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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the award-winning International Financial Centre located in Abu Dhabi, announced today that it has enacted the Data Protection Regulations 2021, which will replace the current Data Protection Regulations 2015. This initiative follows a period of public consultation, where the proposed Regulations received positive public feedback.

ADGM conducted an international benchmark of international standards and best practices and believes the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (which took effect in May 2018) is the leading international standard and best practice for robust Data Protection legislation. The new Regulations are adapted to the needs 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.

An important feature of the new framework is the establishment of an independent Office of Data Protection, headed by a Commissioner of Data Protection. The Board of the ADGM has appointed Sami Mohammed as the ADGM Commissioner of Data Protection. Mohammed has over 18 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors in the UAE including in financial services, commercial legislation, data privacy and protection, anti-money laundering and counter terrorism funding, across various roles including licensing, supervision, enforcement, and policy. Mohammed has been appointed for an initial term of four years.

ADGM recognises that adoption of the new Regulations will result in significant changes and additional responsibilities for Data Controllers and Data Processors. Accordingly, a transition period is proposed of 12 months for current establishments, and 6 months for new establishments, from 14 February 2021. Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of the ADGM Registration Authority, said, “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 practice. 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.”

For more information on the Regulations, please visit the dedicated webpage for the Office of Data Protection and the new Data Protection Regulations 2021, and the appointment of Sami Mohamed as Commissioner of Data Protection.

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