UAE’s cybercrime law: Illegal to click pictures without consent

According to the recent United Arab Emirates (UAE) cybercrime law, taking someone’s photograph in public without their consent is now a crime punishable by a six-month prison sentence or a fine ranging from Dh 150,000 to 500,000, or both.

In the increasingly digital world, the UAE’s updated cybercrime legislation will provide more security to citizens and residents. The new law, which will take effect on January 2, 2022, will make it more difficult for criminals to harm data systems in the banking, media, health, and research sectors.

The new federal decree law No 34 of 2021 makes significant changes to federal law 5 of 2012, which governs cybercrime and covers offences committed online. The legislation intends to improve community protection against online crimes perpetrated via the use of networks and information technology platforms, as well as secure government websites and databases, and prevent the spread of rumours and false or misleading information.

The new law protects internet users from electronic fraud while also protecting their privacy and rights. It empowers courts to seize equipment, software, material, and other tools used in criminal activity.

According to Article 5 of the legislation, anybody who willfully destroys, suspends, or shuts a government entity’s or important facility’s website can be sentenced to prison and fined between Dh 500,000 and Dh 3 million.

The new legislation is consistent with the country’s main legislative reforms announced over the next 50 years. The cybercrime legislation revisions allow the UAE’s General Attorney to file a lawsuit to block a website or platform that breaches the law or commits a cybercrime against the UAE, even if the platform is headquartered outside the UAE.