In this day and age, the world is undergoing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterised by digital transformation and propelled by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), robots, the Internet of Things (IoT), genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other fields. Unlike fossil fuels, which served as the fuel for the previous industrial revolution, data has emerged as the black gold of the new global economy.
Data is becoming more valuable, and the way we gather, store, analyse, and utilise it is becoming a more serious problem as the value of data becomes more generally recognised. Consumers are growing more concerned about how their data is handled, and any law that clarifies how data should be handled is a step forward from the murky area in which these issues are currently being handled.
The UAE government unveiled a new UAE Data Law last month, which was released by the Ministry of State for Digital Economy, Artificial Intelligence, and Remote Working Applications, which is led by His Highness Omar bin Sultan Al Olama.
The legislation, which is expected to be implemented in the following weeks, was released as part of the UAE government’s ‘Principles of 50,’ a collection of ten principles issued to commemorate the country’s 50th anniversary. The principles will serve as a strategic roadmap for the United Arab Emirates and will lead the country as it navigates the next 50 years of its development and growth.
A welcome move in the right direction for the government, as well as a significant step forward for individual organisations, customers, and the economy as a whole, the new Data Law is a wonderful step forward.
There was no federal legislation in the United Arab Emirates prior to the development of this new law that addressed the management and protection of personal information. A multitude of provisions in various laws and regulations issued by various bodies, including the governments of individual emirates, Free-Zone Authorities, regulatory bodies such as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority or the Health Authority in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, addressed data privacy concerns instead.
As a result, this new law expands on the current legislation to provide an overarching framework for data privacy and protection that applies to all sectors of the UAE economy. Among other things, it is the first federal law to be developed with the participation of the business sector, with input from prominent local and international technology firms, and it takes into account current data laws from significant markets all over the globe.
As part of a broader set of digital initiatives announced by the UAE government to prepare the nation for a future dominated by digital transformation, big data, and the smart economy, the project is being rolled out in phases.
According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the digital economy contributes 4.3 percent to the country’s overall economy, a figure that is expected to rise as a result of the government’s significant investments in the field, as well as the country’s growing reputation as a global business hub and regional leader in STEM fields, big tech, and smart technologies.
It is critical that the UAE passes a new data protection legislation as it looks to strengthen its position as a leader in the digital economy and as a contributor to the country’s growth. In the digital economy, all economic activities and government services that rely on the use of digital technology are included, such as e-commerce, cryptocurrencies, financial platforms, asset digitisation, communication networks, cryptocurrency products and programmes, and cloud computing technologies. Due to the UAE government’s implementation of its digital and smart economy plans, the quantity of data gathered will skyrocket, making data regulation all the more essential than ever.
So, how will this new legislation help the government, companies, and the general public? Let’s look at some examples.
In the first place, consolidating all of these disparate laws into a single Federal Law would simplify compliance for businesses across all sectors of the economy, making it simpler for them to do business anywhere in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE’s data laws will be brought into line with global best practises as a result, making it simpler for international corporations to do business inside the country. Due to the fact that they were created especially to minimise the burden on SMEs and other business organisations, the new Data Laws will also guarantee a low cost of compliance.
Second, the new law will protect individuals’ privacy while also assuring the general public that the information they share with businesses, such as personal information, transaction records, and employee profiles, will not be misused by third parties for fraudulent purposes, as was the case previously. Individuals and institutions will benefit from the new UAE Data Law, which is intended to safeguard their privacy while also giving them more choice over how their personal data is used, stored, and shared with others.
Business leaders must ask themselves if they are doing enough to safeguard the information they have gathered from harmful behaviour, and whether their data management and protection procedures are in compliance with new laws and regulations. Is access to the data, for example, limited to the relevant personnel via the use of a secure Privileged Access Management system?
This is where cybersecurity service providers would step in to handle all of these problems on their customers’ behalf, relieving them of the burden of having to deal with them on their own. We would make certain that the data management and protection procedures in place are not only compatible with UAE data protection regulations, but are also in accordance with international best practise.