• Jude Ephson

Be Careful How You Use the Internet in the UAE.

The UAE’s Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes is a government document containing 52 Articles that are meant to guide internet users within the country.


I decided to reduce the 10-page document by highlight the Articles that tourists and new residents within the UAE must take note of. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse.


Invading People’s Privacy

Did you know that taking pictures of people without their consent can get you into trouble in the UAE? This is what the law says:


A person shall be imprisoned for at least 6 months and fined between 150,000 to 500,000 dirhams ($40,000 to 136,000) if he/she invades a person’s privacy in the following ways:

a- Eavesdropping, interception, recording, transferring, transmitting or disclosure of conversations or communications, or audio or visual materials.


b- Photographing others or creating, transferring, disclosing, copying or saving electronic photos.


c- Publishing news, electronic photos or photographs, scenes, comments, statements or information even if true and correct.


Pornography / Prostitution / Human Trafficking

Any individual who manages a website, sends, publishes or republishes pornographic materials and gambling activities will be imprisoned and fined between 250,000 to 500,000 dirhams ($68,000 to $136,000).


Furthermore, whoever deliberately acquires pornographic materials involving juveniles through any website or any information technology means shall be imprisoned for at least 6 months, and fined between 150,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($40,900 to $273, 000).


Additionally, anyone who encourages prostitution or lewdness through any information technology means shall be imprisoned and fined 250,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($68,000 to $273, 000).


In addition to the aforementioned, if the victim (person encouraged) is a juvenile under the age of 18 years, the culprit will be imprisoned for at least 5 years and fined not more than 1,000,000 dirhams ($273, 000).


Whoever is bold enough to run a website or publish information on any computer network with the aim of encouraging trafficking in humans or human organs shall be imprisoned and fined between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($136,000 to $273, 000).


VPN’s, Hacking, and Online Fraud

Using a fraudulent computer network protocol address by using a third-party address by any other means for criminal activities or just to prevent its discovery will attract a fine between 150,000 to 500,000 ($40,000 to $136,000).


If anyone is found guilty of hacking a website with the aim of changing its design, deleting data, or occupying its address, the individual shall be imprisoned and fined not less than 100,000 dirhams ($27,200).


Any individual who illegally gains access to credit or electronic card numbers or bank account numbers or any other electronic payment method by any information technology means shall be imprisoned for not less than 6 months and fined between 150,000 to 500,000 ($40,000 to $136,000).


Any individual bold enough to forge or reproduce a credit or debit card by using any information technology means shall be imprisoned and fined between 5000,000 to 2,000,000 ($136,000 to $544,000).


Watch How You Talk About Islam

Whoever insults the Divinity (Allah, God) or the prophets and messengers or be against the religion of Islam online shall be imprisoned for not more than 7 years.


Narcotics and Ammunition

Promoting narcotics or psychotropic substances online shall attract a fine between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($136,000 to $273, 000), as well as temporary imprisonment.


Whoever runs a website or publishes information on social media about trading or promoting weapons, ammunitions or explosives shall be imprisoned for at least 1 year and fined between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($136,000 to $273, 000).


Be Careful When Setting Up Donation Pages

Whoever runs a website or publishes information on social media to promote the collection of donations without a license accredited by the competent authority shall be imprisoned and fined 250,000 to 500,000 dirhams ($68,000 to $136,000).


Online Comments About UAE Government and It’s Ideas

Most of you may have heard the proverb 'When in Rome do as the Romans do'. It is not your responsibility to tell the UAE authorities how they should rule, that is why they have put the following laws in place to help tourists and residents comply peacefully:


Whoever publishes information online calling for a change in the ruling system of the State or to disrupt any constitutional provisions shall face life imprisonment.


Whoever publishes news or information on a website with the intent to make sarcasm or damage the reputation of the State or any of its institutions, any leader in the country, or any state symbol or symbol of UAE heritage, shall be imprisoned and fined not more than 1,000,000 dirhams ($273, 000).


Whoever publishes any information online to plan, organise or promote demonstrations or protests without valid license will be imprisoned and fined between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($136,000 to $273, 000).


Whoever runs a website or publishes information on any social media platform with the aim of promoting or praising any ideologies which would prompt riot, hatred, racism, sectarianism or damage national unity or public morals, shall be imprisoned and fined between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dirhams ($136,000 to $273, 000).


Whoever runs a website or publishes any information on any social media platform for the interest of a terrorist group or any unauthorized group or organisation with the intent to facilitate communication with their leaders or members or attract new members or attract new members, or to promote or praise their ideas, finance their activities shall be imprisoned for at least 5 years and fined between 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 dirhams ($273,000 to $545,000).


These are a few cyber laws I decided to highlight, however, you can download the full document here.

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