Julia had the privilege of chairing CIOs from across the Gulf at the Region’s 1st ever international conference on Open Data. Hosted by the Emirates Identity Authority in association with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) the 2 day Open Government Data Forum attracted high profile speakers and delegates from around the world, including Micheline Casey, Chief Data Officer at the US Federal Reserve Board, and Anat Lewin, ICT Specialist at the World Bank. ‘The United Arab Emirates realised a long time ago the importance of data and information in both the public and private sectors in enabling her citizens to participate in the country’s growth trajectory by virtue of grasping the needs of the society amid global competitive pressures,’ Dr Ali Al-Khouri, Director General, Emirates Identity Authority said in explaining why the UAE decided to champion Open Data throughout the Gulf. The UAE, alongside Qatar, leads the Gulf in efforts to put a strong legislative framework in place to ensure data protection and privacy. The Gulf State has adopted the legal approach that privacy is a constitutional right which is governed by several laws designed to protect data including DIFC Data Protection Law 2007, PITC 2/2006 and Dubai ETCL 2/2002. The Emirates Identity Authority itself has a very strong Information Security Policy that is part of its Information Security Management System. Emirates ID is also certified for ISO 27001. Privacy under the UAE/EIDA model consequently entails anonymisation for all data and authentication for those who access it, with authentication provided 'As A Service' to fully secure the data.