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Dubai Data Establishment, an affiliate of Smart Dubai, launched new 'Dubai Data Policies' on 19 February in collaboration with Dubai's Supreme Legislation Committee (SLC). The policies are the most important pillar of the data initiative following the Dubai Data Law in 2015, and aim to safeguard data as a key component of Dubai's digital wealth.

The Dubai Data Policies outline a set of provisions for the classification, publishing, exchange, use and reuse of data, as well as for protecting the privacy of data and individuals, and protecting copyrights. They complement Dubai's projects and initiatives launched by Smart Dubai in collaboration with its government and private-sector partners.

The policies are set to advance Smart Dubai's mission to make Dubai the "happiest and smartest city on earth" by harnessing the value of data to facilitate a seamless exchange of information, promote innovation and knowledge, inspire trust, and promote governance.

Developed in collaboration with Dubai's Supreme Legislation Committee, as well as a number of government and private-sector partners, the project consists of five policies to support the opening and sharing of data, namely: data classification, data protection, intellectual property rights protection, data use and reuse, and technical standards.

His Excellency Ahmed bin Meshar Al Muhairi, Secretary General of the Supreme Legislation Committee (SLC) stressed the importance of the policies as a key pillar in efforts to enhance capabilities related to the dissemination, transmission and exchange of data-which is considered to be at the core of intelligent transformation.

Established in 2014 by decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, SLC supports the Dubai development drive through drafting legislation and overseeing the implementation of legislation in accordance with international best practices and in cooperation with all concerned local and federal entities.

Al Muhairi said SLC started negotiations with Smart Dubai on the new policies upon request. "We issued this law within a year in accordance with all the Dubai government departments," he said. "I think this decree will help all data to be protected and be smart for the collectors who want to access it."

Al Muhairi added, "It is our responsibility to continue in the development of a sophisticated legislative structure that ensures the protection of data, which is important to our leadership as it is seen as a 'wealth for all to maintain,' seeking to enhance Dubai's leadership in future investment for the benefit of all mankind."

The new policies complement Dubai Data Law, which sets a solid foundation for the direction of an all-inclusive data system that organizes the collection and exchange of city information to build a competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation data management.

The Dubai Data initiative led by the Dubai Data Establishment and decreed by the Dubai Data Law of 2015, is the single most comprehensive city-wide data initiative guiding the opening and sharing of city data across the public and private sector.

"Our announcement today is about policies related to Dubai Data Initiative that was launched in October 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum," said H.E. Younus Al Nasser, CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment. "It has been ranked the most ambitious data initiative globally, due to accelerated programs that we have run since 2014."

Monetizing Dubai's data
Al Nasser said the new policies will "help amplify the economic impact of data, which is expected to reach AED10.4 billion per year as of 2021, according to the Dubai Data Economic Impact Report prepared by international audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG. The same report revealed that by opening and sharing 100% of government data, Dubai stands to generate an additional value of $6.6 billion."

The new policies will be run through the Government of Dubai and will impact both individuals and the private sector in a way that they can benefit from shared data in preparation for the future. "We are making data easier to exchange and available for everyone," said Al Nasser. "We know that academia is hungry for the information available."

He added, "But we need to be able to trust data and make sure that it is reliable enough to base future insights on. This is the purpose of the new policies - to govern new data coming in and improve the transparency to empower every individual."

If there are demands for certain data sets, Al Nasser explained, those data sets will be prioritized by the government to be available on the electronic platform. "We have provided a portal for government entities to access and also request data," he said.

o make the available data more comprehensible for people - and to build Dubai's "data economy" - Al Nasser explained how raw data from different areas of the government - for example information from the TRA and RTA - will be combined and analyzed and sold to whoever wants to access it, which simplifies the process for those who want to build insights on data quickly.

"It was important for us to understand how we can commercialize some of the data towards the economy we can expect from opening and sharing data, and subsequently have a proper framework around how the government will have a unified way of monetizing data coming in," said Al Nasser.

"We want to make sure we are harnessing the most valuable outcomes from data and empowering the future to prepare for machine learning and artificial intelligence. If we are truly diversifying away from fuel, future generations will be able to benefit from the data that we have kept for them."

But not all data will be open for everyone to access, as some of it is deemed classified. "It is our duty to define what open data is," said Al Nasser. "If it is confidential data, then how confidential is it? Protecting the privacy of data is important to us. We partnered with Dubai Electronic Security Centre to ensure that data is protected and secure on the electronic platforms."

Classified data will come under three categories: confidential data which will only be shared between government departments; sensitive data which will be provided with limited access between certain government departments; and then secret data which will only be available to entities with restricted permission.

Smart Dubai consulted government departments in the process of writing up the policies, and plans to do the same process with the private sector, so that everyone is familiar with the policies in place to ensure participation in the future. The penalties for not complying with the policies are yet to be determined by the Executive Council, and any person will have the right to submit a complaint about misuse of data.

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