GDPR Compliance in the UAE


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In simple terms, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance refers to the process through which companies ensure that their data processing activities align with the requirements outlined in the GDPR. Enacted by the European Union (EU), the GDPR is a data protection law that is designed to protect the personal data of individuals within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The UAE too has its data protection laws and regulations, beginning with 2012’s Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes, which includes provisions related to the protection of personal data. In 2019, the UAE issued Federal Decree-Law No. 16 of 2019 on the Protection of Personal Data, aiming to regulate the processing of personal data in the region.

What does the law mandate?

Under this set of laws, organizations in the UAE must confidentially protect personal data. The same laws also detail the penalties for violations which may include fines and imprisonment. 

It is important to note that if you are a company based in the UAE that deals with the personal data of persons in the EU or EEA, you may have to comply with GDPR requirements if such activities fall within the same scope. 

How to ensure compliance? 

To remain compliant with UAE data protection laws and the GDPR, your organization that operates in the UAE and deals with EU personal data will have to implement the below measures: 

  • Understanding the requirements of both the UAE data protection laws and the GDPR.
  • Implementing appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data.
  • Obtaining consent from individuals for the processing of their data, where required.
  • Providing individuals with information about how their data is being processed.
  • Ensuring that personal data is transferred securely, especially if it’s being transferred outside the UAE or the EEA.
  • Appointing a data protection officer, if required by the GDPR.

It is best if your organization seeks legal advice to ensure that you and your representatives fully understand the obligations. This is where SetHub’s legal experts can assist you. Set up a call now to develop a comprehensive compliance strategy that addresses both UAE data protection laws and the GDPR, if it applies to your operations.