Workshop discussed data protection landscape in GCC

A man works next to servers specialised in cyber security during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille on January 23, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 06 June 2018
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Workshop discussed data protection landscape in GCC

  • The personal data could be any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier
  • GDPR will affect any company in any sector in the Middle East and the GCC countries that sell goods or provide services to any of the EU member states

RIYADH: Business organizations need to be aware of the risks of prosecution and violating the rules of GDPR, a new set of rules that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the EU, said Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the Center of Excellence in Information Assurance.
This could result in huge penalties of up to 4 percent of their global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater, Khan said. 
The personal data could be any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.
“The GDPR will not only affect companies within the EU, but it also has global scope, which would impact any company that offers goods or services to the EU residents or monitors their online behavior, for example, online shopping habits,” Khan pointed out.
In addition, GDPR will affect any company in any sector in the Middle East and the GCC countries that sell goods or provide services to any of the EU member states, or handles any of the data of its approximately half a billion inhabitants, Khan said, adding that these companies should have to develop a strategy and processes to abide by the new regulation as soon as possible.”
Khan represented the Kingdom at a workshop at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London entitled “Data Protection, Privacy and the GDPR: Is the GCC Ready?” in which he discussed the current data protection landscape in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Khan, who has returned from the London workshop, told Arab News on Monday: “The aim of this forum was to bring together business leaders, lawyers, academics, and policymakers from the GCC as well as from the UK and key international institutions to discuss the current data protection landscape in the Gulf, especially the newly implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“The GDPR, which has been enforced on May 25, 2018, focuses on keeping businesses more transparent and expanding the privacy rights of the people.”
He said that the increasing numbers of data and cyber breaches in the Gulf have intensified the discussions around data protection and privacy and have triggered several initiatives at the government, public and private sector levels.
New technology developments mean that there is both a greater supply and demand for data than ever before but, as recent events have shown, data can be harvested for political as well as commercial reasons.
With the adoption of the European Union’s GDPR, the GCC businesses have been working to put in place policies and measures to comply with the new requirements and to avoid the hefty fines due to non-compliance.
Khan added that the participants at the event discussed key topics on the GDPR, its core concepts and principles, implications and impact on GCC countries, the relationship with data protection authorities, enforcement and sanctions, data protection and privacy landscape, and the preparedness of the GCC countries for it.
“Data breaches could happen inevitably and personal data could be lost, stolen or otherwise released into the hands of malicious people for misuse, but with the newly mandated GDPR, organizations as well as those who collect, process, and manage data would be obliged to protect its misuse to respect the rights of data owners,” Khan said.


King Salman convenes summit of Gulf and Arab states

Updated 19 May 2019
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King Salman convenes summit of Gulf and Arab states

  • Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Islamic Summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has called for the convening of two summits of Gulf and Arab states to be held on May 30 in Makkah.

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the upcoming Islamic Summit.

According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement, King Salman has sent an invitation to the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and leaders of other Arab countries to two summits to discuss the recent attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the UAE and on Saudi Arabia's oil pipelines and their repercussions on the region. 

“The attack on ships in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the terrorist-backed Iran-backed Houthi militias’ attack on two oil pumping stations in the Kingdom have serious implications for regional and international peace and security and for the supply and stability of world oil markets,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.