New Updates On Cybercrime Law In The UAE – Taking Photos Without Consent – Technology

Emily Parkin


United Arab Emirates:

New Updates On Cybercrime Law In The UAE – Taking Photos Without Consent


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New updates on cybercrime law in the UAE – taking photos without
consent

A recent reminder was issued by the UAE Federal Public
Prosecution reminding citizens, residents and visitors in the
United Arab Emirates on the country’s strict privacy laws. The
United Arab Emirates has a very proactive and comprehensive
cybersecurity strategy and has developed a strong cybersecurity
infrastructure. Cybercrimes in UAE are regulated under Federal
degree law number 5 of 2012, and its amendments are commonly
referred to as the ‘UAE Cybercrime law’.

Pursuant to Article 21 of the UAE cybercrime laws, privacy
violation can occur by the following means of interception,
recording, eavesdropping, transferring, transmitting or disclosure
of conversations or communications, or audio or visual materials.
All of which are actionable under the said law. For instance,
whoever uses a computer network or any other technology to expose a
person and violate their privacy shall face a jail term of at least
six months and pay a fine of not less than Dh150,000 and not
exceeding Dh500,000, or either of the two penalties. Similarly, a
one-year jail term and a fine of Dh250,000 to Dh500,000 can be
imposed on whoever uses information systems and tech to alter or
process a record, photo or scene to attack, malign or humiliate
another person.

In today’s times, the advent of social media particularly
constitutes a very potent tool that allows sharing of data at an
insurmountable pace. This brings in itself advanced challenges, as
what is shared on social media is on a wide public platform. Social
Media posts should therefore be made with careful consideration of
the local and federal laws and regulations in the UAE.

The following point should be practiced in order to avoid
potential privacy violations:

  • Photographs: Unlike in many other jurisdictions, you can
    get into trouble for taking photographs of others in the UAE
    without their consent. Such instances are considered as a privacy
    violation and a complaint can be filed against you under the cyber
    laws in the UAE for breach of privacy.

  • Privacy violation: Sharing personal information of any person
    online without their consent will be a breach of the UAE privacy
    laws. 

The UAE ensures adherence to the privacy laws through measures
such as online monitoring of data and privacy violations. The
Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority
(TRA) is the federal telecommunications regulatory agency of the
UAE that is responsible for these measures. This agency prohibits
online content that includes malicious code and other hacking
measures. Illegal content is often removed or blocked, and further
measures are taken the offenders again. The rule of thumb to be
followed here is that taking photographs of anyone without their
consent or creating, transferring, disclosing, copying or saving
their photos in any form without their express consent is an
actionable offence in the UAE. The rules concerning privacy
violations are quite different and unique to this jurisdiction and
hence can often be overlooked by ex-pats in the region. However,
this practice should be avoided as the said laws are strictly
applied in the UAE and ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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