leading, including AWS and Google Cloud. In addition, the Brandwatch Group applies its own security policies and processes to the management and provision of any third party systems and services. Customers can find further information about the Brandwatch Group’s information security standards at https://www.brandwatch.com/legal/information-security/.
The Brandwatch Group has a data protection officer responsible for privacy globally across all group companies. The Brandwatch Group has also distributed privacy compliance throughout the company, appointing privacy champions on its engineering, product, and people teams. These individuals are tasked with incorporating data protection by design and by default when developing services for the Brandwatch Group. The Brandwatch Group also implements Privacy Impact Assessments, where required, in accordance with the GDPR.
When the CJEU struck down the validity of the Privacy Shield (the Schrems II ruling) in July of 2020, many companies became concerned about data transfers between the EU and the US. However, for Brandwatch, not much has changed. We have never relied on Privacy Shield as our legal transfer mechanism. Instead, we have always incorporated Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) into our contracts. SCCs or “model clauses” have been determined by the European Commission as a sufficient safeguard for cross-border transfers of personal data. The Schrems II ruling has also called into question the strength of SCCs and while they are still legal, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has given some initial guidance recommending that organisations undertake a risk assessment to determine if any supplemental measures need to be put in place to further protect transfers that rely on SCCs. Whilst we are awaiting further, and more detailed, guidance from the EDPB, Brandwatch has already conducted an initial assessment on our use of SCCs and has determined that no additional supplemental measures are necessary at this stage. This is because we already work to identify ways in which we can anonymize, pseudonymize, and minimize data that we collect and process. We feel prepared to support our customers during this transition away from Privacy Shield.
Fortunately, not much is slated to change in terms of data privacy when Brexit is finalized at the end of 2020. This is primarily due to the UK’s adoption of their own version of the GDPR, which will ensure that they still align with the EU on data privacy matters. The one unknown at this point is whether or not the EU will make an adequacy decision about the UK to allow for the continued transfer of data to the UK from EEA countries without additional legal transfer mechanisms. Once that decision is made, Brandwatch will update DPAs and other contracts as necessary.
Yes, the Brandwatch Group is compliant with the CCPA. The Brandwatch Group is headquartered in England and has centralized its global privacy compliance with the GDPR. Given that the GDPR is a more comprehensive privacy framework than the CCPA, the Brandwatch Group is already compliant with much of the CCPA by nature of its GDPR compliance. Furthermore, any new requirements of the CCPA will not directly impact the Brandwatch Group’s customers’ use of the services. For ease of review, this FAQ has maintained the terminology for GDPR. However, for clarity, whenever you see a reference in these FAQs to “Data Controller”, that is equivalent to “Business” under CCPA; and whenever you see a reference to “Data Processor”, that is equivalent to “Service Provider” under CCPA.
Brandwatch does not have a direct relationship with the authors of the public online content that makes up our database. As such, the CCPA requires that CA consumers be given notice that we sell their personal information. We provide this notice directly to CA consumers via our Author Privacy Statement on our website. We have also registered as a data broker with the California State Attorney General’s office. All of our contact information and relevant details are available in that listing.