Cambodia Investment Review

EuroCham: Cambodia Continues Development of Data Protection Laws, Experts Highlight Importance of Aligning With ASEAN Standards

EuroCham: Cambodia Continues Development of Data Protection Laws, Experts Highlight Importance of Aligning With ASEAN Standards

Cambodia Investment Review

The inaugural Digital Future Forum, themed “Building Tomorrow’s Digital Foundation,” convened at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra on Tuesday, 30th January, marking a significant stride in shaping Cambodia’s digital horizon. Organized by EuroCham’s Digital & Technology Committees, the forum brought together leading industry players and government representatives, fostering a confluence of ideas and strategies pivotal for the nation’s digital progression

The event, initiated with welcome remarks by EuroCham Board Member Mr. Chheav Narath and an insightful presentation on Cambodian digital laws by H.E. Dr. Kong Phallack, Secretary of State, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, offered a vibrant tapestry of keynote speeches, panel dialogues, tech showcases, and networking realms, charting a course for enhanced digital integration, cybersecurity, and technological inclusivity in Cambodia.

Read more: Addressing Urgent Data Protection and Sustainable IT Management Issues in Cambodia

Cambodia’s Pathway to Data Protection Laws

Reflecting on Cambodia’s digital transformation journey, H.E. Dr. Kong Phallack’s keynote address underscored the nation’s commitment to fostering a secure and progressive digital ecosystem. Dr. Kong highlighted the efforts undertaken from April 2020 to January 2024, marking a period of substantial legislative advancement with the adoption of 12 Sub Decrees and 2 Prakas, aimed at solidifying the legal framework governing Cambodia’s under-utilized digital domain.

EuroCham “Building Tomorrow’s Digital Foundation,” convened at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra on Tuesday, 30th January.

“Collaboration and comprehensive dialogue stand at the core of our legislative process,” remarked Dr. Kong, reflecting on the extensive stakeholder consultations undertaken for the Draft Law on Cybersecurity and the Draft Law on Personal Data Protection. He emphasized the value of these consultations, stating, “Engaging a wide array of sectors not only enriches our perspectives but ensures our laws are crafted with a deep understanding of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within the digital landscape.”

Dr. Kong also acknowledged the constructive feedback received from various entities, notably highlighting EuroCham’s significant contribution. “The insights and suggestions from EuroCham’s legal team provide a crucial lens through which we view and refine our draft on Personal Data Protection,” he said.

He stressed the importance of such engagements, adding, “This collaborative approach is indispensable as it paves the way for laws that are not only comprehensive and robust but also aligned with international standards and practices, ensuring Cambodia’s digital foundation is both resilient and forward-looking.” Dr. Kong’s address reaffirmed the government’s dedication to an inclusive, consultative, and dynamic legislative process, shaping a digital future that resonates with security, innovation, and collaborative governance.

Regional Context of Data Protection

Comparing data protection laws in ASEAN countries Sebastien Ung, Cambodia Representative at Asia Data Destruction Cambodia revealed a spectrum of legal frameworks, definitions, principles, and enforcement mechanisms. “Each country, from Indonesia’s comprehensive PDP law to Cambodia’s emerging legislative efforts, reflects a unique stance on personal data protection, influenced by cultural, societal, and regulatory nuances,” notes Ung. While some countries like Singapore and Thailand have stringent laws aligning with international standards, Cambodia is in the nascent stages of framing its own laws, currently drawing on provisions from various existing legislations.

EuroCham “Building Tomorrow’s Digital Foundation,” convened at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra on Tuesday, 30th January.

Mr. Ung highlights the broader impact of robust data protection laws, stating, “Beyond compliance, a strong legal framework for data protection acts as a cornerstone for trust, confidence, and security in the digital domain. It not only attracts investments but also facilitates cross-border data transfers, essential for the global interconnectedness of businesses.”

He underscored the need for cultural adaptation and awareness in implementing these laws effectively, considering the diverse cultural and societal factors that influence data protection perceptions and practices across different nations.

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