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UAE Data Protection Law: Latest Changes

Explore the latest changes in UAE’s Data Protection Law and their impact on data privacy and compliance. Stay informed about the evolving legal landscape.

UAE Data Protection Law: Recent Amendments

Regulations safeguarding data have become crucial in today's digital era, where personal information is extensively collected and processed. Recognising this, the United Arab Emirates has enacted the Federal Decree-Law No. 45/2021, known as the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL). This landmark legislation aims to safeguard information and align UAE's data protection standards with global norms. Let's consider some of the recent updates. 

Key Features of the UAE Data Protection Law

The statute defining data protection in the UAE, commonly known as the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL), introduces significant changes to data processing and security. The PDPL centres on consent as a crucial requirement for information processing, obliging organisations to get explicit permission before using or sharing user information. It establishes principles of lawfulness, fairness, and transparency in data handling, alongside purpose limitation, to ensure information is used only for explicit, legitimate reasons.

Data minimisation and storage limitation are also emphasised, requiring the collection of only necessary data and restricting its retention period. The law also prioritises data integrity and confidentiality, safeguarding against unauthorised access and loss. 

Accountability is essential, with data controllers needing to demonstrate adherence to these principles. Additionally, the PDPL empowers individuals with rights over their details, including access, correction, and, in some cases, erasure, reinforcing their control and privacy in the digital age.

Obligations for Data Controllers and Processors in UAE's Data Protection Law

Data controllers and processors in the UAE face stringent obligations under the new law. They must implement robust safety measures to safeguard personal data against breaches. This includes maintaining detailed Records of Processing Activities (RoPA), which are essential for transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, adherence to the data controller's instructions is mandatory, especially when formalising agreements involving multiple processors. In case of breaches, immediate reporting to the UAE Data Office and notification to affected individuals are required. Lastly, controllers and processors are obliged to comply with requests from authorities and ensure their information protection practices meet international standards. 

The Role of Data Protection Officer and Impact Assessments in UAE Data Law

Under the PDPL, the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) is crucial for ensuring compliance. DPOs are tasked with overseeing the adherence to the law, verifying the integrity of data processing systems, and ensuring that personal data is safeguarded effectively. Their responsibilities extend to guiding companies in aligning their data handling practices with the legal requirements.

Additionally, the law mandates conducting impact assessments on personal information protection. Cyber security organisations like Microminder can help with data security assessments. These checks are essential for evaluating the risks and implications of data processing activities. They require a systematic analysis of how personal data is handled, ensuring that the processing aligns with the protection goals and mitigates potential online privacy risks. 


In sum, the UAE's Data Protection Law safeguards personal data within the UAE. It mandates entities processing such data to appoint a data protection officer, enforce protective measures, and enhance individual data control. In addition, data owners gain rights to correct inaccuracies and limit or halt their data's processing. Staying ahead of the PDPL will enable companies to remain compliant and avoid penalties.

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