ADGM adopts new data protection regulations

Under the new framework, the free zone will establish an independent office of data protection

ADGM's new data rules were implemented after rounds of “public consultation”. Alamy

Abu Dhabi Global Market has enacted a new set of regulations to ensure the safety of personal and confidential data.

The Data Protection Regulations 2021, which have replaced existing rules drawn up in 2015 are intended to be "business friendly".

They were implemented after a public consultation exercise received positive feedback, ADGM said in a statement on Sunday.

“ADGM is extremely pleased to introduce such a world-class data protection framework that protects personal data, while also remaining balanced and business-friendly,” Dhaher Al Mheiri, chief executive of the ADGM registration authority, said.

“These new regulations position the ADGM as a regional leader in data protection.”

To draft the new rules, ADGM benchmarked global standards and best practices. It found the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (which came into effect in May 2018) provided the leading international standard and best practice for robust data protection legislation.

Under the new framework, ADGM will establish an independent office of data protection that will be headed by Sami Mohammed. Mr Mohammed, who has over 18 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors in the UAE, has been appointed as ADGM's commissioner of data protection for an initial term of four years.

“Through applying the new regulations, entities can be assured of the highest standards of data protection, in line with international best practice,” Mr Mohammed said.

“On behalf of the team … I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure personal data is processed in accordance with the regulations,” he added.

Starting from Sunday, ADGM has proposed a transition period of 12 months for current entities and six months for new companies to adhere to new data regulations.