Middle Eastern countries are increasingly passing privacy laws. Synthesizer can help.
With rapid technological growth sweeping across the region, Middle Eastern countries are increasingly enacting new privacy laws to protect consumer data.
Failure to understand and adhere to these laws can put organizations operating in this geography in jeopardy of legal action, major fines, and reputational damage. CIOs and data strategists must stay up to speed on these regulations, as well as deploy the right data privacy tools to ensure compliance.
Which Middle Eastern countries have enacted legislation?
Qatar – In 2016, the “Personal Data Privacy Protection” law (also referred to as law No. 13 of 2016) was passed in Qatar. The legislation ensured the privacy of individuals’ personal data. Any organization that stores sensitive information must adhere to No. 13’s standards of transparency. The law officially went into effect in 2017. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in large penalties (QAR 1 million to QAR 5 million) and legal action from regulators.
Bahrain – Qatar may have been the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to enact data privacy law, but fellow GCC member Bahrain passed similar legislation not long after. Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL or Bahrain Law No. 30 of 2018) emulates key components of the European Union’s data privacy laws. Organizations that possess personal information are required to use and store data responsibly. The law officially went into effect in 2019. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in jail time of up to 1 year.
Egypt – Following their Middle Eastern counterparts, Egypt published a Personal Data Protection Law in July 2020. The law outlines a need to collect data only when necessary. Additionally, organizations must ensure that the data they collect is not retained for inordinate periods of time. The law officially went into effect in October 2020. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in a fine of up to EGP 5 million or a prison sentence of over six months.
Saudi Arabia – To protect and provide guidelines for processing personal data within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the KSA Personal Data Protection Law was enacted in September 2021. The law applies to all organizations which operate or do business within KSA. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in a fine up to SAR 5 million and jail time of up to two years.
UAE – In 2021, The United Arab Emirates issued Federal Law No. 45 of 2021 (the UAE Data Protection Law) in January 2022. Similar to some of the laws above, this set stricter standards for data privacy and protection and further increased awareness around the importance of data privacy compliance. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in a fine up to AED 500k to AED 3 million and a minimum of five years in prison.
Oman – The Sultanate of Oman issued the Personal Data Protection Law in February 2022. This set stricter standards for data privacy and protection. The law went into effect in February 2023. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in a fine up to OMR 500k and up to one year in prison.
Does EU legislation also impact organizations in the Middle East?
The passing of GDPR was a landmark event in data privacy law. Organizations operating in Europe are now subject to strict requirements around personal data usage.
Middle Eastern companies with any EU customers must normally meet GDPR guidelines. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in a fine up to €20 million or 4% of the firm’s worldwide annual revenue from the previous year, whichever amount is greater.
How can your organization ensure it meets Middle Eastern data privacy requirements?
You need to access the statistical value of your data without the compliance risk that accompanies it. That’s where synthetic data comes in. Synthetic data is completely new data created from your original data using generative AI. You retain the statistical properties of your original dataset and ditch the privacy and governance risk.
But, is all synthetic data the same? No – not even close. Most synthetic data is generated using black-box AI. Black-box AI does not provide attribution between your original data and new synthetic dataset, meaning that it lacks transparency and fails to meet the highest standards of privacy.
Howso Synthesizer is not black box. Synthesizer is the only synthetic data tool built on Howso Engine, AI built for human control and understanding. With Howso, you can audit, edit, and verify your synthetic data. That means you can have the utmost confidence that your data is being handled responsibly with best-in-class privacy standards.