By Angelique Carson, CIPP
Egypt’s recent revolution presents an ideal opportunity for changes and improvements to the country’s data protection and privacy laws. That’s according to Sarwat Nafei, president advisor at the National Telecom Regulatory Authority, who says privacy must be made more of a priority than it was under the previous regime, and now is the time to make it so.
Nafei and his co-panelists will discuss potential changes to Egyptian data privacy and protection law at an upcoming IAPP KnowledgeNet, “Privacy and Data Retention Law in Egypt,” on May 9 in Cairo—the first of its kind in the country. Panelists will include Vice Minister of Justice Omar El Sherief, attorney Wael Masoud and writer and professor Amr Hamzawy. Nafei says he has invited the information and technology communication community as well as local media in an effort to publicize both the meeting—which Narfei says is the beginning of an IAPP presence in Egypt—and the importance of the topics to be discussed. Lawmakers, human rights activists and civil community representatives have also been invited.
Though Egypt has a telecommunication privacy law, it wasn’t well enforced under Mohamed Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Nafei said. He sees an opportunity now.
“What we’re trying to do now is promote the idea of having effective privacy law, especially after the revolution and with the implementation of the democratic state of Egypt right now,” Nafei said.
Currently, data retention practices are regulated by an individual organization’s bylaws rather than national regulations, Nafei said, meaning that organizations “might follow their headquarter’s rules, but other than that, there is no formal law preventing them from keeping the personal data of people.”
Nafei plans to discuss such topics as how to protect citizens’ privacy as it relates to police authorities’ collection of personal data and how long personal data should be retained, among others.
An IAPP presence in Egypt should be a “cornerstone to the privacy issues in Egypt,” Nafei says, adding that he hopes to guide lawmakers who have concerns about privacy and to serve as a think tank for privacy ideas as they emerge in the new democracy.
The Cairo event is open to the public.
For more information about the Cairo KnowledgeNet and others, visit the IAPP Web site.
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