Nov 052016
 
 November 5, 2016  Laws, Non-U.S.

Courtney M. Bowman and Jonathan Reardon write:

Despite the volume of business that U.S. companies conduct in Saudi Arabia, the state of privacy law in the kingdom remains something of a mystery to many outsiders. This uncertainty leaves entities unsure of how to proceed, and has the potential to leave market entrants vulnerable to unanticipated legal exposure. This article attempts to shed light on the Saudi privacy regime by providing a general overview of Saudi privacy law, as well as guidance on practical approaches to compliance.

Sources of Law

Saudi Arabia does not have an omnibus data protection law like many countries in the EU and an increasing number of countries in other regions around the world. As in many countries without such a law, much of Saudi privacy law is derived from two sources: the country’s constitution (officially the Basic Law of Governance) and various sector-specific laws, some of which are described in more detail below. However, what distinguishes Saudi privacy law is its additional reliance on Sharia in some instances, which makes it important for companies doing business in the kingdom to have at least a basic understanding of how Sharia operates in practice.

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