LEGAL VIEWPOINT: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance in Bahrain by Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

Bahrain issued the Personal Data Protection Law in 2018 and, as from the end of August 2109, the law becomes effective. Accordingly, all in Bahrain, are to be ready and up to date in strict compliance to this new important legislation.

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The issue of personal data protection is very big at the global level and, almost, all countries are striving to keep in line due to the important scope of the new regulation, moreover, there are the consequences of accountability in cases of non-compliance. There are many risks in case of non-compliance, including the loss of customer base and investors to the competitors, should a data breach hit any company.

There are some critical steps taken by many companies when deciding how to implement the data protection. This comes from the fact that, the whole matter is looked at as a pure IT issue or, alternatively, as a pure compliance matter. However, the best way to go along and comply with the matter (GDPR) is to integrate every department into the compliance process. Such an important task should be handled collectively and never fall on single person or one department. More heads working together are always better than one. Not possible, of course, for one person / dept. to know every single data collected and how to give necessary protection. Based on this, a centralized control with integrated approach will give better results to the company and the system.

As per the law in Bahrain, each company shall appoint a certain body to supervise personal data processing. Such appointed body shall be guided by the provisions of the law in this respect. All departments are required to assist him in performing his duties. This procedure, indicates dealing with data processing is not a private matter, rather based on certain legal concepts. Moreover, the law in Bahrain provides for the establishment of a “Public Authority”, to supervise proper implementation of the law and appropriate compliance. Above, indicates that, protection of personal data is of paramount importance. It implies that private personal matters & data are fully respected all over. Bahrain is following same steps and personal data is respected and protected. Any breach will be subject to litigation and criminal procedure as and when required, accordingly, adequate accurate compliance by all is a must.

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