GDPR for Dubai companies

GDPR for Dubai companies is increasingly becoming a focal point of business activities. This not only applies to companies from the EU. Your company from Dubai may also be affected by data protection in the EU and must comply with the strict rules. This is especially true if you are targeting the European market or interacting with European citizens. The key to success lies in understanding and correctly applying data protection law in the EU. In this article, we explain the key points of data protection in the EU for Dubai companies.

Is your company affected by the GDPR?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive regulation that governs the handling of personal data of EU citizens. It doesn’t matter whether your company is based in Dubai or anywhere else outside the EU. The GDPR becomes relevant for you if you process personal data of individuals located in the Union, if you

  • offer goods or services to data subjects in the Union, regardless of whether a payment is to be made by those data subjects; or
  • monitor the behavior of data subjects insofar as their behavior takes place in the Union.

This also applies if your company is not based in the EU and does not have a branch here. This is referred to as the „marketplace principle“ (Art. 3 GDPR).

If your company has a location or a branch in the EU, you are in any case bound to comply with the GDPR („location principle“).

Principles of data protection in the EU

Data processing under the GDPR is based on various principles. These naturally also apply to your company from Dubai if the GDPR is applicable to you.

According to Art. 5 GDPR, personal data must be

  • processed lawfully, fairly and in a manner that is transparent to the data subject („lawfulness, fairness and transparency“)
  • collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) („purpose limitation“);
  • adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed („data minimization“)
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay („accuracy“)
  • kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data are processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1), subject to the implementation of appropriate technical and organizational measures required by this Regulation to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject („storage limitation“);
  • processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical and organizational measures („integrity and confidentiality“);

These basic principles run through the entire GDPR and are further specified.

Prohibition with reservation of exception

The principle of lawfulness requires, for example, that personal data may only be processed on the basis of a corresponding legal basis (prohibition with reservation of exception). According to Art. 6 GDPR, data processing is only lawful if at least one of the following conditions is met

  • The data subject has given their consent to the processing of their personal data for one or more specific purposes;
  • processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract
  • processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject
  • processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person
  • processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
  • processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

Important steps for GDPR for Dubai companies

Designation of an EU representative

If your company does not have a branch in the EU, you are required to appoint a representative in the EU*. This serves as a point of contact for supervisory authorities and data subjects.

Respect for the rights of data subjects

The GDPR grants individuals comprehensive rights, such as the right to access, rectify and erase their data – companies from Dubai must respect these rights.

Conducting data protection impact assessments

A data protection impact assessment is required for high-risk data processing activities to ensure data protection in the EU.

Technical and organizational measures

Adequate security measures must be taken to guarantee data protection in the EU and prevent data breaches (Art. 32 GDPR).

Keep records of processing activities

The maintenance of a record of data processing activities* is of essential importance. All activities in which personal data is processed must be listed in the processing directory.

Notification of data protection violations

The GDPR stipulates that companies may have to report data protection breaches themselves. Your company from Dubai may therefore be obliged to report data protection violations on its own initiative (Art. 33 GDPR). The report must be made immediately, but at the latest within 72 hours. Exceptionally, you can waive the notification if the personal data breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons.

GDPR for Dubai companies – Conclusion

The requirements of the GDPR can be a challenge, but they also offer an opportunity to strengthen trust and integrity. Data protection in the EU should not be seen as an obstacle, but as an integral part of doing business. Dubai companies looking to ensure their compliance can benefit from the expertise of specialized data protection officers.

By implementing the requirements of data protection in the EU, Dubai companies can demonstrate their commitment to data privacy. This is an essential asset in today’s digital economy.

*Related article in German

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