In late March, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued Law No. (9) of 2022 regulating the provision of digital services in Dubai. The law aims to accelerate Dubai’s digital transformation, reinforce digital service delivery, and encourage service digitalization in both the public and private sectors.
In terms of the scope of application, Article 4 stipulates that the law shall apply throughout the Emirate of Dubai, including special development zones, free zones, and the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Pursuant to the Law, government entities; judicial authorities, including Dubai Courts and Dubai Public Prosecution; and non-government entities in Dubai, are obliged to provide digital services to their customers. Nevertheless, the Digital Dubai Authority, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai and DESC, has the authority to exempt an entity from any of these requirements.
To further regulate the provision of digital services, Article 6 outlines 27 conditions and standards that should be considered when providing digital services. This includes the adoption of digital identities to provide subscription-based digital services; cybersecurity requirements and standards approved by the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC); electronic payment solutions approved by the Department of Finance; and provision of digital services in Arabic, English, and other languages. Notably, Paragraph 20 of Article 6 stipulates that digital services provided in Dubai should be user-friendly and made available and free of charge for People of Determination. Regarding customer obligations and responsibilities, customers shall be held responsible for the breach of services and non-compliance with the obligations specified in this law.
It is worth mentioning that Article 10 enables government entities and judicial authorities, upon the approval of the competent authority and the Department of Finance, to outsource their digital services to any public or private entity. This is in line with the Services 360 policy of Dubai, an initiative approved in March 2022 that seeks to structure a roadmap to provide a seamless, proactive, customized, and integrated digital-first system that caters to customers’ expectations and needs through the provision of digital and real-time services.
Given the promulgation of both the policy and the law, we expect to witness a drastic surge in the demand for digital services among public and private entities based in the Emirate of Dubai. Based on Article 10, we would also like to inform digital service providers that outsourcing contracts should explicitly outline the contract duration and responsibilities of each party involved, namely the standards concerning data protection and confidentiality, as well as the rules for the provision of digital services. Additionally, Article 12 rules that all digital service providers in Dubai are required to comply with the law within a year of the implementation of the law. Upon the recommendations of DDA, the Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai is allowed to extend the deadline for a similar period.
Access Partnership is closely monitoring developments regarding Dubai’s Law No.9 of 2022 on Regulating the Provision of Digital Services. For more information regarding the regulations or engagement in the UAE, please contact Hussein Abul-Enein at [email protected], or Chen-Che Hsu at [email protected].