Consultation on Draft Regulations to Saudi Arabia’s Personal Data Protection Law closes 25 March 2022

SDAIA, the Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority, has just released draft Regulations to the new Personal Data Protection Law, due to come into effect on 23 March 2022. The draft Regulations provide helpful clarity on many aspects of the PDPL, although ambiguity remains on a variety of topics.

Any business likely to be affected by the Law should scrutinise the draft Regulations, and consider making submissions on any areas of concern. Further information on the consultation process is available here.

The draft Regulations contain a number of significant issues, and we have not sought to address them all here. We do, however, make some observations about transfers of personal data outside the Kingdom. Unless well drafted, with practical considerations in mind, the transfer provisions have significant potential to cause issues for international businesses and for businesses that rely on cloud services hosted outside the Kingdom. This topic caused the most concern when the Law was first published in September 2021.

Do the draft Regulations satisfactorily address these concerns? Probably not, but with some adjustments through the consultation process they might work.

In summary, the potentially bureaucratic requirements around regulatory approvals prior to transfers abroad, as well as the question of whether the consent of the data subject negates the need to obtain such approval, would benefit from further scrutiny by SDAIA.

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