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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

DCO hails national digital economy programme

Digital Cooperation Organisation (
Digital Cooperation Organisation (

Several governments, including the Sultanate of Oman, have called on technology companies to protect user data better.


A joint statement released by the Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO), urged 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 DCO member states include Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia.


In a statement to the Observer, Deemah al Yahya, DCO Secretary-General, said, "The Sultanate of Oman's formal endorsement of the joint statement on Data Privacy, alongside the other member states, will ensure the proper protection of citizens' data privacy online. It is vital that as we unlock opportunity and new economic avenues, we work collaboratively to create consistent, best practice international standards for data protection. The digital economy has the power to unlock unprecedented opportunities - and indeed, I am pleased to see the progress of the national digital economy program in Oman."


The joint statement said, "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 better to protect users from the misuse of personal information."


It added, "We must strengthen the trust that personal data will be protected. This is especially true for underrepresented groups 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.


According to IBM's Cost of a Data Breach report, personal customer information now accounts for 44 percent of all data breaches, in addition to being the costliest type of data breach. The report found that the average cost of a data breach involving personal customer information averaged US$4.24 million per breach in 2021, 10 percent more than the year before.


The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) is a global multilateral body that aims to enable digital prosperity for all by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy.


The DCO brings together governments, the private sector, international organizations, NGOs, and civil society to enable more inclusive digital transformation and the growth of digital industries. DCO's membership accounts for a combined population of over half a billion million people


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