Categories
Laws & Policies

Data Protection Law

All open data initiatives must respect privacy and data protection laws.

Oman issued its first Personal Data Protection Law in February 2022 and this law is expected to enter into force in February 2023. The Omani Personal Data Protection Law guarantees to individuals in Oman that their data will not be processed except with their consent and that a request to process personal data must be written in a clear, explicit, and understandable manner.

In particular, the Omani Personal Data Protection Law grants data subjects the right to revoke their consent; to request to have their data amended, updated, or blocked; to obtain a copy of their data; to transfer their data to another controller; to request to have their data deleted; and to be notified of any data breach relating to their data.

As this law is still very new, its scope of application is not yet tested. In regard to government open data, the law explicitly excludes government activities carried out as part of the implementation of the competences prescribed to government entities by law. This means that the collection of say, Royal Oman Police, of personal data as part of carrying out the its functions as the police will not require consent or compliance with any other provisions of this law.

However, it is reasonable to expect the law to apply in regard to uses beyond those required for the implementation of such competences. For example, releasing the traffic data as open data is not necessarily part of the actual function of the act of policing traffic, and therefore its release must be carried out in a manner that does not infringe the rights of individuals, by, for example, making sure that the data is anonymised and published in an aggregate manner.

Categories
Blog

Royal Decree Recap 2021

We just updated our annual royal decree open data dataset to include royal decrees that His Majesty issued in the year 2021, and we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine the legal developments in the country through the numbers. This post looks at how the number of royal decrees issued last year compares to previous years, and provides a breakdown of the categories of royal decrees issued in 2021.

Categories
Datasets

Omani Domain Names

This dataset covers the number of Omani domain names registered under the .om country code top-level domain name and .عمان Arabic language international domain name.

Dataset Description

SourceIndependently collected from the annual reports of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
Time period covered2012-2020.
Frequency of updateYearly.

Metadata

FieldDescription
YearThe year in the format of YYYY.
.omThe number of registered domain names under the .om country code top-level domain name. This is the aggregate number of actively registered domain names, and not the number of newly registered domain names in the specific year only.
.عمانThe number of registered domain names under the .عمان Arabic language domain name. This is the aggregate number of actively registered domain names, and not the number of newly registered domain names in the specific year only.

Data

Visualisation

Notes

Only Omani nationals and companies registered in Oman are permitted to register these domain names. You can learn more about Omani domain names from the website of the .om Domain Names Administration.

Categories
Datasets

Telecom Subscriptions

This dataset covers the data on the number of telephone and broadband subscriptions and their penetration rates (both fixed and mobile) in the Sultanate of Oman.

Dataset Description

SourceTelecommunications Regulatory Authority.
Time period covered2010 to 2020.
Frequency of updateYearly.

Metadata

FieldDescription
YearThe year in the format of YYYY.
Fixed Telephone SubsThe number of fixed telephone subscriptions in Oman.
Fixed Telephone PenetrationThe penetration rate of fixed telephone subscriptions per household in Oman as a percentage. The TRA relies on data from the NCSI for determining the number of households in Oman.
Fixed Broadband SubsThe number of fixed broadband subscriptions in Oman.
Fixed Broadband PenetrationThe penetration rate of fixed broadband subscriptions per household in Oman as a percentage. The TRA relies on data from the NCSI for determining the number of households in Oman.
Mobile Telephone SubsThe number of mobile telephone subscriptions in Oman.
Mobile Telephone Penetration The penetration rate of mobile telephone subscriptions per inhabitant in Oman as a percentage.
Mobile Broadband SubsThe number of mobile broadband subscriptions in Oman. This includes handset-based and computer-based subscriptions.
Mobile Broadband PenetrationThe penetration rate of mobile broadband subscriptions per inhabitant in Oman as a percentage.
For further details on the technical meaning of these fields, please refer to this ITU Handbook.

Data

Vizualisation

Telecom Subscriptions

Telecom Penetration Rates

Notes

This data was collected from the open data files of the TRA as well as information individually collected from the reports section of the TRA’s website.

Categories
Toolkit

Open Data Catalogues

For data to be truly considered open, the data must be complete in regard to the content of the data itself and in regard to the metadata describing the information that an open data publisher is releasing. Creating a comprehensive open data catalogue is an effective way for ensuring that published open data is accompanied by the minimum required amount of metadata.

Even though many government entities in Oman have published open data in the past, the majority of these government entities do not include a sufficient description of the data they publish, and instead upload a collection of Excel files that do not include any details other than the file name.

This webpage shows an example of a government entity publishing a collection of files without any metadata or other useful information to provide context for the open data it publishes.

It is highly recommended that an entity creates an open data catalogue to ensure that the data is properly identified and easily accessible. Such a catalogue should reasonably be made published on the internet and should be the primary method for enabling users to locate and download the data.

In particular, this open data catalogue should include separate entities for each dataset covering the following elements:

Title

The catalogue should include a short title describing the dataset in question.

Description

The catalogue should include a brief explanation of the contents of the dataset, a description of why this data is significant, and the manner in which it was collected.

Period Covered

If applicable, the catalogue should provide details of the time period covered by the data. For example, if the data relates to COVID-19 deaths, the data should indicate that the data covers the period from March 2020 to January 2021 (as an illustration).

Update Frequency

If the data is expected to be updated, the data catalogue should indicate to the user how often this data would be updated. For example, daily, monthly, yearly, or any other frequency. If the data is supplied in real-time, the catalogue should also indicate this. Certain datasets, such as maps or other reference datasets, might not be updated on a regular basis or at all, and this information should also be indicated to the user.

