UAE issues landmark personal data protection law
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New legislation on collection and processing of personal data will bring the United Arab Emirates in line with international practices.
In late November 2021, the UAE Cabinet Office announced Federal Decree-Law No. 45 of 2021 regarding personal data protection (Data Protection Law), the first comprehensive federal data privacy law in the UAE. This long-awaited legislation regulates the collection and processing of personal data in the UAE and is broadly in line with wider international practices in protecting the privacy of individuals and personal data. All businesses operating in the UAE, or businesses which are based outside the UAE but process personal data of data subjects located in the UAE, will need to assess their activities and update their policies, processes and procedures to comply with the Data Protection Law.
The Data Protection Law is set to take effect from 2 January 2022. The scope of obligations and penalties will be revealed in the executive regulations, which are expected to be issued within six months of the effective date. Controllers and processors will then have a period of six months from the date of such issuance to comply with the Data Protection Law. A single national data privacy regulator, the UAE Data Office, will be established under a separate statute to regulate the implementation of the Data Protection Law.