Dubai’s ruler issues open data law for Dubai Smart City

The new law will make non-confidential data accessible to researchers, investors and service developers via an integrated platform

Dubai has issued a new open data law allowing government departments and other organisations to share non-confidential data.

The law was issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai to further the emirate’s efforts of transforming into a smart city.

Under the new law, non-confidential data will be made accessible to researchers, investors and service developers via an integrated platform, state news agency WAM reported.

The legislation is also expected to create room for more collaboration and innovation between government and non-government entities. This in turn will increase the competitiveness of data providers.

The data law obligates all government departments to share their data with each other to provide unified and integrated services to the public.

“The new law will unify Dubai data and remove the last legal obstacles for those interested in investing in the digital economy,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and General Supervisor of Dubai Smart City.

“It will also complete the legislative framework of Dubai Smart City.”

Analysts have said that an open data law will help address privacy concerns of users as it provides a clear legislative framework to safeguard data that is deemed private in an open space.

The law will also facilitate the process of obtaining data for Smart city functionality. The regulation was developed to achieve a qualitative leap in the digital economy and e-smart services.

“It will help authorities to prepare policies, implement plans and initiatives efficiently and effectively. Most importantly, the data law will also enable the emirate to achieve its vision of making Dubai a city that can manage data according to clear and specific methodology consistent with international best practices,” WAM said.

An open data law could also benefit the emirate’s residents as it clearly sets parameters of what can be shared by the government.

“In an open data platform what happens is that cities will ensure that all data is standardised, formatted and accessible in a particular way so that everyone will be able to absorb it,” IDC’s senior research manager Megha Kumar told Gulf Business.

“It allows one as a person living in a city to gain access to what is a happening within his/her ecosystem.”

Over the last two years, Dubai has announced a number of initiatives to transform itself to a Smart City. It has also invested heavily in build a m-Government where most government services are offered through mobile.