Saudi Arabia’s first data protection law (PDPL) will take effect on March 17, 2023. The aim of the PDPL is to ensure the privacy of personal data, regulate data sharing, and prevent the abuse of personal data. The PDPL covers data minimization, controller obligations, data subject rights, and penalties for breach of provisions.
The PDPL applies to any processing by businesses of personal data performed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including the processing of personal data of KSA residents by entities outside the Kingdom.
Although the PDPL will be effective from 23 March, I anticipate a transitional period of 12 – 18 months before it is fully enforceable nationally.
The supplementary regulations are expected to provide further clarification on the various aspects of the new law; with penalties for breaches of the PDPL reaching up to SAR5,000,000 (US$1,333,000) and in certain cases even imprisonment, they will be essential reading for employers.