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.


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”