ICO Fines “World’s Largest Facial Network”

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a Monetary Penalty Notice of £7,552,800 to Clearview AI Inc for breaches of the UK GDPR. 

Clearview is a US based company which describes itself as the “World’s Largest Facial Network”. It allows customers, including the police, to upload an image of a person to its app, which is then checked against all the images in the Clearview database. The app then provides a list of matching images with a link to the websites from where they came from. 

Clearview’s online database contains 20 billion images of people’s faces and data scraped from publicly available information on the internet and social media platforms all over the world. This service was used on a free trial basis by a number of UK law enforcement agencies. The trial was discontinued and the service is no longer being offered in the UK. However Clearview has customers in other countries, so the ICO ruled that is still processing the personal data of UK residents.

The ICO was of the view that, given the high number of UK internet and social media users, Clearview’s database is likely to include a substantial amount of data from UK residents, which has been gathered without their knowledge. It found the company had breached the UK GDPR by:

  • failing to use the information of people in the UK in a way that is fair and transparent, given that individuals are not made aware or would not reasonably expect their personal data to be used in this way;
  • failing to have a lawful reason for collecting people’s information;
  • failing to have a process in place to stop the data being retained indefinitely;
  • failing to meet the higher data protection standards required for biometric data (Special Category Data):
  • asking for additional personal information, including photos, when asked by members of the public if they are on their database. This may have acted as a disincentive to individuals who wish to object to their data being collected and used.

The ICO has also issued an enforcement notice ordering Clearview to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents that is publicly available on the internet, and to delete the data of UK residents from its systems.

The precise legal basis for the ICO’s fine will only be known when (hopefully not if) it decides to publish the Monetary Penalty Notice. The information we have so far suggests that it considered breaches of Article 5 (1st and 5th Principles – lawfulness, transparency and data retention) Article 9 (Special Category Data) and Article 14 (privacy notice) amongst others.  

Whilst substantially lower than the £17 million Notice of Intent, issued in November 2021, this fine shows that the new Information Commissioner, John Edwards, is willing to take on at least some of the big tech companies. 

The ICO enforcement action comes after a joint investigation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). The latter also ordered the company to stop processing citizens’ data and delete any information it held. France, Itlay and Canada have also sanctioned the company under the EU GDPR. 

So what next for Clearview? The ICO has very limited means to enforce a fine against foreign entities.  Clearview has no operations or offices in the UK so it could just refuse to pay. This may be problematic from a public relations perspective as many of Clearview’s customers are law enforcement agencies in Europe who may not be willing to associate themselves with a company that has been found to have breached EU privacy laws. 

When the Italian DP regulator fined Clearview €20m (£16.9m) earlier this year, it responded by saying it did not operate in any way that brought it under the jurisdiction of the EU GDPR. Could it argue the same in the UK, where it also has no operations, customers or headquarters? Students of our  UK GDPR Practitioner certificate course will know that the answer lies in Article 3(2) which is sets out the extra territorial effect of the UK GDPR:

This Regulation applies to the relevant processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the United Kingdom by a controller or processor not established in the United Kingdom where the processing activities are related to:

  1. the offering of goods or services, irrespective of whether a payment of the data subject is required, to such data subjects in the United Kingdom; or
  2. the monitoring of their behaviour as far as their behaviour takes place within the United Kingdom. [our emphasis]

Whilst clearly Clearview (no pun intended) is not established in the UK, the ICO is of the view it is covered by the UK GDPR due to Article 3(2). See the statement of the Commissioner, John Edwards:

“Clearview AI Inc has collected multiple images of people all over the world, including in the UK, from a variety of websites and social media platforms, creating a database with more than 20 billion images. The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behaviour and offers it as a commercial service. That is unacceptable. That is why we have acted to protect people in the UK by both fining the company and issuing an enforcement notice.”

If Clearview does appeal, we will hopefully receive judicial guidance about the territorial scope of the  UK GDPR.   

This and other GDPR developments will be discussed in detail on our forthcoming GDPR Update workshop. We also have a few places left on our Advanced Certificate in GDPR Practice course starting in July.

The Data Reform Bill: What changes can we expect to the UK GDPR?

Prince Charles has outlined the government’s priorities for the year ahead, as he delivered the Queen’s Speech. The speech highlighted some of the 38 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year. This includes a new Data Protection Reform Bill which is predicted to make sweeping changes to the UK GDPR. The draft bill will published this summer but you don’t have to look too far back for clues about its contents.

