ICT Expert and former Head of Technical Affairs at the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), Abdulla Jassmi, pointed out the need to conduct massive awareness campaigns to educate the public on consumer data awareness. He underlined, “Data is used in different ways without you knowing anything about it,” and stressed how important it is to have the people informed on how their data is recorded and where and in what way it is used. “Transparency, awareness, and education are the keys for ensuring that the data is protected within the border,” added Jassmi.
During the event, the Director of Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs for the Middle East Cluster at Microsoft, Yasemin Genc, highlighted the crucial role of technology in daily life. Speaking about data classification as the starting point of developing frameworks, she said, “Developing a global approach would be the key. It is important to come up with a global framework, receive guidelines and standards to align, all of the different thinking around the world to align, align taxonomy and define best practices of data management.” She pointed out that already existing standards can help develop the framework and understand its needs. When discussing how far Qatar has reached in policymaking related to data sovereignty, she noted that it will take some time to make it, but also that “Qatar has been moving in this area much faster than a lot of the others in the region.”
Vice-President and Economic Advisor of the Government Affairs Team at Huawei Technologies, Andrew Williamson, agreed and explained that “governments should work together on a framework, standardizing global agreements on cybersecurity certification and checks on vendor hardware and software; agree to those standards, so the market becomes more competitive” adding that “Qatar should Check what happens in other parts of the world. It is about where gov wants to be and define what is important and what needs to be secured and what requires less protection.”
Since this is a hot topic and the future is promising when it comes to analyzing and defining rules and regulations is only yet to come, the senior developer engineer and Qatar University researcher, Dr. Rateb Jabbar pointed out that with new technologies, we can only profit in understanding the way of data sovereignty. We need more knowledge of what we want to achieve. Dr. Jabbar clarified that this problem is rising day after day since there is a big gap between the evolution of technologies, and with new technologies, concepts, and methodology on one side, and the making of the policy on another, it proves that it takes more time for policymaking than the evolution of technology, this gap needs to be closed.
Chairman of MOSECO Qatar, Marwan Marouf Rafiq Mahmoud, who moderated the discussion on Data Sovereignty, asserted cloud adoption is imminent and that it is something that can lead us to future policymaking. “The private sector is looking at this, and there’s a big opportunity for localizing skills and localizing products. The private sector is looking forward to building partnerships,” he concluded.
Watch the full video on our panel discussion on Data Sovereignty.