Eight countries issue a joint statement on data privacy

Governments representing more than half a billion people are urgently calling on global technology companies to better protect user data, through a joint statement released by the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).

The Joint Statement on Data Privacy Policies urges global technology companies to work with governments to develop privacy and user terms that protect user data and ensure that data use aligns with informed user consent.

The statement was issued by the DCO, a global multilateral organization established to enable digital prosperity for all, with a focus on digital economy initiatives supporting youth, entrepreneurs and women. The DCO’s member state countries – Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia – have a combined population of more than half a billion people and a combined GDP of nearly US$2 trillion.

Referring to the joint statement, DCO Secretary General Deemah AlYahya stated “In 2021, almost half of global data breaches involved personal user data. Through the DCO, our member states, representing more than half a billion people, are today calling on global tech leaders to better protect users from the misuse of personal information.

“To truly realize the potential of the internet and digital technologies to improve peoples’ lives and open the doors to economic opportunity, we must strengthen trust that personal data will be protected. This is especially true for groups that are underrepresented in the digital economy or more vulnerable to data privacy violations.

“We believe that the best way to achieve this is by sitting programmers and policymakers at the same table, working collaboratively with other nations and with private companies to better align privacy terms and government regulations to overcome this emerging economic challenge.”

The joint statement highlighted several privacy standards issues to be addressed, including ensuring that data is used in line with the informed user consent, is not transferred to third parties that breach member state privacy regulations, and enables users to migrate or remove their data from platforms.