On 10th September 2021, the UK Government launched a consultation entitled “Data: A new direction” intended “to create an ambitious, pro-growth and innovation-friendly data protection regime that underpins the trustworthy use of data.” Cynics will say that it is an attempt to water down the UK GDPR just a few months after the UK received adequacy status from the European Union. 

Back in May, the Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Innovation, Growth, and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) published a 130-page report setting out a “new regulatory framework for the UK. Saying that the current data protection regime contained too many onerous compliance requirements, it suggested that the government: 

“Replace the UK GDPR with a new, more proportionate, UK Framework of Citizen Data Rights to give people greater control of their data while allowing data to flow more freely and drive growth across healthcare, public services and the digital economy.” 

Many of the recommendations made in the TIGRR Report can be found in the latest consultation document. The government believes the reforms will benefit the U.K. economy, but should the reforms go too far, they could risk the U.K.’s adequacy status with the EU.

So what can we expect in the Data Reform Bill? Page 57 of the press briefing accompany the Queen’s Speech sets out the main elements of the Bill are:

  • Ensuring that UK citizens’ personal data is protected to a gold standard while enabling public bodies to share data to improve the delivery of services.
  • Using data and reforming regulations to improve the everyday lives of people in the UK, for example, by enabling data to be shared more efficiently between public bodies, so that delivery of services can be improved for people.
  • Designing a more flexible, outcomes-focused approach to data protection that helps create a culture of data protection, rather than “tick box” exercises.

At the very least we can expect the Accountability requirements to be relaxed as has been trailed in the Consultation document. The Government wants to allow data controllers to implementing a more “flexible and risk-based accountability framework”, which is based on privacy management programmes, that reflects the volume and sensitivity of the personal information they handle, and the type(s) of data processing they carry out.  To support the implementation of the new accountability framework we think the government will, amongst other things, remove the requirement to:

  • Consult the ICO in relation to high-risk personal data processing that cannot be mitigated (Article 36)
  • The record keeping requirements under Article 30
  • The need to report a data breach where the risk to individuals is “not material”

Act Now will of course keep you informed about the proposed changes via this blog as well as our programme of GDPR workshops. Fasten your seatbelts!

Act Now Announces New EU GDPR Practitioner Certificate 

Act Now is pleased to announce the launch of its new EU GDPR Practitioner Certificate course.

This new course is specially designed for Data Protection Officers and privacy practitioners, based in the EU and internationally, whose role involves advising on the EU GDPR and associated privacy legislation. The content of the course has been developed after analysing all the knowledge, practical skills and competencies required for the EU DPO to successfully navigate the European data protection landscape. 

This course builds on Act Now’s very popular UK GDPR Practitioner certificate course which has been attended by hundreds of DPOs throughout the UK and abroad since its launch in 2017.  Our teaching style is based on practical and engaging workshops covering theory alongside hands-on application using case studies that equip delegates with knowledge and skills that can be used immediately. Personal tutor support throughout the course will ensure the best opportunity for success. Delegates will also receive a comprehensive set of course materials, including our very popular EU GDPR Handbook (RRP £34.99), as well as access to our online Resource Lab, which includes over 20 hours of videos on key aspects of the syllabus.

The EU GDPR Practitioner Certificate course takes place over four days (one day per week) and involves workshops, case studies and exercises. This is followed by a written assessment. Delegates are then required to complete a practical project (in their own time) to achieve the certificate. Whether delivered online or in the classroom, delegates will receive all the fantastic features of the course specifically tailored for each learning environment. 

The EU GDPR Practitioner Certificate course builds on Act Now’s track record for delivering innovative and high quality practical training for information governance professionals:

The course director for the EU GDPR Practitioner Certificate, Ibrahim Hasan, says:

“We have looked at every aspect of this course to ensure it equips EU Data Protection Officers with the knowledge and skills they need to implement the EU GDPR in a practical way. Because of its emphasis on practical skills, and the success of our UK GDPR Practitioner certificate course, we are confident that this course will become the qualification of choice for current and future EU Data Protection Officers.”

New Isle of Man GDPR Practitioner Certificate

Act Now is pleased to announce the launch of its new Isle of Man GDPR Practitioner Certificate course.

This new course is specially designed for Data Protection Officers and privacy practitioners, based in the Isle of Man and internationally, whose role involves advising on the GDPR as applies to the Isle of Man(the Applied GDPR) and associated privacy legislation. The content of the course has been developed after analysing all the knowledge, practical skills and competencies required for the DPO to successfully navigate the IoM data protection landscape. 

