It is no secret that digitalization is a trend that is able to make daily life simpler, more affordable and friendlier towards the environment. The United Arab Emirates took an important step towards digital and bureaucratic efficiency, as the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued Law No. (9) of 2022 which will regulate the provision of digital services in Dubai. While it is more usual for a state to focus on digital governance, the aforementioned measure’s scope includes both the private and the public sectors.

Government entities, judicial authorities (Dubai Courts and Dubai Public Prosecution), along with non-governmental entities situated in Dubai, are now all required to provide services in digital form. Law No. (9) of 2022 sets forward the conditions for the provision of digital services, an important part of which is the adoption of digital identities. The identities will serve as the vessel for personal data management, as updates are required by their users, and will facilitate other elements, such as subscription-based services. The digital identity will also create accountability – the customers will be held accountable when misusing services and not adhering to the procedures. Naturally, in an environment like this, a stronger need for better cybersecurity arises, which is precisely why standards will be set by the Dubai Electronic Security Center. With better security comes continuity, as well, which diminishes the chances of a system disruption. Along the same line, the Department of Finance in Dubai will also determine the conditions for approved electronic payment solutions, a separate yet interconnected aspect of digital presence.

Interestingly, Law No. (9) of 2022 requires the services to be in English, Arab and other languages, with a user-friendly interface, easily accessible to People of Determination (People with Disabilities), as well, at no extra cost. While design does not come in mind as a priority, it can certainly promote social inclusion.

Even if an entity cannot provide its digital service efficiently, they can always outsource them to a private company, which will be subject to approval by the Department of Finance and other relative authorities. Given the importance and the complexity of the matter, any outsourcing contract must outline the responsibilities of the parties, the duration of the contract, confidentiality requirements and the set of rules for providing digital services.

For any questions regarding the technical requirements of the services, updates will be available on the Digital Dubai Authority Website. All service providers who are subject to Law No. (9) of 2022 have a year to abide with its provisions. Taking into consideration that rapid digitalization is not an equally simple process for all actors, if necessary, the Chairman of the Executive Council can actually extend the deadlines based on the recommendation of Digital Dubai Authority. It is worth noting, however, that an entity can be exempted from some conditions by the aforementioned authorities, if such an arrangement is necessary.

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