Abu Dhabi-based ADGM unveils new data protection framework

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Abu Dhabi’s renowned international financial center and free zone, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has replaced its current Data Protection Regulations formulated in 2015 with the newly enacted Data Protection Regulations of 2021. 

The new regulations are heavily influenced by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into effect in MAy 2018. The new initiative is greenlit after a public consultation, where the proposed Regulations received positive public feedback.

The new regulations are modified to the requirements of ADGM and are intended to be proportionate and business-friendly, without undermining the key ambition of achieving a high standard of protection for personal data.

One of the key takeaways from the newly proposed regulatory framework is the establishment of an independent Office of Data Protection, overseen by a Commissioner of Data Protection. ADGM has appointed Mr. Sami Mohammed, an industry veteran with 18+ years of public and private sector expertise in verticals including financial services, commercial legislation, data privacy and protection, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding, as the ADGM Commissioner of Data Protection with an initial term of four years.

Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri Image
Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri
ADGM Registration Authority

“ADGM is extremely pleased to introduce such a world-class data protection framework that protects personal data, while also remaining balanced and business-friendly. These new Regulations position the ADGM as a regional leader in data protection.”

Sami Mohammed, ADGM Commissioner of Data Protection, said, “I am delighted to take up this important role as the ADGM Commissioner of Data Protection, as we enact the new Data Protection Regulations 2021. Through applying the new regulations, entities can be assured of the highest standards of data protection, in line with international best practices. On behalf of the team at the Office of Data Protection, I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure personal data is processed in accordance with the Regulations.”

ADGM will provide twelve months for current establishments and six months for new establishments from 14th February 2021 to transition into the new regulatory framework.