Data Privacy Comes to Qatar



Data privacy affects the lives of anyone around the world that has ever shared their information online. It may even impact consumers who provided their information offline to companies, which eventually monetized that data. Even countries not know for robust human rights records are starting to offer and implement data privacy and cybersecurity laws. 

The Cabinet of Qatar, the small middle-east country’s executive body, announced in January 2016 that it approved a data privacy measure and sent it off to its legislature for final approval. Qatar’s Emir recently signed the measure. The data privacy law was first published Nov. 4, in Arabic, by pro-government news outlet Al Sharq.             

Under the law, companies that collect and store consumer personal data online can’t send spam messaged without consumer prior consent, according to a recent Doha News report, a Qatari news outlet started by U.S. journalists. Companies will have to ensure that data handlers are trained and that steps “are made to ‘protect the personal data from loss, damage, modification, disclosure or illegally accessed,’” the Doha News report said. The law also established a right to privacy for children, it said.

Other countries in the region have also floated data privacy laws. Saudi Arabia has a law pending before its legislature, as does Northern African countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, according to a report by Cynthia Rich, senior advisor at Morrison & Foerster LLP in Washington. 

As the internet reaches more homes across the world, countries will be pressed to adopt laws to protect their citizen’s data privacy. 

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