As digital transformation of businesses and economies moves ahead at speed, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was particularly active with a number of legislative developments in technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) during 2023. We look back at last year's top 10 reforms in 2023 within the TMT space:

1. The Saudi Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) came into force and effect. It applies broadly to all processing operations that lead to directly or indirectly identifying individuals that reside in the KSA, even if undergone by entities located outside of the KSA. It impacts many sectors and controllers have until 14 Sep 2024 to take any necessary action to comply.

2. SDAIA | سدايا  published the Implementing Regulations of the PDPL. They include the Regulations on Personal Data Transfers outside the Kingdom which set out the procedures and controls for cross border personal data transfers.

3. The announcement of the establishment of four Special Economic Zones in the KSA, including the Cloud Computing Special Economic Zone.

4. The Cabinet’s approval of the General Authority of Media Regulations’ Statutes, which restructured the powers of the former General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) to expand its purview to include all types of media.

5. The draft Media Law was published for public consultation and is an important project that aims to govern all forms of media under a single legislative document. It proposes that it replaces the Audiovisual Media Law, the Law of Publications and the Broadcasting Law.

6. Communications, Space & Technology Commission (CST) approved the Provision of Data Centres Services Regulations, which govern data centres that are used to provide services to others in the KSA, with certain registration obligations.

7. CST updated the Cloud Computing Services Provisioning Regulations and its guides. They apply to cloud computing service providers that provide services to users in the KSA, and include an obligation to register with the CST if they have direct or effective control over a data centre or infrastructure in the KSA.

8. CST issued the Digital Platform Services Regulations, which have come into effect with a grace period ending in August 2024. They apply to video, audio, gaming and marketing digital platforms that provide services to users in the KSA and include obligations to obtain regulatory tools depending on the service classification.

9. The draft Global Digital Content Safe Harbour Law was published for public consultation, which proposes a framework for hosting and transitioning digital content in the KSA without objection, deletion, modification of the content or
exposure to liability.

10. SDAIA issued the Principles and Controls of AI Ethics, which apply to each stage in the development lifecycle of AI systems.

Saudi Arabia remains at the forefront of digital transformation. Aligned with the visionary objectives of Vision 2030, the Kingdom continues to put digital technology at the heart of its transformation. 

If you have any questions on any of the points above, please contact Lamisse Bajunaid

Our dedicated Doing Business in Saudi Arabia Hub helps businesses stay informed and understand the latest developments and opportunities.