ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners (ASAR), one of Bahrain’s leading corporate law firms, and one of the region’s top tier firms, along with Norton Rose Fulbright , recently addressed the existing and potentially forthcoming laws on cyber crime in Bahrain and the GCC region at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel.
Organized by the Bahrain British Business Forum (BBBF) Special Interest Group – Legal division, the seminar discussed ‘Managing Cyber Risks’, for the benefit of governments and businesses that are increasingly concerned about the threat of cyber risks taking into consideration the extensive data that is being handled electronically.
During the forum, several global and regional high profile data breaches were highlighted, along with the analysis of the growing challenge of cyber risks, legal exposure of cyber risks and international and regional legal and regulatory frameworks that dictate the protection rights of businesses everywhere. Norton Rose Fulbright outlined the global reach of, and international response to, cyber crime while ASAR Bahrain explained the primary mechanisms to protect from cyber crime in Bahrain. The primary Bahrain legislation dealing with cyber crime are the Bahrain Penal Code, the Telecommunications Law and the Central Bank of Bahrain regulatory scheme. ASAR also stressed the importance of the proposed Cyber Crimes Law expected to roll out soon, once approved by Bahrain’s Shura Council.
Mr. Steven Brown, Senior Associate in ASAR Bahrain noted, “We believe the keys to thwarting the threat and damage from cyber crime includes understanding cyber crime risks, facilitating increased preparedness by businesses and governments and undertaking a holistic approach to combating such crime through laws, regulatory oversight, international cooperation and diligent internal security in the private sector. The step towards enforcing comprehensive domestic counter measures and an effective legal framework against cyber criminality in Bahrain evidences the Kingdom’s progressive approach to protecting the fundamental rights of its citizens.”
Examining the new law, described as the first of its kind to be introduced in the Arab world, Mr. Brown shared several key provisions intended to consolidate laws concerning technology, communications and media in all mediums; the new law increases fines and imprisonment for activities such as hacking and embezzlement, and includes substantial adoption from the European Convention on Cyber Crime. Mr. Brown also spoke to the private sector’s role in self protection (e.g. increased use of encryption and up-to-date data protection policies), business opportunities in cyber crime protection (e.g. cyber attack insurance) and the importance of balancing the need for security from cyber crime with citizens’ freedoms and governmental interests in access to local electronic information.
ASAR provides clients across an extensive range of industry sectors with comprehensive legal support for their business activities across the GCC and beyond. The firm’s cross-jurisdictional practice, between Bahrain and Kuwait helps clients create the appropriate vehicles and ensure that they comply with the detailed provisions regarding corporate governance and operation under local laws and regulatory regimes.
The firm has been referred to as one of the leading corporate and commercial law firms in Bahrain and has won the ‘Best M&A Deal of the Year’ by Islamic Finance among others.