Data protection in the Middle EastDigital Identity Dominates

 Having a digital identity for online browsing, transactions and interactions has become necessary to operate in this information age.  As more and more lifestyle and business services shift to the digital platform, there has been an explosive growth in personal data capture.  The “Big Data” phenomenon has the potential to transform, innovate and optimize entire industries, yet policy makers need to be able to strike the balance between productivity and privacy to protect personal data.

Protecting Personal Data

Whilst it is not widely recognized that countries in the Middle East have specific established laws applicable to data protection, privacy and data protection are regulated by other laws in the region.

In Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the constitutions, together with certain statutes, recognize individual rights to privacy in specific circumstances.  In addition, in Saudi Arabia, protection of personal data is provided through Shari’ah principles.

Latham & Watkins’ explains in an article, published by The Oath, the laws applicable to personal data protection which govern the processing, storage and transfer of data in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi.

Read the full Privacy Matters article here.

Key themes covered include:

  • Constitutional protection: Discover how confidentiality is protected by the constitution in each country.
  • Sector-specific laws:  From labour to telecommunications law, learn how the collection, use, retention and disclosure of personal data is governed by sector-specific law
  • Shari’ah principles protection: Learn how Shari’ah principles are relevant to disclosure of personal data in Saudi Arabia
  • Separate data protection regimes: Understand how data protection is regulated in Qatar’s and Dubai’s financial centers, where compliance mimics the approach taken in the European Data Protection directive
  • Combating cybercrime: Get familiar with the Federal Laws that exist to criminalize unauthorized access, amendment, interception, damage and use of certain types of data.
  • Unified data protection regime for the region: Will the region consider following a European Union style approach to data protection?

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