This course builds on Act Now’s very popular UK GDPR Practitioner certificate course which has been attended by hundreds of DPOs throughout the UK and abroad since its launch in 2017.  Our teaching style is based on practical and engaging workshops covering theory alongside hands-on application using case studies that equip delegates with knowledge and skills that can be used immediately. Personal tutor support throughout the course will ensure the best opportunity for success. Delegates will also receive a comprehensive set of course materials, including our very popular Isle of Man GDPR Handbook (RRP £54.95),as well as access to our online Resource Lab, which includes over 20 hours of videos on key aspects of the syllabus.

The Isle of Man GDPR Practitioner Certificate course takes place over four days (one day per week) and involves workshops, case studies and exercises. Delegates are then required to complete a practical project (in their own time) to achieve the certificate. Whether delivered online or in the classroom, delegates will receive all the fantastic features of the course specifically tailored for each learning environment. 

The Isle of Man GDPR Practitioner Certificate course builds on Act Now’s track record for delivering innovative and high quality practical training for information governance professionals:

The course director for the Isle of Man GDPR Practitioner Certificate course, Ibrahim Hasan, says:

“With its emphasis on practical skills we are confident that this course will become the qualification of choice for current and future IoM Data Protection Officers. We have looked at every aspect of this course to ensure it equips Isle of Man Data Protection Officers with the knowledge and skills they need to implement the Applied GDPR in a practical way.”

2022 IRMS Awards

Act Now Training is pleased to announce that it has been nominated for the 2022 Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) awards in all three categories. 

Each year the IRMS recognises excellence in the field of information management with their prestigious Industry Awards. These highly sought-after awards are presented at a glittering ceremony at the annual Conference following the Gala Dinner. In 2021 Act Now won the Supplier of the Year award. 

For 2022 Act Now has been nominated for the following awards. 

  • Team of the Year
  • Supplier of the Year
  • Innovation of the Year

All IRMS members are eligible to vote in the IRMS awards. The deadline is Monday 18th April 2022. Vote now for your favourite training company.

Three New GDPR Workshops from Act Now Training

Act Now Training is pleased to announce three new additions to our GDPR workshop series

Data ethics is increasingly relevant to the role of information professionals. Just because the processing of personal data is lawful does not make it fair or ‘ethical’. And indeed, where something is fair it does not always mean it is lawful. Whilst the UK GDPR gives us some structure for working out what is a fair and proportionate use of personal data (and thus ethical), there can be a wide range of issues outside of the law to consider.  

Our Data Ethics workshop will explore what the term ‘Data Ethics’ actually means, the role it plays in the use of personal data (and indeed other data) and what practical steps information professionals can take to embed and promote data ethics within their organisations. From how to consider data ethics in DPIAs and sharing requests, through to embedding a practical data ethics framework in your organisation, we will pose questions, share experiences and best practice and where to find further guidance and support. 

A subject which has many ethical considerations is the use of Artificial Intelligence (also known as AI) and Machine Learning. AI is not coming; it is here. Whether ordering a taxi or submitting your tax return, AI is operating in the background. AI and Machine Learning have the capacity to improve our lives but, like all technologies, they have the potential to ruin lives too.  

Our new workshop, How to implement Good Information Governance into Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Projects, will explore exactly what ‘AI’ and ‘Machine Learning’ are and how they are starting to appear in the working environment. We will also explore the common challenges that these present focussing on GDPR as well as other information governance and records management issues.  Delegates will leave the workshop with practical ideas for how to approach Machine Learning and AI as well as awareness of key resources, current best practice and how they can keep up to date about a fast-developing area of technology. Think that AI is something for future generations to deal with? This workshop will make you think again!

The concepts of controller, joint controller and processor play a crucial role in the application of GDPR. They determine who is responsible for compliance with different data protection rules and how data subjects can exercise their rights in practice.  The precise meaning of these concepts and the criterion for their correct interpretation is the subject of much confusion. Incorrect interpretation can lead to the wrong allocation of data protection responsibilities leading to disputes when things go wrong. 

Our new workshop, Data Controller, Processor or Joint Controller: What am I?, will help both controllers and processors to understand their responsibilities and liabilities under GDPR and how to structure their relationships. This interactive workshop will explain the key differences between data controllers, joint controllers and data processors and what the roles and responsibilities are for each. By the end of this workshop, delegates will gain the confidence to decide on what an organisation’s role is under GDPR and how to manage the different relationships.

