Tech companies shape UAE data law

Out-Law News | 15 Sep 2021 | 10:10 am | 1 min. read

A new data law is to be introduced in the UAE. 

There is currently little detail available about the data law, which has yet to be officially published, but both Khaleej Times and The National have reported that it was drafted in partnership with major technology companies.

In an interview with The National, Omar Sultan Al Olama, the minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital and remote work, confirmed that the data law contains both privacy protections and rights for data subjects, as well as scope for businesses to use personal data for commercial gain.

Al Olama described the data law as “a global law” and said that the cost of compliance would be low. According to The National, he said that businesses will be limited in what they can do with personal data under the new law, but will still be able to commercialise it to an extent provided they have appropriate consents in place.

Al Olama also confirmed that individuals whose personal data is being processed will have rights of access to their data and will also have a right to be forgotten under the new law.

"The law reflects our mindset of being a global country, a country that develops companies and scales them up," Al Olama said, according to The National’s report.

Dubai-based Seema Bono of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “The introduction of an onshore data protection law in the UAE has been long-anticipated. The new legislation is expected to bring the UAE closer in line with European data protection standards, which is likely to create an even more desirable investment environment in the UAE, particularly in the technology sector, which has seen huge growth in the region in recent years.”

Amelia Cave, also of Pinsent Masons in Dubai, said: “The announcement of a new data protection law is a very positive development for many businesses and investors in the UAE, particularly given that it has been developed in consultation with major technology companies. At this stage it is not known exactly who will fall within the scope of the new law but businesses performing data processing activities could get ahead of the game now, for example by reviewing and mapping their data processing functions and data related contractual provisions.”