File Format

In addition to the importance of publishing open data in a machine-readable format, it is equally important to indicate to the end-user what format exactly is available for download. Examples include CSV, XML, and JSON. 

Name and Contact Details of Person or Department

For big organisations, it is important for the end-user to have the contact details of the person or department responsible for the dataset in question. This is useful from a data validity point of view, but can also assist end-user that seek clarifications and those who would like to report errors found in the data.

Metadata

In addition to the general description details of the dataset, the catalogue should include a description of each field in the dataset explaining the content of that field and the format of the data provided in that field. For example, if the dataset has a name field, the catalogue must indicate if this will be provided in the Arabic or English language, and if the dataset has a date field, the catalogue must indicate the date format in which this will be provided (e.g. YYYY-MM-DD).  

Example

The points explained on page can be used to transform the example shown above to become a more useful listing as follows:

Dataset Description

TitleNumber of hospitals and beds in the Governorate of Dakhiliya
DescriptionThis dataset provides the details of the hospitals in the Governorate of Dakhilya with the details of the number of beds in each hospital.
Period CoveredThis dataset captures the state of hospitals in this region in December 2020.
Update FrequencyYearly at the end of every year.
File FormatXLSX
ContactDirectorate General of Health in the Governorate of Dakhiliya.
Name: XXXX Email: [email protected]

Metadata 

FieldDescription
WilayatThe name of the Wiyalat in English.
Hospital Name – ARThe name of the hospital in Arabic.
Hospital Name – ENThe name of the hospital in English.
BedsThe number of beds in the hospital.

Each published dataset requires an individual description that provides the general information on the dataset, as well as an individual metadata table that explains what each field in the dataset refers to.

Categories
Datasets

International Agreements

Oman has signed a significant number of international agreements with countries and international organisations on a variety of matters ranging from taxation and investment, to human rights and the environment. This dataset provides a list of the international agreements that Oman has ratified by royal decree from the year 1974 onwards. The dataset includes the title of the agreement, details of the ratification royal decree, the date of signature, the classification, the counter-party, and the subject.

Dataset Description

SourceThis dataset is based on the open data published on Duwaly.gov.om, and later independently updated from the data published on Qanoon.om.
Time period covered1974 to 2021.
Frequency of updateYearly

Metadata

FieldDescription
CodeSerial code to identify the treaty.
Title – ARThe title of the treaty in Arabic.
Title – ENThe title of the treaty in English.
Royal Decree NoThe royal decree number in the format of YYYY-NNNN where YYYY is the year in a four-digit format and NNNN is the sequence number in a four-digit format.
Royal Decree DateThe date on which the royal decree was issued in the format YYYY-MM-DD.
Signing DateThe date on which the treaty was signed in the format YYYY-MM-DD. This usually is only available for bilateral treaties.
ClassificationThe classification of a treaty as bilateral, closed multilateral, or open multilateral. Bilateral treaties are signed between two states. Closed multilateral treaties are treaties signed by more than two states and open only to a select group of states. Open multilateral treaties are treaties that are open for any state to join.
Counter-partyThe counter-party to a treaty. This applies only to bilateral treaties.
SubjectThe subject of a treaty. This applies only to bilateral treaties.

Data

Categories
Blog

New Omani Government Policy on the Use of Artificial Intelligence

Today, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology issued a new policy on government use of AI technology. Similar to other policies issued by the MTCIT, this document is not legally binding it is essentially a form of instructions and recommendations for government entities.

The policy appears to have been finalised last June and is addressed to government entities only. It sets out six very high level principles for the use of AI: inclusiveness, human-centrism, accountability, fairness, transparency, and safety.

The key concrete policy provisions include:

  • A requirement to undertake a risk assessment in regard to the use of AI (but no details as to when such a risk assessment should be done, if it is a one-off requirement or a periodic requirement).
  • A requirement to ensure that no AI bias takes place and disclose to those affected by the AI system of the existence of such a system and the impact it may have on them.
  • A requirement to obtain prior approval of those affected by the AI system.

The policy also briefly mentions a requirement to comply with open data policies.

You can read the Arabic version of the policy on this link.

Categories
Datasets

COVID-19

This dataset covers the key COVID-19 corona virus data, such as cases, recoveries, deaths, and hospitalisation, as published by the official Omani government COVID-19 Twitter account.

Dataset Description

SourceOmanvsCOVID19 Twitter account.
Time period covered15 March 2021 to 19 May 2022.
Frequency of updateNo updates. The government stopped publishing this data after 19 May 2022.

Metadata

FieldDescription
DateThe date on which the COVID-19 data was reported in the format YYYY-MM-DD.
New CasesThe number of newly confirmed individuals infected with COVID-19.
New Cases -OmaniThe number of newly confirmed individuals of Omani nationality infected with COVID-19.
New Cases – non-OmaniThe number of newly confirmed individuals of non-Omani nationality infected with COVID-19.
Total Reported CasesThe number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since reporting started.
New TestsThe total number of new COVID-19 tests that have been carried out.
Total TestsThe total number of COVID-19 tests since the reporting of tests started.
New DeathsThe total number of newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Total DeathsThe total number of COVID-19 deaths since reporting started.
New RecoveriesThe number of newly recovered individuals infected with COVID-19.
Total RecoveriesThe total number of total recoveries of individuals infected with COVID-19 since reporting started.
New AdmissionsThe number of COVID-19 patients newly admitted to a hospital within the last 24 hours.
Current AdmissionThe total number of COVID-19 patients currently in admission at a hospital.
Current ICU AdmissionThe number of COVID-19 patients admitted in an intensive care unit at a hospital.
SourceA link to the tweet publishing the data for the relevant date.

Simplified Dataset