The technological advancements and telecommunication revolution combined with the internet has changed the way business was done before in the Middle East. Irrespective of the size of the business all of them have some sort of technological infrastructure in place. Not only this automation has improved the overall productivity it also has made ease of transactions via the Internet. However, along with these benefits, this change has also brought some serious concerns. The most prominent of these concerns is Cyber Security. The increasing level of cybercrime in the UAE brought by this rapid growth in the use of technology has troubled both lawmakers and people in general. It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that cybercrime is one of the biggest security threat faced by the Middle East currently.
Understanding this in 2012 The UAE Cybercrime Law no. 5 was issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It includes a wide range of penalties and violations. The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to implement such comprehensive cybercrime law. It criminalizes the misuse of computer networks, smart devices and electronic information systems (such as social media). It is punishable by both fine and imprisonment depending on the seriousness and nature of a crime.
The key offence includes:
- Invasion of privacy by a recording of audio or video conversation or any communication. Posting the content online without consent.
- Photographing or posting the photograph online of the third person without their consent.
- Misuse of social media including commercial activities without license, threatening, defaming or impersonating another person.
- Sending, re-publishing or using any kind of pornographic material including a juvenile (below 18years of age).
- Publishing content which is termed illegal by the government.
- Posting improper images or comments on social media.
- Insulting religions and their rituals.
- Intercepting communication of any sort without permission.
- Identity theft.
- Financial stealing including credit card frauds and money laundering.
- Crimes of espionage.
- Cross-border crimes and terrorist acts.
- Any activity threatening state security.
Fines for above-mentioned crimes vary between Dh 50,000 to Dh 3 million depending on the severity of the offence. The jail term for such crimes can go up to a life sentence from a minimum 6 months depending on the seriousness of crime committed. The most severe penalty that is a jail term of 5 years and a fine of Dh 3 million is reserved for those whoever accesses a website, electronic system, computer network, IT system without authorization. The former activities done with an intention to obtain confidential information of government or private firm relating to financial, commercial or economical facility, will bring maximum penalty.
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