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Understanding UAEs new Data Law

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The world has progressed leaps and bounds over the last few decades when it comes to technology and online presence. In today’s world we cannot believe a life without the internet and the connectivity with the whole world that it provides. Especially in the COVID-19 pandemic situation that we had been coping with for the better part of the last two years, digital presence has become even more crucial. Working from home, shopping, connecting with family for people who are far from home and several such feats had been possible only because we are online.

But the online presence also has a huge number of issues. Most problematic of them all is the issue of hackers- people who use their skill to gather one’s personal details and use them to loot one. In today’s world even if you try to read a news article online, you would have to agree to their Privacy statements. This means that they use ‘Cookies’ i.e. they store some of your personal data for future use (to show articles pertaining to your previous searches, etc.). But most people are not comfortable sharing their details or getting unwanted emails flooding their mailbox because they once read a simple article and because they agreed to the ‘Privacy statement’ without reading it (most people don’t). We get news of frauds or scams committed by third parties using such personal profiles, details and transactions nearly on a daily basis. Hence, using, storing and sharing one’s personal details is a big issue and many government and human rights have started thinking more on data protection. Thus ‘Cyber-security’ in a country is of utmost importance.

UAE had decided to tighten their Cyber-security and as a part of “Projects of 50” (50 projects and initiatives that form the roadmap for next 50 years) have launched a new Data Law, one of many digital initiatives. It is part of UAE’s Centennial 2071 plan.

The draft of the new Data Law that is the first of its kind has been created in partnership with various major technological companies. This is done after taking into consideration ‘every single data law on the planet’ as per Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications. The law is slated to be deployed and decreed soon.

Purpose of UAE’s new Data Law:

  1. Will be helpful for individuals and institutions (business or educational).
  2. Will allow individuals to control how their personal details is used, stored and shared.
  3. Will guarantee privacy of individuals
  4. Will guarantee that the private sector has the ability to develop, expand and flourish without fear for security.
  5. Will give right to choose to be forgotten, to be informed and the right of correction and access to information.
  6. Will limit usage of personal data for profit by entities.
  7. Will ensure that local constrains do not hinder the operation and growth of international companies in UAE.
  8. Will ensure impeccable and easy data transfer across borders.

The new law would cause no added pressure on SMEs or other new or existing commercial companies as the cost of compliance would be very low. The law is to be seen as a ‘Global Law’ and not just a ‘UAE Law’ helping global companies.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications said, “With this law, international companies can call the UAE their home.”

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