At Act Now we are always keen to hear from information governance professionals. If you have ideas for new workshops, or are interested in running one, please get in touch.

Law Firm Fined For GDPR Breach: What Went Wrong? 

On 10th March the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced that it had fined Tuckers Solicitors LLP £98,000 for a breach of GDPR.

The fine follows a ransomware attack on the firm’s IT systems in August 2020. The attacker had encrypted 972,191 files, of which 24,712 related to court bundles.  60 of those were exfiltrated by the attacker and released on the dark web.  Some of the files included Special Category Data. Clearly this was a personal data breach, not just for the fact that data was released on the dark web, but because of the unavailability of personal data (though encryption by the attacker) which is also cover by the definition in Article 4 GDPR. Tuckers reported the breach to the ICO as well as affected individuals through various means including social media

The ICO found that between 25th May 2018 (the date the GDPR came into force) and 25th August 2020 (the date on which the Tuckers reported the personal data breach), Tuckers had contravened Article 5(1)(f) of the GDPR (the sixth Data Protection Principle, Security) as it failed to process personal data in a manner that ensured appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures. The ICO found its starting point for calculating the breach to be 3.25 per cent of Tuckers’ turnover for 30 June 2020. It could have been worse; the maximum for a breach of the Data Protection Principles is 4% of gross annual turnover.

In reaching its conclusions, the Commissioner gave consideration to Article 32 GDPR, which requires a Data Controller, when implementing appropriate security measures, to consider:

 “…the state of the art, the costs of implementation and the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing as well as the risk of varying likelihood and severity for the rights and freedoms of natural persons”.

What does “state of the art” mean? In this case the ICO considered, in the context of “state of the art”, relevant industry standards of good practice including the ISO27000 series, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), the various guidance from the ICO itself, the National Cyber Security Centre (“NCSC”), the Solicitors Regulatory
Authority, Lexcel and NCSC Cyber Essentials.

The ICO concluded that there are a number of areas in which Tuckers had failed to comply with, and to demonstrate that it complied, with the Security Principle. Their technical and organisational measures were, over the relevant period, inadequate in the following respects:

Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (“MFA”)

MFA is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to an online resource. Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors, which decreases the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack e.g. a code from a fob or text message. Tuckers had not used MFA on its remote access solution despite its own GDPR policy requiring it to be used where available. 

Patch Management 

Tuckers told the ICO that part of the reason for the attack was the late application of a software patch to fix a vulnerability. In January 2020 this patch was rated as “critical” by the NCSC and others. However Tuckers only installed it 4 months later. 

Failure to Encrypt Personal data

The personal data stored on the archive server, that was subject to this attack, had not been encrypted. The ICO accepted that encryption may not have prevented the ransomware attack. However, it would have mitigated some of the risks the attack posed to the affected data subjects especially given the sensitive nature of the data.

Action Points 

Ransomware is on the rise. Organisations need to strengthen their defences and have plans in place; not just to prevent a cyber-attack but what to do when it does takes place:

  1. Conduct a cyber security risk assessment and consider an external accreditation through Cyber Essentials. The ICO noted that in October 2019, Tuckers was assessed against the Cyber Essentials criteria and found to have failed to meet crucial aspects. The fact that some 10 months later it had still not resolved this issue was, in the Commissioner’s view, sufficient to constitute a negligent approach to data security obligations.
  2. Making sure everyone in your organisation knows the risks of malware/ransomware and follows good security practice. Our GDPR Essentials e learning solution contains a module on keeping data safe.
  3. Have plans in place for a cyber security breach. See our Managing Personal Data Breaches workshop

More useful advice in the ICO’s guidance note on ransomeware and DP compliance.

This and other GDPR developments will be discussed in detail on our forthcoming GDPR Update workshop. We also have a few places left on our Advanced Certificate in GDPR Practice course starting in April.

advanced_cert

The New Isle of Man GDPR Handbook

Act Now Training is pleased to announce the launch of the new Isle of Man GDPR Handbook. The handbook is designed for data protection practitioners and legal advisers who require a reference guide to the Isle of Man Data Protection regime. It has been published following the success of the Act Now UK GDPR and EU GDPR handbooks.

The IoM GDPR handbook sets out the full text of the EU GDPR as it applies to the Isle of the Man (Applied GDPR) together with cross referenced recitals. Isle of Man specific amendments, insertions and deletions are clearly indicated to allow users to easily identify what has been changed from the original EU text. Relevant provisions of the Implementing Regulations have been included where they contribute to the further understanding of the Applied GDPR. Guidance from the Isle of Man Information Commissioner and the European Data Protection Board is also signposted to assist users when interpreting the legislation. 

