PDPL and Data Privacy

Saudi Arabia PDPL Compliance: How to Prepare

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) established the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) to safeguard the privacy of individuals and companies. Any organization doing business in Saudi Arabia must abide by the law, which makes data controllers and processors accountable for safeguarding the private information of people and companies.

What is the Personal Data Protection Law of Saudi Arabia?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first comprehensive data protection law is called the PDPL. The Saudi Arabia Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) attempts to control how businesses gather, use, disclose, and store personal data while also safeguarding people’ right to privacy regarding that information.

In addition to outlining penalties for organizations that violate the PDPL, it also offers extensive requirements pertaining to processing principles, data subjects’ rights, organizations’ obligations when processing personal data of individuals, and cross-border data transfers mechanisms.

PDPL Executive Regulations

A variety of data protection efforts are covered under the KSA PDPL executive rules, such as:

  • Regulatory Authority: Any governmental authority or body with independent public personality that is charged with overseeing or regulating a particular industry or activity in the Kingdom in accordance with its powers and responsibilities. Direct marketing refers to any form of communication with an individual or group of individuals with the goal of sending marketing, advertising, or awareness-raising materials to them.
  • Practical Need: The real requirement to treat personal data in a fair, honest, and non-disrespectful manner without going against the expectations and rights of the personal data subject.
  • Personal Data Breach: Any action, whether deliberate or not, that results in the unauthorized disclosure of Personal Data.
  • Risks and Effects: The potential for harm to Personal Data Subjects as a result of processing their data, as well as the consequences of that risk.
  • Anonymization: Eliminating from the Personal Data any traits, direct or indirect, that could allow the Personal Data Subject to be uniquely identified.
  • Personal data transfer to entities outside the Kingdom: Any method of sending or exchanging personal data to or with an entity outside the Kingdom for the purpose of processing that data, in whole or in part, for particular purposes based on a practical need or legal justification.
  • Implied Consent: Consent that is implied by the person’s behavior, the situation’s facts, and circumstances rather than being expressed expressly by the Data Subject or the authorized person.

Who Must Comply

The restrictions apply to all “Public” and “Private” organizations, as well as their affiliates, that process “Personal Data” of Saudi Arabian citizens, including those who have passed away, in order to provide goods or services. It is noteworthy that the regulation covers establishments outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that handle the data of Saudi nationals.

Crucially, “Article 3” makes it clear that the PDPL does not replace any earlier legislation that grants data subjects additional protection or rights. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is a party to several international treaties and accords that are respected by the law. It is important to emphasize that data collected by individuals for personal or family use is exempt from the PDPL.