The Impact of Saudi Personal Data Protection Law on Businesses

Saudi Arabia’s Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL), which came into force on September 14, 2023, has a significant impact on businesses in the country. The PDPL is a comprehensive data protection law aligned with international best practices, aiming to protect individual’s personal data and promote transparency and accountability in its processing. The law requires businesses to comply with its requirements to process personal data.

Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, and organizations have until September 14, 2024, to prepare for compliance. The PDPL is expected to have a long-term positive impact on businesses in Saudi Arabia by creating a more data-driven and innovative economy, which can help businesses grow and succeed in the future. Additionally, the law can improve the trust between businesses and their customers, as compliance demonstrates a commitment to protecting privacy, leading to enhanced customer trust and loyalty

The PDPL sets a high standard for data protection in the region and may make Saudi Arabia more attractive to foreign investors, especially tech companies that handle vast amounts of personal data. It also addresses modern challenges related to big data, AI, and advanced analytics, reflecting the nation’s proactive approach to data protection.

In terms of compliance, organizations are advised to incorporate the PDPL’s requirements into their operational processes and prioritize tooling and automation as part of their maturity roadmap to achieve standardization and efficiency. Non-compliance with the law can lead to significant penalties, including imprisonment and fines for individuals, and warnings or substantial fines for organizations

In conclusion, the PDPL’s impact on businesses in Saudi Arabia is substantial, requiring organizations to adapt their data processing practices to comply with the law’s provisions. However, the law also presents an opportunity for businesses to foster trust, innovation, and long-term growth in the data-driven economy.

Author Amr Reda Abdullatif, LL.M