Ibrahim Hasan, the editor of the IoM GDPR Handbook, said:

“I am really pleased with the publication of the Isle of Man GDPR Handbook. We wanted to fulfil the need of data protection practitioners in the Ise of Man to have access to a clear and easy to follow publication to help them navigate their way around this complex legislation.”

Isle of Man delegates who book our new IoM GDPR Practitioner Certificate course will receive a complimentary copy of this handbook as part of their course materials. 

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT

The RRP of the Isle of Man GDPR handbook is £54.99 (plus postage and packing). There is an early bird discount of 15% off the RRP until 3pm on 17th March 2022. Please quote the discount code “IoM15” when placing your order here. 

Act Now in Dubai 

Last week the Act Now team returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates to promote our Middle East training programme. It was a great opportunity to better understand the UAE privacy framework and the needs of businesses faced with the challenge of implementing new laws (as well as get some sun!) 

The Middle East is fast catching up with Europe when it comes to data protection law.
The UAE recently enacted a federal law to comprehensively regulate the processing of personal data in all seven emirates. This will sit alongside current data protection laws regulating businesses in the various financial districts such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Data Protection Law No. 5 of 2020 and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Data Protection Regulations 2021. In addition there are a number of sector specific laws in the UAE which address personal privacy and data security.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar also now have comprehensive data protection laws. 

Whilst in Dubai we met with a number of potential clients, consultancies and law firms specialising in data protection. It was a great opportunity to discuss the changing privacy landscape and how Act Now can assist in developing the understanding of the legislation and its practical implementation. We had some interesting discussions about the changing privacy attitudes around the world, the power of Big Tech and increasing use of AI. 

We also had meetings with data protection regulators in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We were impressed by their commitment to educating businesses about the new laws and their practical advice to reduce the burden of implementation. They emphasised the importance of embedding a privacy culture in organisations and an understanding of the UAE laws as standalone privacy laws and not just “importing of GDPR”. A special thank you to Lori Baker at the DIFC and Sayid Madar at the ADGM for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet us.  

During our last trip to Dubai in 2018 there was very little awareness of data protection law amongst businesses and compliance seemed to be geared around GDPR. This time on our travels (and shopping trips) we certainly noticed a more serious attitude amongst larger businesses to try and get data protection right. We saw  privacy notices in most official forms, CCTV signs in malls and even a privacy notice recording when ringing our hotel.  

The introduction and/or revision of privacy law in the Middle East is an important development which further proves that data protection is a truly global issue.
Many organisations may need to appoint a Data Protection Officer as part of the new legal framework. Even where they do not need a DPO they will certainly need someone to drive forward compliance and liaise with regulators. This opens up opportunities for UK and EU Data Protection professionals especially as the new laws have some alignment with  the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)  and the  UK GDPR
 

These are exciting times for data protection professionals. For those seeking a fresh new challenge and the opportunity to spread the data protection message to new jurisdictions, now is the time to brush up on Middle East data protection laws. See photos of our trip below. Sun, sea and subject access awaits! 

The New UAE Federal Data Protection Law

The United Arab Emirates has enacted its first comprehensive national data protection law to regulate the collection and processing of personal data. Federal Decree Law No. 45 of 2021 regarding the Protection of Personal Data (PDPL) was published by the Cabinet Office on 27th November 2021 as part of a legal reform programme in advance of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee. The detailed Executive Regulations are expected to be published on 20th  March 2022 with the new law becoming fully enforceable six months later.

The UAE is no stranger to data protection laws. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Data Protection Law No. 5 of 2020 became enforceable in October 2020. However, it only applies companies under the jurisdiction of the DIFC as well as those processing personal data on their behalf.  In February 2021, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) enacted its new Data Protection Regulations 2021 with the same limited applicability.  There are also a number of other sector specific laws in the UAE which address personal privacy and data security. 

Applicability

PDPL applies to all organisations that are processing personal data in the UAE irrespective of whether the data relates to Data Subjects living in the UAE. It also has an “extra-territorial” reach by applying to organisations based abroad who are processing personal data of Data Subjects resident in the UAE. PDPL does not apply to government data, government authorities that control or process personal data and personal data held by security and judicial authorities. Health data, credit data and banking data are also excluded as they are protected by other laws.

