QFC Employment Standards Office sets up Data Protection Directorate

Ingianni: QFC committed to highest standards of data protection.

The Employment Standards Office (ESO) of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has established the Data Protection Directorate. In view of the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on May 25, 2018, the new directorate is led by a data protection officer certified by the European Centre for Privacy and Cybersecurity (ECPC) from Maastricht University.The officer is responsible for implementing and enforcing QFC data protection regulations, managing related disputes and applying EU GDPR standards.

The new GDPR is set to be the biggest shakeup to data privacy legislation in a generation and will apply to all organisations, including businesses established in the QFC, or in Qatar, processing personal data of individuals of any nationality who are based in the European Union (EU). “The establishment of the data protection directorate as part of the ESO before the EU GDPR comes into force is a big milestone, confirming QFC’s commitment to applying the highest standards to the data protection field,” according to Luigia Ingianni, commissioner of the ESO at the QFC Authority.

During the ESO data protection event held on Monday, she discussed the key changes GDPR will bring and the requirements for QFC firms dealing with personal data of individuals who are based in Europe. Dr Oriane Barat-Ginies, legal advisor, cyber-security and data privacy specialist, provided an overview on how cyber-security plays a vital role in the protection of personal data. “During the event we provided our firms with information, practical tools and documents to comply with both the QFC Data Protection legislations and the EU GDPR, avoiding the heavy sanctions provided in the latter,” Ingianni said, adding “The next step will be the full alignment of our Data Protection Regulations, currently in line with the EU Directive 95/46/EC, with the EU GDPR”.

The ESO, which previously operated under the legal department, is the statutory compliance office for businesses registered under the QFC. The ESO is exploring potential areas of co-operation with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation in Turin, Italy. The ESO ‘Think Lab’ provides members of the QFC community with the opportunity to share their views on employment legislation and discuss the introduction of new labour standards in line with the evolved business needs of the QFC. Membership is awarded to firms who have demonstrated ongoing commitment to operate in compliance with the QFC Employment Framework.

Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times