What does Qatar’s new personal data law mean, and how does it benefit you?
As you might have heard, Qatar’s Emir signed a new personal data law earlier last week in a bid to protect individuals from companies and organizations that might trade their personal data with third parties. Under the new law, companies in Qatar have the responsibility to protect the personal information they gather from clients, and will face severe penalties if they fail to do so.
The nature of data that companies collect and are now protected by Qatari law, ranges from a person’s ethnic origin, their physical or mental health, to their religion, marital status, criminal record and even information about their family members.
Law No. 13 of 2016 has been in the working for over 5 years, and was just approved by the Advisory Council and the Cabinet earlier this year.
Under Article 2 of the personal data law, data that is collected or processed electronically is now protected, but it does not include personal data processed by individuals privately or within a family context, or to any personal data gathered for official surveys and statistics.
This makes it harder for companies with which you have no premeditated relationship with to target you with spam marketing and advertising without your prior consent. Under Article 22, businesses are now banned from sending direct messages without consents, and must include their identity and contact info in all marketing efforts. In case they fail to do so, they can be fined up to QAR 1 million.
And most importantly, children are protected by this new law under Article 17. The clause forces the management of any website with content aimed at children to publish a clear minors information management policy statement, and must demand parental consent before processing any information belonging to a minor.
The law however only applies to private organizations. Government authorities are exempted from all the above provisions.