Key Provisions

PDPL is closely aligned with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK GDPR. It mirrors their underlying principles of transparency and accountability and, like them, empowers Data Subjects by giving them rights in relation to their personal data. We set out below the notable provisions. We have included links to previous GDPR blog posts useful for readers wanting more detail:

  • Lawful Bases – Article 4 states that personal data can only be processed with the consent of the Data Subject. Exceptions include, amongst others, if the processing is: necessary to execute a contract to which the Data Subject is a party; required to protect interests of the public; relates to data already in the public domain; necessary to comply with other laws. Interestingly, PDPL does not include “legitimate interests” as a lawful basis for processing, as is found in GDPR.
  • Consent – Where consent is used as the lawful basis for processing personal data, it should be obtained from Data Subjects in a specific, clear and unambiguous form and should be freely given through a clear affirmative statement or action (Article 6). Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Rights – Data Subjects are granted various rights in Articles 14-18 of the PDPL which will be familiar to GDPR practitioners. These include  Subject AccessData Portability, rectification or erasure of personal data, restriction on processing, objection to automated decision making and the right to stop processing.
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments – Article 21 requires, what GDPR Practitioners call, “DPIAs” to be undertaken in relation to any new high risk data processing operations. This will involve assessing the impact of the processing on the risks to the rights of Data Subjects, especially their privacy and confidentiality.
  • Breach Notification – Article 9 requires organisations to notify the regulator, as well as a Data Subjects, if they suffer a personal data breach which compromises Data Subjects’ confidentiality, security or privacy. The timeframe for notifying will be set by the Executive Regulations.
  • Data Processors – PDPL imposes direct compliance obligations on Data Processors in Article 8 and obligations on Data Controllers when engaging them, similar to Article 28 of GDPR e.g. contracts.
  • Records Management – Organisations will have to demonstrate compliance with PDPL by keeping records. There is a specific requirement in Article 7 to “keep a register of Personal Data” similar to a Record of Processing Activities(ROPA) under GDPR.
  • International Transfers – Article 22  imposes limitations on the international transfer of personal data outside of the UAE.  Similar to the concept of the “adequacy” under the GDPR, the regulator is expected to approve certain countries as having “sufficient provisions, measures, controls, requirements and rules” for protecting privacy and confidentiality of personal data. Article 23 sets out exceptions although further details will be set out in the Executive Regulations.
  • Data Protection Officers – Organisations (both controllers and processors) will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) in certain circumstances, set out in Article 10, including where the processing creates a high-level risk due to the use of new technology or the volume of the personal data; processing includes an assessment of sensitive personal data as part of profiling or automated processing; or where large volumes of sensitive personal data are processed. The DPO can be an employee or an independent service provider and does not need to be located in the UAE. Articles 11 set out the responsibilities of the DPO and it is interesting to note that, just like under the GDPR, the PDPL gives the role protected status i.e. they cannot be dismissed for doing their job.

Enforcement 

PDPL will be enforced by the UAE’s Data Office. The Executive Regulations will set out the administrate penalties that can be imposed on organisations for breaches. They could mirror current laws, such as the DIFC DP Law, where the maximum fine for a breach is $100,000. Organisations may also be required to pay compensation directly to Data Subjects or be sued by them. Alongside other sanctions, GDPR allows the regulator to impose a fine of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of gross annual turnover, whichever is higher. It will be interesting to see if PDPL follows GDPR.

Practical Steps

PDPL is likely to become fully enforceable by the end of September 2022. Organisations operating in the UAE need to assess the impact on their data processing activities. Systems and processes need to be put in place to ensure compliance. Failure to do so will not just lead to enforcement action but also reputational damage. The following should be part of an action plan for compliance:

  • Training staff at all levels to understand PDPL at how it will impact on their role.
  • Carrying out a data audit to understand what personal data is held, where it sits and how it is processed.
  • Reviewing how records management and information risk  is addressed within the organisation.
  • Reviewing information security policies and procedures in the light of the new more stringent security obligations particularly breach notification.
  • Draft policies and procedures to deal with Data Subjects’ rights particularly requests for subject access, rectification and erasure.
  • Appointing and training a  Data Protection Officer.

Act Now Training can help your organisation prepare for PDPL by training your staff and the all-important Data Protection Officer. We have delivered training to UAE businesses using our UAE specific training courses.  This includes our very popular DPO Certificate course customised for the UAE. We can also deliver customised in house training both online and face to face. 

Please get in touch to discuss you training needs. We are in Dubai from 16th to 21st January 2022 and would be happy to arrange a meeting.

%d bloggers like this: